A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
- In theaters: February 16, 1996
- On DVD or streaming: February 24, 1998
- Cast: Adam Sandler, Carl Weathers, Christopher McDonald
- Director: Dennis Dugan
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 92 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: language and some comic sexuality
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
Our editors recommend
For kids who love comedy
Top advice and articles
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.
Streaming options powered by JustWatch