Carrie

  • Review Date: January 16, 2008
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 1976
  • Running Time: 98 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Stephen King's disturbing prom horror classic.
  • Review Date: January 16, 2008
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 1976
  • Running Time: 98 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Some teens are portrayed as cruel and calculating bullies. A religious zealot uses her fanatic beliefs to abuse and control her daughter. Some characters, including a gym teacher and a fellow student, try to help a timid young girl who is being bullied.

Violence

A woman hits her daughter and locks her in a closet. They eventually both try to kill each other, the daughter out of self defense. Bullies hit and push a girl. A teen boy slaps his girlfriend around and a teacher slaps students. A teen girl uses her telekinetic powers to destroy a high school gym, killing everyone in sight. Death scenes include electrocution, a fiery car wreck, and being "crucified" and impaled by knives and other sharp kitchen utensils.

Sex

Teens make out in a car; at one point the girl is shown bending over the boy's lap, and it's understood they're engaging in oral sex. Young women are shown nude and in various stages of undress in a prolonged locker-room scene, which is filmed in slow motion. In the scene, a girl gets her period for the first time; blood is shown running down her leg, and bullies taunt her by throwing tampons and sanitary napkins at her. A woman who is a religious zealot describes sex as dirty and refers to breasts as "dirty pillows."

Language

Some profanity, including "f--k," "s--t," "ass."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Teens are shown drinking beer; a woman drinks a cocktail while watching TV.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although it's far less graphic than other horror movies, this movie does include some fairly intense, emotional scenes of violence, death, and destruction. Carrie's mother is abusive to her and even threatens her life. In the oft-mentioned bloody prom scene Carrie uses her telekinetic powers to massacre everyone out of vengeance for a vicious prank and bullying behavior. A long locker room scene shows girls undressed and a Carrie getting her period, then teased.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Although it's billed as a horror movie, CARRIE is just as much a poignant story of a bullied, lonely teen. With her stringy hair, mousy appearance and beaten-down posture, Sissy Spacek gives a heartbreaking performance as Carrie, who is tormented by her high school peers and abused and extremely sheltered by her religious-zealot mother. Meanwhile, Carrie struggles to understand the power she has to make objects move with her mind (telekinesis). She experiences a brief period of happiness after a popular boy asks her to the prom and a concerned gym teacher (Betty Buckley) takes Carrie under her wing. But that happiness is short-lived thanks to a cruel prank, and Carrie unleashes her telekinetic powers in an explosive act of revenge.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Probably the best film adaptation of a Stephen King novel, Carrie helped launch the careers of several young performers, including Spacek (who received an Oscar nomination), Amy Irving, John Travolta, and Nancy Allen. Almost painful to watch, the opening shots of a volleyball game and the girls' locker room depict the vicious bullying Carrie endures. The climactic prom-night scene begins with a breathless, Cinderella-like feel; the interaction between Carrie and her date, Tommy (William Katt) is sweet and hopeful, and Spacek looks radiant. This scene, however, becomes terrifying after some cruel bullies send Carrie over the edge. Director Brian De Palma's use of a split screen, combined with the music and Spacek's chilling transformation, creates an unforgettable scene of carnage.

Veteran actress Piper Laurie is disturbing in her Academy Award-nominated role as Carrie's holy-rolling, psychotic mother. Buckley's character, Miss Collins, emerges as a protective, encouraging influence; her scenes with Carrie are tender, bittersweet, and sadly futile. But it's Spacek's sensitive portrayal of a troubled girl that elevates this movie beyond mere horror.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the movie handles the issue of bullies and their victims. Does Carrie's school appropriately deal with the students who pick on her? How does this '70s horror movie compare to some of the real bloodbaths you see today? Is it more or less scary and effective?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 3, 1976
DVD release date:August 28, 2001
Cast:John Travolta, Piper Laurie, Sissy Spacek
Director:Brian De Palma
Studio:MGM/UA
Genre:Horror
Run time:98 minutes
MPAA rating:R

This review of Carrie was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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, okay 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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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written bySACYUC September 11, 2010
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

I LOVED IT!

A classic. Just loved it!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byAttack Attack July 21, 2009
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Loved it!

I really enjoyed this movie, cause I really felt for Carrie White. She was having such a good time at prom, and I felt for her when she was pulled a prank on. Her mom was crazy, using her beliefs to control her daughter. The movie flowed really well, showing the abuse that Carrie suffered by her peers and adults. It had some really sexual scenes, with the fully naked women in the locker room and the oral in the car. Violence wasn't too bad other than the teacher getting sliced in half and her mom "impaled" with the knifes. So, I really just enjoyed the movie as a story. I enjoyed it better than the half-baked horror movies of today. I really recommend this if you want to watch a classic movie.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Teen, 16 years old Written byWitchyRainGirl September 12, 2009
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

Not For Little Kids

I saw this movie when I was 14 and I loved it. It's definetly not appropriate for anyone under 13, and 13-15 might get a little freaked by it. All in all, it was a great movie.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing

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