Cloak & Dagger

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Cloak & Dagger Movie Poster Image
Fantasy-adventure is exciting but full of dark mayhem.
  • PG
  • 1984
  • 101 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

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 & Representations

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.


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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byspencerh January 21, 2019

Lots of Fun; but very violent, with some profanity. For older kids only.

This movie was tons of fun. I was rather surprised at how much I enjoyed myself while watching it. Henry Thomas and Dabney Coleman give great performances and g... Continue reading
Adult Written bycorynnmichele May 28, 2021

My childhood favorite

This was one of my favorite movies as a kid so I watched it with my kids a few years ago and they haven't stopped making fun of me for how inappropriate it... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old May 12, 2020

Weirdest Movie Rating EVER!

This movie is rated PG. It shouldn’t be. It should be rated R. I am a 10 year old kid and my mom picked this for our family movie. I watched a man get murdered,... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 14, 2018

EXTREMELY suspenseful/exciting movie is great for tweens!

The movie is extremely suspenseful. It actually has some positive messages in the movie, like family love. There is a lot of violence. One important character i... Continue reading

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?

CLOAK & DAGGER is flawed, with gaping plot holes, unquestionably violent action sequences, and highly ineffectual adults. But 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.


Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantastical tales

Themes & Topics

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