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Happy Gilmore

Movie review by
Alex Orner, Common Sense Media
Happy Gilmore Movie Poster Image
Adolescent humor at its best/worst. Lots of profanity.
  • PG-13
  • 1996
  • 92 minutes
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 20 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 90 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

In its own silly way, the movie shows the importance of controlling one's temper, in golf and in life.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Although he's shown -- comically -- as a frustrated hockey player trying to learn golf, Happy Gilmore also is a loving grandson who begins to learn to control his emotions.


As a frustrated hockey player, Happy GIlmore frequently (and comically) resorts to violence when he loses his temper. He gets into an over-the-top fistfight with the game show host Bob Barker. He throws a man through a glass door. He also is shown breaking a bottle and threatening to fight the antagonist of the movie.


When asked to go to his "happy place," Happy has a fantasy of the lead actress in a park on a bed, dressed in lingerie and holding two pitchers of beer. As he starts to get famous, Happy is shown autographing the cleavage of a young woman and then an elderly woman.


Frequent profanity: "f--k," "piss," "jackass," "dips--t," "goddammit," "a--hole," "s--t," "bastard." While losing, Happy is shown going on a foul-mouthed tirade on national television where every other word is bleeped out.


Frequent and unrelenting product placement of Subway subs, in the form of hats, T-shirts, signs, commercials, and a scene where two of the main characters are eating at a Subway restaurant. The various golf tournaments are sponsored by AT&T, Michelob, Visa, and Pepsi.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters are shown drinking beer, wine, and martinis. People attending the golf tournaments are shown drinking beer; Happy's caddy is shown wearing a hat that holds a six-pack of beer with plastic tubes going from the beer to his mouth. Cigar smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the biggest red flag for this movie is the cursing and violent behavior of Happy Gilmore (Adam Sandler). His short fuse results in a number of skirmishes, including an extended (comic) fight scene with Bob Barker. The two brutally pound on each other until Gilmore is eventually knocked unconscious. Another scene has Gilmore threaten another golfer with the shards of a broken beer bottle. The profanity shies away from sexual comments and is composed mostly of "f--k" and "s--t." Older kids will enjoy Sandler's over-the-top and abrasive humor, as well as the ongoing joke of a golfer's handicapped hand that was eaten by an alligator.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byPlague December 15, 2009

Happy Gilmore

Rich in hilarity and witty humor that even dull lawyers would find funny. If Caddyshack had a sequel, this would be it.
Adult Written bygravyfury October 6, 2010

Must see for all ages

I and my kids must have seen this at LEAST 20 times. My kids range from ages 3-8
Kid, 12 years old April 7, 2010

Must-see movie!

Fantastic film. Very laugh-out-loud. Quite a lot of swearing and a few short snaps of violence, but nothing too bad. What is also quite funny is that it's... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bycooldude1000 August 19, 2009
loved it

What's the story?

What happens when you take a psychotic hockey player who holds the only league record of trying to stab somebody with his skate and throw him on the links with tranquil golfers? Adam Sandler is in one of his funniest roles as Happy Gilmore, a man with a hard, aggressive core and a surprisingly sweet center. After hearing that his grandmother has lost her house due to back taxes, Gilmore is forced to come up with $270,000 to save it. Despite the maniacal hockey player's thunderous slap shot, Gilmore can't skate worth a dime and thus seeks alternatives to raise money for his beloved grandmother. Under the guidance of "Chubbs," an ex-pro golfer who lost his hand to an alligator, Gilmore surges up the golf circuit and knocks out his competition.

Is it any good?

Second only to Billy Madison, HAPPY GILMORE stands out as one of Adam Sandler's best works. The movie pokes fun at the rather "stiff" golf world and spices it up with a character that makes Mike Tyson look like a level-headed individual. Anyone and everything sets Sandler into a crippling fury. For anyone who's seen Sandler's work from the mid-'90s (SNL or Billy Madison), the film's humor becomes quite predictable, but kids are likely to enjoy it. Appropriate for older teens.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Sandler's character. His best friends include a physically challenged ex-pro golfer, a homeless man, an amiable public relations woman, and his sweet grandmother. In addition, Gilmore earns a lot of money through his golf tournament wins with the goal of saving his grandmother's house. Do these sweet-natured friendships and altruistic deeds make up for his violent behavior? Is it the humor or the violence that makes Adam Sandler films so popular?

  • Why do you think there's so much product placement for Subway subs in this movie?

  • Was the violence in the movie appropriate for what was happening in the story and with the character, or did it seem gratuitous?

Movie details

For kids who love comedy

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