Bottle Shock

Comedy about wine rivalry blends fun, heart.
  • Review Date: August 6, 2008
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 110 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

A Mexican man is the victim of a brief episode of racism. International competition resorts to some cultural stereotypes (i.e. Americans as "hicks," French people as snobs).


Several father-son boxing matches are used to dispel real anger, including one powerful roundhouse blow. A truck driver receives one punch.


Most of the sexuality is confined to one scene that includes passionate kissing as prelude to sex, a couple who begin undressing, post-sexual partial nudity, and a flash of breasts.


Infrequent cursing includes "goddamn," "bullsh--t," "f--k you," "a--hole," "screw," "bitch," and "s--t."


Wineries and brand names play significant roles (Chateau Montelena, Gallo, Buena Vista, etc.). Other products seen or referred to include American Airlines, TWA, Kentucky Colonel.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Wine drinking figures prominently throughout, usually within the accepted standards of responsible behavior. Opening sequence with marijuana use is used to place the film in the 1970s. Some beer drinking, some drunkenness in bar, smoking on two occasions.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this true story of a 1976 wine contest between French and U.S. wine-makers isn't likely to hold much interest for kids. The opening sequence sets up the youthful "counter-culture" lifestyle of the era, complete with various shots of drug use, alcohol, etc. A love scene between two main characters includes partial nudity and some passionate foreplay but is generally tame by current standards. Some relatively mild swearing is sprinkled throughout and, of course, lots of wine flows.

What's the story?

It's 1976, and French wine reigns supreme ... until peppery Englishman Steven Spurrier (Alan Rickman) decides to prop up falling sales in his Paris wine store by holding a "blind" taste test between wines of the established French and the upstart California wine industries. Meanwhile, in the Napa and Sonoma valleys, Jim Barrett (Bill Pullman) and his neighbors are struggling to gain financing and credibility for their product in the flowering international wine market. Stormy family and romantic intrigues -- along with a "crushing" blow to the grapes at the very last moment -- almost defeat the Californians, but they make their way to Paris for the historic challenge.

Is it any good?


BOTTLE SHOCK gets off to a slow start, attempting to add some fictional spice to the true story the movie is based on by introducing a beautiful female intern to the mix, expanding the flinty relationship between the father-son owners of Chateau Montelena (a diamond in the crown of the California wineries), and raising the stakes higher and higher. What's real seems obvious and works best.

By the time we get to the contest, it doesn't disappoint. Nor does the outcome -- but it doesn't surprise, either. Still, the wine country setting is beautiful, the actors have fun with their robust roles, and the movie's appreciation of the wine is contagious.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the father-son relationship at the core of the movie. What does Bo do to earn his father's respect? How do the filmmakers show the changes in this important relationship? What does this movie have in common with other films that tell the story of an underdog going up against a strong opponent? Who do you think its target audience is?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 8, 2008
DVD release date:February 3, 2009
Cast:Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman, Chris Pine
Director:Randall Miller
Studio:Consolidated Pictures Group
Run time:110 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:brief strong language, some sexual content and a scene of drug use

This review of Bottle Shock was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byJ-dog21 May 24, 2009
age 12+

very enjoyable

i liked this film a lot, nothing really that bad, so go see it and enjoy a good movie
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing


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