City Slickers

Movie review by
Heather Boerner, Common Sense Media
City Slickers Movie Poster Image
'90s midlife-crisis comedy has cursing, violence.
  • PG-13
  • 1991
  • 114 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 8 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Love your family, pursue your dreams. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The three lead characters are lifelong friends who have stood by each other through thick and thin. 


Some gunplay. Phil threatens to shoot a cowboy who gets drunk and then tries to bully the lead characters. A cowboy must shoot and kill the mother of the newborn calf one of the lead characters has bonded with after helping to remove it from the womb. Talk of how Curly killed a man in a knife fight, and "slit him from neck to nuts." Knife thrown at a drunk cowboy; the knife lands inches from his groin. Lead character shown in peril, nearly drowning in rapids. One of the lead characters is gored by a bull in the rear end during the "Running of the Bulls" in Pamplona, Spain. 


At a party in his apartment, one of the lead characters, the manager of a supermarket, is confronted by a younger woman, a cashier at the store with whom he has been having an affair, who believes that she is pregnant because of him. Men ogle and make lewd remarks about the only woman on a cattle drive, talking of how they would like to "screw her brains out," "bang the s--t out of her," and how "[her] saddle is having all the fun." 


Occasional profanity. "Bulls--t," "s--t," bitch," "goddamn," "f--got," "t-ts," "bitch," "goddamn," "ass," "crap," "balls." Talk and references to sex; men ogle the only woman on a cattle drive and talk of how "[her] saddle is having all the fun," and how they would like to "screw her brains out" and "bang the s--t out of her." Masturbation hand gesture. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A drunk man loses control of the horse and buggy he's driving, leading to accidents and injuries. Whiskey, wine, and cocktail drinking. Cigarette smoking. Two cowboys, very drunk, sexually harass a woman; later, these cowboys pick a fight with one of the lead characters. Chewing tobacco used by one of the lead characters. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that City Slickers is a 1991 comedy in which three New Yorkers having midlife crises go west to take part in a cattle run that goes awry. 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. There's talk of how Curly once killed a man in a knife fight, and "slit him from neck to nuts." One of the lead characters is caught having an affair with a woman half his age who believes she is pregnant because of their affair. The three lead characters make lewd comments about the only woman taking part in the cattle run. There's cigarette smoking, and one of the characters chews tobacco. Two cowboys, very drunk, sexually harass a woman. Cursing includes "s--t," bitch," "goddamn," "f--got," "t-ts," "ass," "crap," and "balls." 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
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.... Continue reading
Adult Written bySpencer H. January 20, 2021

Funny with lots of heart and a good message but not appropriate for or relatable to small kids

I think Common Sense is spot on. This is a very funny movie with lots of heart and has some very profound life messages but kids will not be able to relate to t... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byCooltiger37 August 3, 2019

Overrated Western comedy has some edge

When I checked out this movie from the library at my mom's suggestion, I was expecting a hilariously edgy (and by that, I don't mean just making sex j... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byNolan Lundgaard January 27, 2018

11+? No Way!

Parents should know this movie is innuendo-heavy, with comments inappropriate for young kids/tweens. I saw this movie a few months ago and it was almost too muc... Continue reading

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: skydiving, 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 OK. 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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about movies centered on midlife crises. How does this compare to other "coming of middle-age" movies? 

  • A "high-concept" movie is one that can be easily explained to anyone in a few words. City Slickers, for instance, would be "city guys try to be cowboys." What are some other examples of high-concept movies?

  • How did the movie convey its overall theme of finding the "one thing"? 

Movie details

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