Grumpy Old Men

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Grumpy Old Men Movie Poster Image
So-so comedy with insults, sexual humor. No kid appeal.
  • PG-13
  • 1993
  • 103 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

In order to experience the richness of life, it's important to take risks and be willing to fail. Even long-time enemies can find common ground and show compassion for one another.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most of the comedy is based on jokes about aging, a professed reduction in sexual prowess, and old friends treating each other disrespectfully. A very elderly man is portrayed as a sex-addled alcoholic. On the plus side, the adult children treat their fathers with respect and love, and the one African-American character is an important part of the community.


A mild scuffle erupts between two "frenemies;" pushing, shoving, some hitting. Spoiler Alert: There is some suspense when a leading character suffers a heart attack and falls to the ground. He is later seen on life support, but recovers.


A key story element relates to older men having sexual interest and being able to "perform." Male seniors ogle, yearn for, and attempt to bed a flirtatious, middle-aged woman. She characterizes sensuality, as well as a lusty interest in living life to the fullest. While there is no overt sexual activity other than a few kisses, subject matter and dialogue consistently refer to sex and body parts (i.e. "I haven't had sex for fifteen years," "Are you gay or straight... Hetero or homo?")



Top-to-bottom insult humor. Two characters consistently engage in name-calling; a small sampling includes: "d--khead," "moron," "idiot," "schmuck," "putz," "t-ty-friggin' Swede," "asswipe," "smart-ass,"  "p---y." Lots of mild swearing, as well: "Jesus Christ," "bulls--t," "hell" "damn," "bastard." And then there are the sexual insults and observations: "You couldn't get it up!," "Did you mount her?," "Big thighs?"


Visible products include: Coca-Cola, Dodge cars, United Van Lines, Zenith, Oberto snacks, Red Wing Shoes, Camel cigarettes, Budweiser, and Schmidt's beer


Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Alcohol is occasionally consumed in social settings: in a bar, while fishing, at dinner. One very old man drinks from a flask and is inebriated in several scenes. Some smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Grumpy Old Men is a comedy with adult themes (jealousy, lifelong rivalries, and seniors' interest in sex) -- all treated lightheartedly. The intended humor comes from constant name-calling (i.e., "idiot," "moron," "ass-wipe," "putz") and jokes about sexual aptitude. A few falls in snow and a short tussle between the two "grumpy" men provide the only action -- nothing is serious. The movie delivers comfortable messages about the older people finding happiness, repairing damaged friendships, and positive relationships between seniors and their adult children. (Spoiler Alert -- a supporting character dies off camera, and a leading character suffers a heart attack and ends up on life support for a short time). Characters drink adult beverages in several scenes; one very old man smokes and is portrayed as a lecherous alcoholic. There is quite a bit of salty language: "p---y," "d--khead," "bulls--t."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 18+-year-old Written by[email protected] November 30, 2018

Really funny

Its a good comedy for older kids because of there is a lot of cussing in it but it has some really good acting in it.
Kid, 11 years old July 21, 2018

Inappropriate but Funny

Many sexual references, and the outtakes portion had some shockingly vulgar dialogue. However, it is a movie that will have you laughing constantly.

What's the story?

In GRUMPY OLD MEN, snow is falling in Minnesota; the holidays are coming. John Gustafson (Jack Lemmon) and Max Goldman (Walter Matthau) are next-door neighbors who've been feuding for decades. They delight only in ice-fishing and their hatred for one another, expressed by their joy in constantly creating new and more ridiculous insults to hurl across the yard. Unbeknownst to Max, however, John is in trouble with the IRS, desperate not to lose his home, and he is scared.

When the beautiful and sexy Ariel Truax (Ann-Margret) moves in across the street, the rivalry intensifies. Both John's and Max's sexual appetites, dormant for a long while, appear afresh, turning them into the lustful teenage foes they once were. Ariel's considerable attention to both of them, as well as increasing pressure from the taxman, bring events to crisis point.

Is it any good?

Everything in this film is exaggerated, especially performances by Ann-Margret and Burgess Meredith. The beloved Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, well into their stellar careers, made a series of these mildly raunchy hit comedies together. Audiences flocked to see the two stars despite the thin, predictable plots and one-dimensional characters. Grumpy Old Men is the first in the series (followed by Grumpier Old Men and Out to Sea). There's a sweet flirtation between John's daughter and Max's son, but other than that -- and the naughtiness of non-stop insults -- the movie will probably not appeal to kids.   

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the fact that the name-calling in this movie is meant to be funny. When does silly name-calling become bullying? How do you know the difference? 

  • Do the characters in Grumpy Old Mean seem real to you? How are they the same or different from the older people you know? 

  • What are some of the things you can learn from grandparents and other senior adults in your life?

Movie details

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