Father and child sit together smiling while looking at a smart phone.

Want more recommendations for your family?

Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration

Parents' Guide to

Falling Down

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Disturbing '90s crime thriller has violence and language.

Movie R 1993 113 minutes
Falling Down Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 13+

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
1 person found this helpful.
age 16+
One of the best representations of mental health problems. Most reviewers are missing the point of the movie. It's not suitable for little kids ( duh!) But it's fun and emotionally engaging. Highly recommend
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

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

This movie wants to be social commentary, but the commentary is inconsistent, leaving the audience with an odious, morally shaky defense of White male perceived victimization and rage. The hero is a violent psychopath we should sympathize with because, like him, we've had to order lunch at 11 a.m. even though what we really wanted was breakfast. Falling Down also positions Bill as a victim of the general decline of civility, that he's just standing up for decency as he threatens, stabs, and shoots at foreigners, brown people, and rich White golfers, the last of which weakly suggests Bill is an equal-opportunity hater.

Furthering the narrative that Bill is a sympathetic victim rather than a rabid predator, he's favorably compared to a violent, openly racist Nazi. Bill, the movie suggests, is not really so bad; the Nazi calls Jews "kikes," while Bill just refers to a non-White foreigner as "you people." The movie's central premise, that we should be rooting for Bill, crumbles when we learn, far too late, of his history of violence. In fact, he's not some regular guy with a justifiable beef, he's "sick." Note that the movie was filmed during the 1992 Los Angeles riots protesting against the videotaped police beating of African American Rodney King. While the "N" word is used here, the movie is notably short on African American characters.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

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.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate