Friday the 13th (1980) Movie Poster Image

Friday the 13th (1980)

Beware of this infamous, sadistic slasher film.
  • 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.

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/Streaming 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

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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 January 9, 2009

Friday the 13th is a decent slasher flick and is actually worth seeing

Now don't listen to Common Sense Media. They are wrong about the movie and it's content. There were only two sex scenes and they weren't even that graphic. A character mentions 'strip monopoly' but you only see her in bra and panties. You don't see any shots of nudity. For violence, there were some violent scenes but they weren't over-the-top and not too gory either. The language is the least of your worries. It's not even an issue. Just infrequent uses of godd*mn and sh*t. That's it. CSM is also wrong about the movie. I thought the movie was really good. There was enough kills, suspense, and it clocks at the perfect time. Overall, Friday the 13th is a perfect slasher flick. I would recommend it to age 15+. Shoot even kids could see it. CSM doesn't know what they're talking about.
Teen, 14 years old Written byAntagonist November 22, 2012

Not as bad or violent as Commonsense says

This film is actually a scary horror classic. As far as violence goes, there's nothing out of the ordinary. Anyone 13+ can handle it
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking