Fahrenheit 9/11

  • Review Date: October 4, 2004
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 120 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Controversial documentary best for older teens.
  • Review Date: October 4, 2004
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 120 minutes





What parents need to know


War violence, including very explicit footage of wounded soldiers and civilians, including a mutilated baby.

Not applicable

Some very strong language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a movie that we recommend you watch with your teens. Some viewers will be offended by Moore's anti-Bush message. Others will love it. Moore has a very definite point of view and has created an emotionally powerful movie. Either way, discussing this with your kids is very important if you let them go. War violence is shown, there's strong language, and you see extremely upsetting images such as a mutilated baby and a beheading in the distance, so we do not recommend it for young teens. This film is designed to provoke strong feelings, so whether or not you agree with Moore's point of view, know that you might want to discuss with your family how he selects material and builds his argument. This film is a strong jumping off point for families to discuss Iraq, the presidential election, and to listen to your kids as they develop their political beliefs.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Filmmaker Michael Moore specializes in documentaries that are more like op-eds than like news stories. He uses the technique of film-making to take a stand and he likes to stir things up. This time, he takes on the Bush administration and the war in Iraq. FAHRENHEIT 9/11 is a furious and unabashedly partisan challenge both to the George W. Bush administration and to all who accept what they are told about anything without questioning. This film takes on the controversial 2000 election, Bush's extended vacations, his IQ and effectiveness, especially in his response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, his ties to the Saudis. Moore also contends that rich old white people are sending poor young minority soldiers to fight and die in Iraq for a war that is killing civilians and is more for the benefit of American corporate interests than national security or Iraqi freedom. Moore makes his points with an avalanche of facts, wisecracks, cheap shots, less cheap but still mighty inexpensive shots, and often-snarky, sometimes-outraged commentary. He presents a fact, then amplifies it with sitcomish music and juxtaposes footage that makes the President and the members of his administration appear foolish or ineffective. Other clips are unfair enough to make the movie less powerful.

Is it any good?


Some of the movie is wickedly enjoyable, but some of it is clutter, and some undercuts the power of the points Moore is trying to make. Presidents get asked questions about all subjects no matter what they're doing, so when President Bush talks about terrorism when he's on the golf course, the implication that he's a modern-day Nero is overblown. Then there are moments that may be manipulative but are nevertheless unassailably genuine. A visit with the mother of a soldier who was killed in Iraq is moving not just for her loss but for her devotion and her ideals. Glimpses of terribly wounded soldiers on both sides and Iraqi civilians are shocking, as they should be. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld explaining the "humanity" of our surgical strikes and Bush hoping that our captured soldiers will be treated as humanely as we treat the Iraqi prisoners are chilling, as they should be. Then there are Moore's trademarks -- making fun of dumb bureaucrats and hypocrites. We meet Congressmen who duck when asked if their children will enlist to fight in the war they voted for and a sweet little group of Fresno peaceniks who were infiltrated by a federal agent. Much of the material about the administration and the war is already well-known to people who follow the news carefully. But assembled as a dossier of complex inter-relationships, conflicts of interest, ignorance, thuggishness, it's a devastating attack.

Some viewers will be offended. Others will take it as an opportunity to consider the way that other media sources tell the story. It is a powerful film that should be seen and responded to. We will not know for a generation or more whether it was right for the US to invade Iraq. That is the way of history. But arguments like those posed in this movie will not just help us think carefully about the topics it covers, but also about how we gather and respond to the information we need to make decisions about how to proceed.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Iraq, the presedential election, and how Moore uses cinematic techniques like music and the juxtaposition of film footage to underscore his points.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 24, 2004
DVD release date:October 5, 2004
Cast:Ben Affleck, Michael Moore, Stevie Wonder
Director:Michael Moore
Run time:120 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:violent and disturbing images and for language

This review of Fahrenheit 9/11 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

Adult Written bybart April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Wacky Liberalism Exposed

Yes, go see it and see what liberals think of our nation. WE are the cause of Everything bad in the world. OUR actions cause people to hate us. The only reason we went to war was a pipeline to get rich in Afghanistan. Punch line: Bush does not get rich on a pipeline but Moore does lying about him. Give me a break.
Adult Written byahab April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Must-see for anyone considering military enlistment

This film is a must-see for anyone considering military enlistement, because it clearly points out that military personnel have become the paid thugs that make the world safe for the big corporations, especially oil, and not the protectors of democratic freedoms. Michael Moore has done us a service by showing the real truth behind the lies that the administration and the media have been pushing for 2 and a half years. If the media were doing its job, this movie would have been seen by relatively few people. Since it has not, people are flocking to it to try to figure out what is really going on. I think Mr. Moore has done a pretty good job of outlining it all.
Adult Written byChristc878 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

No Credibility

Now that the 911 Report is out, I don't think Moore's suppositions can proven to be true. This movie is one-sided propaganda made to show everyone, except a few politicians, to look like idiots. How sad that people will make voting and making decisions based on this movie. I guess our country will get what we deserve.


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


What are the different ways that you access Common Sense Media ratings and information? (Check all that apply)

Essential Apps Guide