Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

  • Review Date: November 14, 2008
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 95 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Controversial look at evolution meant for family discussion.
  • Review Date: November 14, 2008
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 95 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Ben Stein is committed to asking questions, both of other people and himself. When he is faced with a tough subject, he admits he needs time to ponder it, and often goes to the geographical source of the query.


Graphic images of the Holocaust; images include emaciated cadavers piled up before they are disposed of.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Edward R. Murrow is shown smoking a cigarette when he gives a talk.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this treatment of the subject of evolution contains a number of hot-button topics. From the existence of God to the destruction of humans in the name of racial purity, this documentary pokes at a lot of sensitive topics. It's the type of documentary that some families will seek out for discussion with their mature teens and some will avoid on religious and moral grounds.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Ben Stein is part comedian, part intellectual, part documentary filmmaker, who is disturbed by a trend in scientific academia. He finds that some academics are being punished for exploring a topic that does not follow the prescribed views held by people in power. Somewhere between Creationism (the belief that God created the heaven and Earth, as written in the Bible) and Darwin's Theory of Evolution (that all life sourced from a single, living cell and evolved over many millennia) lies an idea called Intelligent Design, or I.D. I.D. seeks to explain the unexplainable holes in the Darwinist concept by allowing that a higher intelligence may have been involved in the creation of life as we know it. But what Ben Stein discovers is that those scientists who are exploring I.D. have been silenced or shunned by the Darwinist-dominated status quo.

Is it any good?


What might be disturbing to viewers is the adamant belief which some academics hold that God does not exist. Moreover, some opine that religion is a hobby, or an activity, which could be removed from people's lives to their benefit. Yet when questioned about from whence that single cell from which all life originated, the same intellectuals have no answer. Ben Stein takes the questioning a bold step further and connects Darwin's theories to the Nazi movement and consequent ethnic cleansing. He even points a finger at Planned Parenthood, implying that this organization was founded on the premise of eugenics, or getting rid of certain members of the human race. In this sense, he brings an emotional element into the inquiry that borders on dogma. Viewers will have a lot to think about after seeing this film, and it might leave them wondering about their own beliefs and how they came to rest in them.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what their core beliefs are regarding the nature of life. How do religious beliefs and scientific doctrines differ? How are they similar? Do you like Ben Stein's approach to the subject? Why or why not?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 18, 2008
DVD release date:October 21, 2008
Cast:Ben Stein, Lili Asvar, Peter Atkins
Director:Nathan Frankowski
Topics:Science and nature
Run time:95 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:thematic material, disturbing images, brief smoking

This review of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed 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, okay 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, 14 years old Written byhurstårdettill October 17, 2010

Absolute Garbage

This "critical" look at the teaching of creationism had about the intellectual content of a road-runner cartoon. Other reviews stated that it's "stimulating". Why? Because it's saying things you agree with. Opinions who had prior to watching the film? That's not "eye-opening", that's pandering. This movie is for hyper-religious, reality-denying, ignoramuses. It makes gross comparison's implying a link between communism/fascism to atheist/secularism (by the way, Hitler was catholic. Read "Mein Kamf"). This movie is religious babble. And any intelligent person would read the premise and laugh.
Teen, 15 years old Written byJoker15 July 2, 2009

A Great look at the comparisons between socalism and atheism

Expelled is a very well done documentary examining how universities and professors have fired teachers for just barely reccommending intelligiant design in their reports rather then evolution. This movie is not for most liberals, and is definitely for conservatives. However, both may be confused by it. In the movie, Ben Stein interviews the Expelled teachers, and later Atheist professors and compares the atheists and scientologists to the Nazis and the Communists during the Cold War. My only concern with this movie is it's dark comparisons with the Cold War. We briefly see some violent images from time to time. These include film clips in which a bully thratens another kid, and in various historical clips which include images of the 1968 riots, communists enforcing Socalisim during the Cold War, and images from the Holocost wich include patients being examined a brief scene of a pile of dead bodies in a concentration camp. As for sex/nudity, there is nothing except for the aforementioned shot of dead bodies which are all naked. As for smoking, we see Edward R. Murrow smoking in one or two brief scenes. If you are a conservative and support intelligent design, you'll love this film. If you're a liberal, not so much. I do not reccomened this for kids under 11. They will be either bored or scared by the plot and themes. This film is alright for kids at age 12, but they may be disturbed or confused by the dark themes. It is age appropriate for kids 13 and older. I give it 4 out of five. It is not perfect, but it has a lot of common sense.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 6 and 8 year old Written byArt Expressions March 31, 2009
This is one of the best if not most thought provoking movies in a long time. Extremely well executed and filmed. I have not only bought it but am currently loaning it or showing it to many others. I let my young children watch because although there may be issues touching on sensitive subjects such as the Holocaust, it is reality and history they should understand at whatever level they can and more importantly they need to understand the root motivating factors that allowed such thinking to exist and actually be deployed in plain view of the World. It brought many many topics up that the movie just began to touch on such as the sheer enormity of the engineering mechanics that become more and more complicated the further we delve into a single cell. We started discussing the parts of the cell and it's mystery as to how even an atom shouldn't technically exist due to negative and positive neurons existing in the same space... this should be impossible. They should cancel each other out... what holds them together to form an atom? Look up the 'atom smasher' on the internet to see what I mean. Researchers are desperately trying to discover the elusive puzzle piece that has been (funnily enough) the 'God Particle'.


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