Cool Runnings

  • Review Date: July 27, 2004
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1993
  • Running Time: 98 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Delightful, tween-friendly story of Jamaican bobsledders.
  • Review Date: July 27, 2004
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1993
  • Running Time: 98 minutes





What parents need to know

Educational value

On a very basic level, kids will be introduced to international sports competitions (i.e. the Olympics).

Positive messages

The movie's main message is that even the most outlandish dreams can come true -- the key is to know what you want and work hard for it. Other messages include being true to yourself, learning from your mistakes, and making up for bad behavior.

Positive role models

Hardworking underdogs achieve greatness despite long odds against them. A despairing coach who's punished himself for wrongdoing years earlier is able to find hope and redemption through hard work and believing in himself again. Some authority figures are portrayed as ignorant and unforgiving. They, too, learn lessons. There's some stereotyping among athletes from other countries.

Violence & scariness

A pushcart crashes into a shack. There are a number of bobsled tumbles and crashes -- some are live action, others are taken from actual newsreel footage. One punch in a bar leads to a very brief, cartoon-style brawl with bottles broken over heads/backs and additional punches thrown.

Sexy stuff

A short scene takes place at a kissing booth.


Infrequent use of words like "hell," "a--hole," "pee," "crap," "badass," "damn," "hooker," and "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation).


Products/logos featured include Coca-Cola, American Airlines, ADIDAS sportswear and shoes, Carrera goggles, Red Stripe beer, Easton gloves, Relax Inn, and Ranchman's restaurant.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Men are seen in a bar with mugs of beer in front of them.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although this underdog sports movie is based on the Jamaican bobsled team's appearance in the 1988 Olympic Games, the characters, most of the situations, and all of the conflict are heavily fictionalized. The resulting feel-good fairytale offers positive messages about sportsmanship, going after your dreams, and believing in yourself ... as well as some cartoonish potrayals of both the Jamaican people and their culture and some of their bobsleddding rivals (particularly the East Germans). A number of bobsled accidents are depicted, and there's one brief barroom brawl -- but no injuries or blood. Expect occasional mild swearing and lots of visible products/logos.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

COOL RUNNINGS is loosely based on the real-life 1988 Jamaican bobsled team. When an accident prevents Derice Bannock (Leon) from making Jamaica's Olympic track team, he searches for another way to compete. Derice convinces Irv Blitzer (John Candy), a former gold medalist, to coach his team. The team overcomes some serious setbacks to make it to the Olympic games.

Is it any good?


You've seen this underdog material done before, from the sublime Rocky to the embarrassingly cliched (virtually any Rocky sequel). Cool Runnings taps both qualities. At one end you've got the Jamaican team, a colorful, contrived bunch of squabblers who predictably learn to pull together and defy their detractors (mainly a rival team of stereotyped East German Nazi-Commie storm troopers). But then comes the real-world finale, when the heroes lose the race but achieve a much greater goal, symbolizing what the Olympics truly mean to athletes around the globe. Seldom in sports movies has defeat looked so noble.

Younger viewers may want to learn more about Olympic bobsledding, or Jamaica, if only to sort out the facts from the fiction. The novice 1988 Jamaican bobsledders were actually conceived by a businessman and an ex-diplomat, and they did wipe out in the midst of a spectacular performance. "Irv," however, and the other characters are screenwriter inventions, and they seem like it.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why the filmmakers made things up for the movie, rather than sticking with the true story. Why do you think that happens?

  • Is bobsledding as engaging a sport as football, baseball, or basketball? Why or why not?

  • What is the movie saying about sportsmanship and the spirit of the Olympic Games?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 10, 1993
DVD release date:July 20, 1999
Cast:Doug E. Doug, John Candy, Malik Yoba
Director:Jon Turteltaub
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Topics:Sports and martial arts
Run time:98 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:brief language

This review of Cool Runnings 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.

Find out more


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 15 years old Written byShinjo April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
Teen, 15 years old Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Loved it

This is a great movie!!! I loved it! they do swear in this movie though!
Parent of a 8, 8, and 10 year old Written byNondug February 20, 2011

My kids loved it.

Funny story of the Jamaican bobsledders. The characters have to work hard and overcome struggle. Interesting look at a different culture (OK, a cartoonish representation of another culture). Curse words are used very infrequently.
What other families should know
Great messages


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential Apps Guide