Forever Young



Sci-fi weepy romance about modern Rip Van Winkle.
  • Review Date: September 4, 2008
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 1992
  • Running Time: 102 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Though boys Nat and Felix seem to disobey every order they hear (usually things turn out right in the end), the moral core of the movie seems to be Dan McCormick, who is brave, noble, and valiant and loyal to the love of his life, even after a 60-year gap. He may even be too good to be true, displaying no Jim Crow-era bigotry or intolerance in the modern world in which he's thrust.


A threat of domestic violence. A fistfight that looks like an old-style boxing-match. A character is hit by a car (impact not shown), and another one falls off a roof.


A bare-butt shot of Mel Gibson's character as an experimental subject. Brief glimpse of Jamie Lee Curtis in a bra.


"Crap" and several "Oh my God"s from kids.


A mild plug for the music of Bessie Smith.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Smoking, beer drinking, talk of alcoholism.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there is a mild nude scene of Mel Gibson after he emerges from his cryogenic freezer. Jamie Lee Curtis is shown getting dressed (in a non-sexual context) clad in a bra. A 10-year-old boy protagonist repeatedly disobeys orders, ultimately piloting a (stolen) vintage aircraft at the end and his mother does some reckless driving.

What's the story?

In 1939, Dan McCormick (Mel Gibson), a dashing U.S. government test pilot, fears only one thing: how to propose marriage to his patient childhood sweetheart. When she's hit by a car and falls into a coma, Dan, an orphan, declares he has nothing else to live for, so he volunteers for a groundbreaking experiment in suspended animation carried out by his scientist buddy. Cut to the 1990s. Two mischievous boys living near the Army base find the warehoused, forgotten metal capsule in which McCormick is frozen. They accidentally release him, then run in terror. The disoriented Dan, finding the ID left behind by 10-year-old Nat (Elijah Wood), shows up at the boy's house. Dan ends up charming Nat's single mom, a nurse (Jamie Lee Curtis), with his old-school gentlemanly manners and bravery. But locating somebody, anybody, from Dan's remote past becomes crucial when the medical side effects of his long hibernation set in.

Is it any good?


Most of this handsomely filmed Rip Van Winkle takeoff goes predictably but entertainingly from point A to point B. Ultimately it turns out to be more a tearjerker romance than gee-whiz sci-fi, but holds the interest anyhow and works nicely for young and old viewers alike. Pacing is snappy (with a few gratuitous chase scenes to raise the action quotient), the actors are fun, and the attitude pleasantly old-fashioned -- you could pretty much imagine FOREVER YOUNG playing theater screens along with all the other Hollywood corn in 1939, with little censorship fuss. It's nice they kept the ambiance non-vulgar and non-cynical as Dan confronts a "strange" future of computers, TV, divorced singletons, latchkey kids, and strip malls.

Gibson's matinee idol-like hero never shows us (and the script doesn't put him in any position to) the negatives of his era, such as racism or homophobia, and there is a subtle inference -- probably the ONLY thing understated -- that time-displaced Dan is an example of that Greatest Generation; the stereotypically gallant but unpretentious red-blooded young American G.I.s, flyboys, and sailor-men who would soon be fighting WWII. If the U.S. is in a sorry state today, it's because guys like this just don't exist anymore. No wonder women in the 1990s melt for Gibson's defrosted hunk.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Dan's predicament: frozen, then forgotten by his own military for more than 60 years. What would you do in his shoes? Ask kids about the differences between the 1930s and the 1990s and whether Dan adapts realistically or not. What do you think life will be like six decades from now?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 16, 1992
DVD release date:July 30, 1997
Cast:Elijah Wood, Jamie Lee Curtis, Mel Gibson
Director:Steve Miner
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Run time:102 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some language and domestic conflict

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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; OK 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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Adult Written bywonder dove November 8, 2012

Highly underrated!

This film never fails to amaze me! It is such a treat. I first watched this when I was 10 and it become a favorite after that, I'd always recommend it to friends. It's a beautiful romantic story mixed with fantasy, set in the year 1939 about a pilot named Daniel who is madly in love with a sweet woman he has known since childhood. After almost proposing to her, she gets hit by a car and falls into a coma but never recovers. This shatters Daniels life and he soon becomes extremely depressed. His Best friend Harry invents a machine that can keep a person frozen for years and Daniel asks to be his first experiment, so that he doesn't have to be around to see the love of his life die. Harry agrees and Daniel is put into the capsule, but sadly abandoned until 1990 (51 years later!) because his best friend had died and the project was forgotten. So 51 years later two boys accidentally stumble upon frozen Daniel, open the capsule and then run for their lives. Daniel gets out for the first time and discovers a whole new life, only to later learn that Helen, his sweetheart, is still alive! Great little movie for anyone who enjoys a suspenseful, mysterious, romantic drama! There is some violence (fist fight scene, violence toward a woman but she gets saved fast, falling off a roof), a drunk character for a few minutes on screen, lots of smoking in the beginning. Innocent kissing in two scenes, a woman in her bra for about 5 seconds, a 10 year old talks about liking a girl and flirts with her. Language is pretty tame. It's very sad sometimes so be aware. This is a must see film for kids 10+ and adults!!!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Kid, 11 years old June 12, 2010

Forever Young is Forever Great!

This is a great film! There is kissing, fights, plane crashes, beer, but not many curse words (hell, d---, a--, and crap are the worst), but it's an AMAZING film you'll love.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written by4adda March 26, 2011

More violence and swearing than the review indicates.

The Common Sense review is misleading. There was a fair amount of swearing and a scary scene of domestic abuse.


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