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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Movie implies that accumulation of a lot of everyday annoyances and discourtesies can turn an ordinary guy into a psychopath.
Positive Role Models
Bill doesn't see himself as a bad guy even though he has attacked a store owner with a bat, destroyed his store. He allows someone to die of heart attack, believing he deserves it. He believes a construction worker deserves his anger, even though the worker didn't make decision to tear up the road. He pulls a gun on fast-food workers who enforce policy of no breakfast after a certain time of day. He doesn't believe people have rights to their private property. He's constantly shocked that people think he wants to rob or harm them, then he robs and harms them.
Violence & Scariness
A man leaves his car in a traffic jam, blocking traffic. He assaults a Korean store owner, busts up his store. He fights back against two Latinx gang members who try to steal his briefcase, hitting them with a bat, stabbing one. Gang members retaliate with a drive-by shooting, which misses their target but hits others. Gang members crash their car and are badly injured. Bill uses gang member's gun to shoot a member, then takes off with gang's large stash of weapons. Bill calls his ex-wife, threatens to come see her and his daughter, defying restraining order. A golfer deliberately hits a drive straight at a man in front of him. The man pulls out a gun in response. Golfer falls, holding his chest, begging for his heart medication. The other man mocks him while he writhes in pain. A man shoots a bazooka into a construction site, blows up a trailer several hundred yards away. A husband punches someone who has insulted his wife. A couple lost a young child. A man is shot, falls backward into water.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A stripper shows up at a retirement party, but the retiree leaves before she disrobes.
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"F--k," "s--t," "crap," "ass," "p---y," "f--got," "queer," "kike," the "N" word, "muff divers," and "pr--k."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Falling Down is a 1993 drama about a man who has come to the end of his rope and has a psychotic break, calmly injuring and killing people who annoy him, and posing a threat to his ex-wife and young child. He uses a baseball bat, a knife, a bazooka, machine guns, and a pistol to disrupt and injure, all the while feeling justified for lashing out because he thinks he's lived by the rules all his life and deserves better. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "crap," "ass," "p---y," "f--got," "queer," "kike," the "N" word, "muff divers," and "pr--k." A violent racist and anti-Semite spews slurs. A stripper appears at a party but doesn't get to strip. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
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.
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.