A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Standing up to corruption, bullies, and liars. Placing yourself in harm's way to help others.
Positive Role Models
Freddy is downtrodden and weak-willed but then tries to do the right thing in the face of overwhelming odds. Many of the other characters are corrupt police officers who do things such as lie, manipulate, plant evidence at crime scenes, and display racist and sexist behavior.
Foreign cultures described as "primitive." The cast is predominantly White and male. Some gender and ethnic diversity in supporting roles. Partially deaf character in lead role. Some characters act racist and sexist, although the film frames this behavior as wrong.
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Violence & Scariness
Gunfights. Handguns, rifles, and shotguns shown and fired. Very bloody injury and death. Characters traumatized by deaths. Bar fights involving punches and scuffling. Guns drawn but not fired. Dart placed inside character's nose. Reference to hitting someone with a bottle. Character badly burned in house fire. Characters attempt to drown someone.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Innuendo. Very brief, topless nudity. Reference to sex and infidelity. Kissing.
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Language used includes "s--t," "f---ing," "f--k," "c--ksucker," "a--hole," "motherf---ing," and "bulls--t." Female characters referred to as "cupcake" and a "whore." Police officer referred to as "pig." "Goddamn" and "Christ" used as exclamations.
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Products & Purchases
Characters gamble on sports. Corrupt cops are motivated by money and greed. This causes them to undertake criminal acts.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking in bars and parties. Intoxication to the point of vomiting. Characters drive while over the limit. Characters smoke cigarettes. They also drink beer and spirits at home. Drugs referenced. Traces of cocaine on a mirror.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Cop Land is a crime drama with strong violence and language, drinking and drug references. The plot centers around small-town Sheriff Freddy Heflin (Sylvester Stallone) who starts to investigate a group of cops who live in his community. Freddy, who is partially deaf, is flawed but takes on powerful and corrupt law enforcers -- led by the devious Ray Donlan (Harvey Keitel) -- despite fears they might murder him. Many of the characters take the law into their own hands. There are fights, gunfights, and characters are assaulted with improvised weapons, such as darts and planks of wood, often causing very bloody injuries and death. There's a very brief glimpse of topless females, as well as some brief kissing. The language is harsh and constant, including many uses of "s--t" and variants of "f--k." Sexist language is also used as well as racist behavior. Part of the police corruption involves references to drugs and in one scene, traces of cocaine are seen on a mirror. There is excessive drinking and characters are shown smoking too. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Released in 1997, casting Stallone as an overweight downtrodden sheriff and surrounding him with a trio of gangster movie veterans cast as police officers, proved to be a tantalizing setup. But ultimately Cop Land was a commercial and critical misstep. While the movie has its flaws -- the plot can't seem to decide whether it wants to be a detective mystery or an organized crime drama -- what has aged well is Stallone's foray into making himself vulnerable as the meek and cowardly Freddy.
In later years, with his advancing age, the actor has turned to slightly more diverse roles, again with mixed results. But Cop Land is his most memorable attempt to be more than an action hero, as he tests his acting chops by being tormented by Harvey Keitel's scheming Ray, manipulated by Robert De Niro's calculating internal affairs officer, Moe, and struggling to get a handle on Ray Liotta's traumatized outlier, Figgsy. If you can forgive the film for its lack of diversity, even by '90s standards, it's worth revisiting it as a bold attempt to re-imagine its star and offer an uncompromising take on the police movie genre.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.