Cloak & Dagger

  • Review Date: November 15, 2010
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 1984
  • Running Time: 101 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Fantasy-adventure is exciting but full of dark mayhem.
  • Review Date: November 15, 2010
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 1984
  • Running Time: 101 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

No matter how earnest or desperate Davey appears, it's impossible for him to get
most adults to believe him when he expresses fear and asks for
help. This plot element illustrates how important it is for adults (especially parents) to spend time with and listen to their chidlren.

Positive role models

Davey is a super hero. He's smart, brave, resourceful, honest, loyal, and effective. On the other hand, he takes big risks and places himself in great jeopardy. Davey's imaginary friend is also courageous and daring, but he pushes Davey into situations that are unsafe and scary. The parents are loving but negligent; their children are left unsupervised throughout. Authority figures make the kids feel powerless and force them to take matters into their own hands.


Non-stop action sequences involving an 11-year-old boy. Lots of gunplay, including the young hero shooting and killing a villain. Davey is frequently in jeopardy. He is shot at, captured, and thrown into the trunk of a car that already holds the dead body of Davey's friend. He's stalked, chased, and threatened with a bomb and a large knife. Davey's pal, a little girl, is held hostage and threatened as well. A scientist is shot in the neck with a poisoned dart.

Not applicable

A few strong words: "crap," "Jesus" (as an exclamation).


Heavy tie-in with Atari video games -- the movie is based on an Atari game by the same name (which no longer exists). Other products seen or mentioned: Twinkies, Caravello watches, Southwest, Minute Maid.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A few peripheral characters are seen smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film is almost non-stop action, with lots of gunplay, many on-camera killings, and car chases, with two heroic kids frequently placed in dangerous predicaments (careening in cars; stalked, captured, and held hostage; shot at and threatened with bombs). In one scene, a boy is tricked into killing a villain. It's all make-believe, comic book violence, but it might easily be confusing or disturbing to very young viewers.

Parents say

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Kids say

What's the story?

After the death of his mother, Davey Osborne (Henry Thomas) withdraws into a world of video games and make-believe. His accomplices are a little girl almost his age, a computer nerd, and, most importantly, his imaginary friend, Jack Flack, a daring adventurer who looks exactly like Davey's loving but distant father (Dabney Coleman in a dual role). Davey's fantasies become all too real when he witnesses a startling murder and the dying victim hands him a video game that holds critical government secrets. When the bad guys identify Davey, the chase is on.

Is it any good?


Though CLOAK & DAGGER is flawed, with gaping plot holes, unquestionably violent action sequences, and highly ineffectual adults, kids (especially preteens who have a firm grasp on real versus make-believe violence) will find it appealing. Superheroes have been delighting audiences for generations. They embody all that's good, and they defeat all that's evil.

When the superhero is a normal 11-year-old boy, the audience can identify with him, and he's an even more appealing hero. Davey takes on a gang of evil spies, saves the country, avenges the death of his friend, and teaches his father a thing or two about parenting. For most kids, there's nothing better than that.


Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Davey's immersion in video games and role playing. What are the pros and cons of this activity? How much is too much?

  • Why did the filmmakers use the same actor to play Davey's father and Jack Flack? What did that tell you about Davey's feelings about his dad?

  • In this movie, the two kids are in great danger, and Davey has to deal with the villains himself. Are you able to distinguish the make-believe violence from movies that portray violence as real? As an audience member, what are some of the ways you know the difference?

  • There were several shots in the movie of a video game that was popular in 1984. How have video games changed in the years since?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 10, 1984
DVD release date:November 23, 2004
Cast:Dabney Coleman, Henry Thomas, Michael Murphy
Director:Richard Franklin
Studio:Universal Studios
Run time:101 minutes
MPAA rating:PG

This review of Cloak & Dagger 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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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; 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, 13 years old Written byMike2223 July 30, 2013

Good! and Kid From E.T.

Now Remember that Kid Name Elliot from E.T. Well Henry Thomas makes another Movie Appearance in this Movie Cloak & Dagger another Video Game Film like Wargames and Tron Even the Wizard. So just Give a Try So it's Great. for All Ages.
What other families should know
Great messages
Kid, 11 years old December 22, 2012

good, but violent

this movie is really good and adventurous, but four people die, two good people. the movie has a good message: a boy wants to be a spy, but after he experiences it, he decides he doesn't. he has a make believe friend who is always making him made action hero-like, non-realistic choices. very good spy movie
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Kid, 12 years old April 26, 2014

Fun to watch!

Cloak and Dagger is an entertaining movie with awsome action packed scenes! Acting was also good, especially Davey's role. Some mild violence but still fun movie!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence


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