Crash Movie Poster Image




Powerful look at racism, but too intense for kids.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2005
  • Running Time: 113 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

While characters steal and commit acts of violence, the film looks at reasons and contexts.


Several violent scenes, including a carjacking, a pedestrian hit by a car, a five-year-old child shot by a handgun (with her parents watching), and several car crashes.


Characters have sex, and oral sex is insinuated.


Very strong language.


Expensive cars.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking, smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, as the film interrogates urban fears, violence, and racism, the language, particularly the use of racial epithets, is rough. The film also features several violent scenes, including a carjacking, a pedestrian hit by a car, a five-year-old child shot by a handgun (with her parents watching), and several car crashes. Policemen, detectives, district attorneys, and an insurance adjuster prove untrustworthy; characters steal cars, do drugs, drink, smoke cigarettes, and have sex (including implied oral sex in a car and a cop putting his hands on a woman's private parts, in front of her upset husband, under the guise of "patting her down.")

What's the story?

CRASH weaves together a series of stories about post-9/11 fearfulness. The characters range and include L.A. detectives Graham (Don Cheadle) and his partner and lover, Ria (Jennifer Esposito), uniformed officers Ryan (Matt Dillon) and Thomas (Ryan Phillippe), petty thieves Anthony (Chris "Ludacris" Bridges) and Peter (Larenz Tate), and TV director Cameron (Terrence Howard) and his wife Christine (Thandie Newton). All of them make assumptions about others, based on appearance and the distress they've suffered in their own lives. After a violent carjacking, well-to-do Jean (Sandra Bullock) turns on her D.A. husband (Brendan Fraser), then accuses their young locksmith of looking like an untrustworthy gangbanger. Later, locksmith Daniel (Michael Peña) comforts his terrified little girl, who can't forget the gunshots she remembers from their old neighborhood. Iranian shopkeeper Farhad (Shaun Toub) is also afraid, due to a robbery. His daughter Dorri (Bahar Soomekh) tries to calm him by purchasing a gun he can keep in a drawer. In each case, security is a fantasy -- in the face of random violence (or maybe karmic-payback), one can only hope to survive.

Is it any good?


Opening with the aftermath of a car wreck under investigation, this Best Picture Oscar-winner is sprawling and ambitious, episodic and contrived. It is plainly about loss, but the loss of what isn't immediately obvious. Each interaction seems a kind of collision. For example, Ryan's ailing father makes him anxious, and so he takes it out on Cameron and Christine, whom he finds having sex in their car. He's cruel, but they can't fight back: he's a cop. When Thomas suggests Ryan has crossed a line, the older cop defends himself by blaming the work: "Wait till you've been on the job a few more years. You think you know who you are; you have no idea."


Some violent encounters are actual crashes, minor and major, lending the movie a sort of stop-and-start rhythm. This structure is exacerbated by the awkward multi-culti casting. CRASH takes a "one-from-every-food-group" approach to race representation (including a mostly unseen Asian pedestrian hit by a car and dragged beneath). The movie seems geared toward those viewers who were surprised by the Rodney King video, that is, people who don't regularly deal with cultural collisions. For others, its machinations will grind.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the film's representations of racism, anger, and fearfulness, embodied and acted on by nearly every character. Families might also think about the ways that current urban and mass-mediated experiences lead to alienation and cultural divisions. Families might also discuss the several family situations, in particular, the five-year-old girl's trust in her caring father, and adult children trying to look after aging parents. How do family relationships affect your trust of others? How do some characters use aggression (verbal and physical) to establish their sense of identity?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 6, 2005
DVD/Streaming release date:September 6, 2005
Cast:Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Thandie Newton
Director:Paul Haggis
Run time:113 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language, sexual content, some violence

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Adult Written byMovie Man August 7, 2009

Briliiant, Bold, Brutal, Best-Picture Winner

This is a very good movie to watch. It powerfully deals with racism and the consequences of hate and discrimination. The preformances are fantastic and the story is great. Prents: althoguh you should let your kid watch this movie that teaches a good lesson about the negative consequences of racism it is quite dark, violnet, an, at times, sexual. A racist cop explictitly but non-graphically sexually assaults a woman of different race. There are many, many sotuations involving racial differences, moslty ending in harsh language, violence, or a sexual act. But parents, like I said, this is a good movie for your kids to watch in order to learn not to discriminate against others unlike yourself. Plus, the movie leaves you with a sense of hope, tranquility, and, overall, gentle resolution. Brilliant; bold; brutal.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byDan in AZ April 9, 2008

Best look at racism in US

My 16 year old daughter cannot stop talking about this movie - and taking her friends to see it. The intersecting lives of the many races and cultures of Los Angeles portray the subtle and harmful ways that racism affects everyone. Characters are real - they have positive and negative qualities so no one is a "good guy" or a "bad guy" - all are trying to make sense of the world and deal with their prejudices in one way or another. Racism is not simple; it runs deeply in our society and this is the first film I've seen that doesn't shy away from showing us how complex and deeply human the issue is.
Teen, 16 years old Written bymoviemogul April 9, 2008


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