Friday the 13th (1980)

Movie review by
Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media
Friday the 13th (1980) Movie Poster Image
Infamous, sadistic slasher film has violence, sex.
  • R
  • 1980
  • 95 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 40 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 144 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Movie centers on misplaced vengeance over the death of a child decades before the action takes place. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

In what is typical for the genre, the nicest and most demure one gets to be the sole survivor. One of the more obnoxious characters finds a Native American headdress and begins to engage in stereotypical behavior. As he's doing this, an officious motorcycle cop shows up at Crystal Lake and refers to the teen in the headdress as "Tonto" and "Cochise." 

Violence

Slasher horror movie violence. Characters shown killed or getting killed up close: sliced in the throat with a knife, chopped in the forehead with an axe, speared in the throat, shot with arrows, decapitation. In a flashback scene, a young boy is shown from a distance drowning in the middle of the lake while pleading for his mother. Some slapping and punching. Jump scares galore. 

Sex

Some gratuitous sexual content. Moaning and brief female nudity (breasts, buttocks) while showing two teen characters having sex. Some female camp counselors tend to walk around in panties and tight T-shirts with no bras, nipples clearly seen. In flashback, two characters are on verge of having sex before they're murdered. Talk about sex. Kissing. An obnoxious teen boy pretends to be drowning in Crystal Lake, uses that as a way to kiss one of the girls when she gives him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Characters play "strip Monopoly," but stop before anyone is naked. 

Language

Occasional profanity: "s--t," "goddammit," "pisser," "damn." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Marijuana smoking and beer drinking during a game of "strip Monopoly." An officious motorcycle cop accuses the camp counselors of being high -- they aren't, at least not yet. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Friday the 13th is the 1980 genre-defining slasher horror movie that started the long-running franchise. Expect lots of slasher horror violence, blood, and gore, as camp counselors are picked off one by one in a variety of gruesome ways: axes, spears, arrows, knives, machete. Characters are speared in the head, chopped in the forehead, decapitated. In a flashback scene, a young boy is shown from a distance to be drowning in Crystal Lake while pleading for his mother. Some gratuitous sexual content includes brief female nudity and moaning during a sex scene, a flashback scene in which two characters are seemingly on the verge of having sex when they are killed, characters play a game of "strip Monopoly," and talk of sex throughout. One character pretends to be drowning and uses the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation by a fellow camper as a chance to make out with his love interest. There's marijuana smoking, beer drinking, and occasional profanity, including "s--t." Native American stereotyping occurs in one scene. Jump scares throughout. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bygrande July 25, 2015

A classic

I'm a 12 year old kid who loves horror movies and it just annoys me seeing parents like, "Oh way to scary", shut up okay. This movie is a total c... Continue reading
Adult Written byalexh1 March 19, 2017

Don't listen to the Site's Review.

This Site's Review is ridiculous. This movies is nowhere near as bad as it says. I watched this at 8 and was fine; the 12 year old rating is because most p... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byJakeTheGuy February 15, 2021

Bloody slasher is pretty fun

So I'm going to just say, that I thought this movie was alright. I think it's definitely in my top 3 of the Friday series, and I mean, it has Kevin Ba... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byFinch doe188 October 26, 2016

First horror not even

It's not that scary I first saw this when I was 10 and it didn't scare me at all it was my first horror movie but not as good as part 3 but it had som... Continue reading

What's the story?

A 1958 prologue (it looks like 1978) shows two young summer camp counselors about to have sex when a mystery assailant -- apparently someone they know -- slashes them to death. The camp, now known to locals as "Camp Blood," is closed for 20 years as a result, but is now reopening, on a dark-and-stormy Friday the 13th. Another group of young, largely sex-minded counselors are gathering for orientation (it's a small mercy that despite the summer camp setting, kids are not present in most Jason movies). Sure enough, an unseen attacker again begins knifing them to death, one by one. Since these youths are prone to playing practical jokes on one another, or sneaking off for sex and drugs, they take little note of their cohorts' strange absences until nearly all of them are dead.

Is it any good?

Unless you award points for the creative, gross-out makeup (by cult-hero special effects artist Tom Savini), FRIDAY THE 13TH isn't a great horror movie. It has not aged very well. Even in the metaphor-stretched world of horror where intellectuals argue that flesh-eating zombies are really symbols of mindless consumerism, nobody defends Friday the 13th that way. Yet this movie series is infamous: Practically every kid knows about it. Hockey-masked "Jason" costumes are popular, and sequels continue to be produced. Too bad the first movie is, well, too bad.

Unlike other popular films in the genre, Friday the 13th hardly works as a whodunit, because the Camp Blood murderer is nobody we've met or really know anything about. That just leaves the movie as one killing after another, with abundant, er, dead space in between. The doomed camp counselors go swimming, play "strip Monopoly," and chat unremarkably. Still, horror fans will be interested to see how the franchise began.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the victims of choice in typical slasher movies. Why does the marauder often prey on the most sexually active characters first? 

  • At the time of its release, in the aftermath of the blockbuster hit Halloween, there were many gory and bloody slasher movies intended to appeal to the "teen market." Why do you think these movies remain so popular?

  • How was gratuitous sex presented in the movie? Did it seem necessary, or, like the violence, was it a way to try to appeal to a younger audience? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love horror

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

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate