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Parents' Guide to


By Teresa Talerico, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 7+

Kids' sci-fi adventure never fully blasts off.

Movie PG 1985 109 minutes
Explorers Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 12+

Coming of age film hits all the right notes

This movie is a classic. I absolutely loved it when I was about the same age of the boys in this movie. I so identified with all of the characters. I was a nerdy kid with the crush on the pretty girl, too nervous to talk to her. I loved science fiction, and the idea of exploring other worlds. The main character was me! The movie pushed all of the right buttons for me, and I've watched it probably ten times over the last few decades. Watched it with my kids, and will watch it with my daughter when she's a bit older. Reading some of the other reviews, my goodness people are sheltered and raising sheltered kids. The bullying scene is realistic but nothing even remotely traumatizing unless your child has never been outside, or exposed to anything at all ever. There is something to the reviews that say that the story falls apart. I wouldn't go that far but it definitely gets far fetched and strains credulity. I would highly recommend this movie. Besides that it has River Phoenix who was a great actor, and Ethan Hawke who is great in his own way.
age 11+

Great for the first 75%, then falls apart.

I remembered really enjoying this movie when I was a kid but I don’t remember how old I was at the time. I really enjoyed the mysteriousness of it all as these young kids, who act like young adults even though I think they’re in fifth grade or something, try to figure out how to use the “alien” information they’ve been given. Watching this with my eight-year-old son, we both enjoyed it. Our biggest issue was that once the boys get to the alien planet the movie really drags and if they just cut about 30 minutes off the end of that movie it would’ve been much better. Also, I thought the theme of the movie, how the aliens were just kids that were a little afraid of humans because they’ve seen television that shows humans always at war, to be a pretty good message. We then had a “movie night“ where we watched the movie with some of my child’s friends and their parents and it was only then that I realized there are a few very questionable scenes in the movie. There is more than one bullying scene which I found to be fairly traumatizing. The main character is also apparently discovering girls for the first time but shows this in a bizarre manner where he spies on his neighbor through her window. Pretty creepy and not the kind of message I want to send my son. All in all me and my eight-year-old son both enjoyed the movie and if anything it gave us a few things to talk about afterwards. The bullying scenes were way over done But my son didn’t seem too traumatized by it. I’m not sure he even noticed the spying on a girl bit but we talked about it afterwards anyway and I told him that that was just a movie and in no way is that appropriate in real life.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (4 ):

The young stars in this movie give earnest, enthusiastic, and believable performances. EXPLORERS is most notable as the film debut of Ethan Hawke and the late River Phoenix, who were just kids when they starred in this movie. The film certainly has its moments -- like when the young adventurers achieve liftoff in their homemade spaceship, or when a clever twist is revealed after they encounter a couple of extraterrestrials. But too often the movie feels sluggish and somewhat superficial

The premise leads to a few amusing exchanges between the aliens and the wide-eyed boys. But these scenes feel too long and rather unstructured -- which is a shame, since they should be the highlight of the film. The movie also never quite resolves a subplot involving a sheriff's department helicopter pilot who's investigating the kids and their ship. Still, the young actors turn in fine performances.

Movie Details

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