Friday the 13th (1980)

  • Review Date: August 30, 2006
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 1980
  • Running Time: 95 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Beware of this infamous, sadistic slasher film.
  • Review Date: August 30, 2006
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 1980
  • Running Time: 95 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Even in their rudimentary characters, the sex- and prank- and drug-oriented victims rarely come across as likeable before they're killed. In what is typical for the genre, the nicest and most demure one gets to be the sole survivor.


Throat-slashing, impalings a specialty for the mad slasher. One vicious fight to the death between two women ends in a beheading. A live snake is chopped in half -- and it doesn't appear to be fake.


Young people have sex regularly (usually a precedent to murder). Some female nudity, but mostly bikinis, bras, and panties. The characters play "strip Monopoly."


Some profanity.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The young victims frequently smoke (or talk about smoking) marijuana.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there's lots of morbid, graphic bloodshed in this film; usually slashed throats and impalings, with the victims hung on hooks. When young camp counselors aren't busy being killed, they're either trying to get stoned or having sex.

Parents say

Kids say

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 re-opening, 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, children 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 is a sick film with virtually no redeeming qualities, 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.

Families can talk 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? Families might make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, so to speak, by talking about this theme -- that teenage sex deserves harsh punishment. Maybe not death, but if you need to drive home the point, why not add some slasher examples for effect? On a more serious side, critics often see such horror movies as the extremes of depravity and exploitation. But isn't that a paradox when they also follow such a harsh, Puritan morality code?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 9, 1980
DVD release date:October 5, 2004
Cast:Adrienne King, Harry Crosby, Kevin Bacon
Director:Sean Cunningham
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Run time:95 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:graphic violence, profanity, sex, alcohol and drug use

This review of Friday the 13th (1980) 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.

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  • 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.

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Adult Written byyetijones February 20, 2009

Common Sense Media, You Make a Mockery of Professional Reviews

This is a classic film, put in theaters in the 1980's; this is what horror film was all about back in the day! And now your website makes a mockery of someone's production? I really cannot believe this domain is still active. PARENTS LISTEN! This site is biased, unruly, and unjust; I haven't found one review by its staff that I agree with, or any case study in which I see extensive research/evidentiary support. What I see is someone reading the back of a movie/game/CD cover, taking a poll on other biased personages' opinions, and writing a flagrant, outlandish article which incorrectly and distastefully outlines any form of media. Please, do the world a favor, and have an adequate review staff ACTUALLY be thorough with investigations on all your media. Get with it Common Sense, before we get out.
Kid, 11 years old July 27, 2011

How is this generally considered to be violent?

How is this generally considered to be violent? The most violent scene is of a person getting decapitated. The Human Centipede features a graphic depiction of people getting sewn together. Why is it even considered violent in '80? A Clockwork Orange featured a graphic depiction of rape & it was made 9 years before Friday The 13th. Don't let this reviewers opinion fool you. It isn't violent. It's the perfect horror movie for younger kids. It appeals more to kids than Halloween. It's hardly scary, & not violent either. Friday The 13th is the 1 successful Halloween clone. I recommend it to younger kids. In conclusion, Friday The 13th is a fun slasher movie. I give it what would be the equivalent of a PG-13. I honestly can't believe it's still a R18 in Australia.
Teen, 15 years old Written byLongRangeShadow October 15, 2009

Common Sense Epic Fail

AHA, common sense, you have no taste. I've suspected it long, but now it is proven. I'm 15 and I know this is a classic. And "No Kids" gimme a break. Is this site run by 82-year-old women? And I'm a pretty reasonable reviewer for being a kid, too.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex


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