A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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 & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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."
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Some profanity, including "f--k," "s--t," "ass."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens are shown drinking beer; a woman drinks a cocktail while watching TV.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although it's far less graphic than other horror movies, this film adaptation of the classic Stephen King novel of the same name 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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is 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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.