City Slickers Movie Poster Image

City Slickers



Lassos midlife-crisis laughs; teens and up.
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1991
  • Running Time: 114 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The message is positive: Love your family, pursue your dreams, become a man (in the best possible sense).


Some gun play. Phil threatens to shoot a cowboy; the cowboy threatens to shoot an animal. A character nearly dies in the river.


Many sexual comments about women's bodies; Phil cheats on his wife and almost gets his mistress pregnant.


Numerous cuss words, though not f--k. Usually tied in with sexual references, the worst being "bang the s--t out of her."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking leads to death and destruction, as well as fistfights. Curly is constantly smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the main characters get involved in life-threatening situations, such as being gored by a bull and almost dying in a rushing river. Heavy drinking leads to the death of two horses and the maiming of a minor character, as well as a fistfight and threats to kill a calf. Main characters make sexual jokes aimed at women, and one man cheats on his wife. That said, as midlife-crisis comedies go, this one is kinder and gentler than many that have followed it.

What's the story?

On his 39th birthday, Mitch (Billy Crystal) wakes up bored with his job, listless with his family, and obsessed with the pointlessness of his life. Luckily and comically, Mitch has two childhood best friends who drag him to all the clichéd male bonding rituals: sky diving, running with the bulls in Pamplona, etc. And as a special birthday treat, they surprise Mitch with a childhood fantasy come true. They're going to be cowboys for a week and drive cattle from New Mexico to Colorado. At the dude ranch, Mitch and friends Ed (Bruno Kirby) and Phil (Daniel Stern) meet crusty old cowboy Curly (Jack Palance); learn to ride horses, much to their nether regions' distress; and learn some cowboy wisdom. But when Curly's gone and the other professional cowboys vamoose, can Mitchy the Kidd and his gang bring the herd home safely? And what will happen when they return home?

Is it any good?


This is a true feel-good movie. Modern midlife-crisis comedies are often dark and lecherous; who could forget Lester's second adolescence and lascivious fantasy about his daughter's teenage friend in American Beauty? Though a good movie, it wasn't family-friendly. So it's heartening to be reminded of CITY SLICKERS, a movie about a midlife crisis that neither blames the family for Dad's unhappiness nor resorts to exploiting teenage girls so he can reclaim his mojo. City Slickers is the rare movie that rings true for adults but doesn't alienate kids. And veteran actor Jack Palance won an Oscar for his arresting performance as Curly.

Instead of fleeing from their fears by acquiring younger women (well, with the exception of Phil) or sports cars, the guys use the trip to share their deepest feelings -- but they're on horses in the wild, so it's okay. Robert Bly would be proud. When they return home to their mates, they aren't teenagers, but rather grown men who appreciate what they have.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why Mitch is dissatisfied in his life. Does that happen to any of the adults in your household? How does it affect the children? Does Mitch blame his family for his unhappiness? What roles do his friends play in helping Mitch become happy again? How does he resolve his problems? It might be a good time to talk to kids about how adults handle the stresses in their lives (and remind them that it's not their fault when parents are unhappy). That could lead to a larger discussion of how everyone in the family handles stress and unhappiness.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 1, 1991
DVD/Streaming release date:May 8, 2001
Cast:Billy Crystal, Bruno Kirby, Daniel Stern
Director:Ron Underwood
Run time:114 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:language and thematic elements.

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Parent of a 8, 11, and 13 year old Written bykboulia July 20, 2014

Funny but for mature audiences

This movie is as funny as I remember it. However, when I watched it recently with my 13 year old son I was a little taken aback by how mature the themes were. There is more dialogue devoted to infidelity, sex, etc than I remembered. I do not think this movie is appropriate for children.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Kid, 11 years old December 13, 2010


Good but lots of cussing.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byHeroneSilverton April 9, 2008

Funny, but innapropriate for young kids

Don't get me wrong, this movie is funny, but it is heavy on sexual content, and there is a frightening moment when an adorable calf is almost shot. Definitly not for younger kids. But there is a message on family and friendship that should not be overlooked. The main character learns that the thing that means most to him is his family over the course of the movie. There is also a part where the three main characters risk their lives to save each other and a calf from rapids. There is also a non-drinking message, for when one man gets drunk, there are dire consequeces. There is a fair amount of bad language, but overall, this is a good movie for teens and up.