Heathers Movie Poster Image




After Columbine, this dark comedy isn't as funny.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1989
  • Running Time: 103 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Extreme bad behavior is intrinsic to this dark comedy. J.D. thrives on chaos and death and drags Veronica down with him. When she starts to resist him he stalks her and threatens her. High school pecking-order stereotypes are rampant. Parents and school administrators shown as bumbling and ineffective in dealing with the "suicide epidemic." Suicide notes are forged, then circulated and revered by students and faculty. One Heather uses holy water to fix her hair at a funeral. The fake suicide pact of two male athletes is staged as a gay tryst with "gay artifacts" like mineral water and played for laughs. Cow-tipping. Kids pander to TV crews in a display of public mourning and one asks for a copy of the tape for his Princeton application. A college boy and J.D. act sexually aggressive toward Veronica. One Heather throws up lunch every day. J.D.'s dad blows up buildings and gloats about it. Girl gets laughed at for attempting suicide for real and living. Veronica does learn a lesson in the end about popularity and befriends the most laughed-at girl in school.


One poisoning where the victim falls through a glass table. Plenty of gunplay by J.D. and Veronica: at school with blanks, in the woods resulting in two deaths. J.D. and Veronica fight each other with guns, shooting off a finger; lots of blood. Dynamite is planted under bleachers of school kids at a pep rally, then strapped to and detonated by J.D. Teen suicide is a huge focus and faked suicides lead to real attempts by two students. J.D. admits that his mother probably committed suicide. His father blows up buildings. Veronica burns herself with a lighter on purpose. A Barbie is hung in Veronica's room as a threat and Veronica pretends to hang herself.


Lots of teenage sex (outdoors and at a college party) and crude mentions of sex: "spin her around on my Johnson like a goddamn pinwheel." Veronica is the victim of a rumor that she had oral sex with two jocks in one night. Jocks make a nerdy student say "I like to suck big dicks" outside a church. Two jocks strip down to their boxers. Veronica is forced to kiss J.D. and a college student against her will.


The F word is used frequently in over-the-top expressions like "f--k me gently with a chainsaw," "f--king psychotic," "stupid f--k," "they all want me as a friend or a f--k."


Swatch, Coke, Limited, MTV, Barbie

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Veronica, J.D., Veronica's dad, and a teacher smoke. A teen smokes pot under the bleachers. High schoolers are drunk at a college party and Veronica throws up.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that teens will probably want to see this pitch-black comedy, but it's better for those just exiting high school and up. This film goes to extremes portraying the cruelness of the popular crowd and the rebellion against it. The popular kids are murdered by poisoning and shooting and their suicide notes are forged. There are two more "real" attempted suicides, some self-mutilation, and bulimia. There's lots of gunplay by the main characters and one bloody scene. J.D. attempts to blow up the school and all its students with dynamite. Teens have sex (outdoors and at a college party) and speak crudely about it. Two boys are sexually aggressive. And there's plenty of harsh and homophobic language.

What's the story?

Three girls, all named Heather (Shannen Doherty, Lisanne Falk, and Kim Walker), run things from the top of the social food chain at Westburg High. Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder) a witty rebel who quickly steals Veronica's heart. J.D. (Christian Slater) supports her hatred of the Heathers and joins her in a vindictive practical joke on the top Heather. But the joke is for keeps when Heather drinks J.D.'s "hangover cure" made of deadly cleaning fluid. A shocked Veronica decides to help J.D. cover up the murder by making it look like suicide. A series of copycat suicides quickly envelops Westburg High. The phenomenon takes on a bizarre life of its own as the student body, faculty, and parents all react to the macabre events in their own clueless and dysfunctional way. Meanwhile, Veronica must admit to herself that J.D. is even more of a monster than the Heathers. Can she foil his plot to administer a student body-wide suicide pact?

Is it any good?


The odd and often uncomfortable world of teen peer pressure is no stranger to any of us, and this dark comedy zooms unhesitatingly into this pressure cooker. It dishes up some grotesque stereotypes, and tosses them into a cleverly campy scenario that threatens the lives of the entire student body of Westburg High.

HEATHERS is a well-acted movie with many memorable lines. It's become a classic of the teenage macabre genre, and with good reason. Older teens and adults will find that there's much dark delight to be found in its silly, biting twist on teen life.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about popularity, suicide, depression, and any number of hot-button teen subjects. High school is a high-anxiety microcosm of what awaits teenagers post-graduation. How do you deal with pressure successfully? How do you learn to make positive decisions?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 31, 1989
DVD/Streaming release date:September 25, 2001
Cast:Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty, Winona Ryder
Director:Michael Lehmann
Studio:Anchor Bay Entertainment
Run time:103 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:adult themes

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bylunag126 April 28, 2013

Kids are smarter than they seem.

This movie is a great dark comedy and a classic I think most people should get around to watching. And, quite frankly, okay for kids 10+ provided you ask the question "how mature is my kid?" I'm not going to go onto a full on rant about how kids are too coddled in modern society. All I'm saying is I have particularly fond memories of watching this movie with my mom at 12. Answer this questionaire I created to see if this movie is okay for your child. Does your child freak out every time someone curses? Does you child freak out every time someone mentions sex? Is your child uncomfortable with violence? If you answered yes to any of these questions, don't show your child this film. If your child is under 10 chances are they don't know much about sex, so I would avoid this move to avoid triggering a lengthy conversation about sex.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 12 years old March 2, 2014

It depends.

Being twelve, on the verge of being a teen, high school movies appeal to me. After watching 'The Breakfast Club' and 'Sixteen Candles' I watched 'The Heathers'. But I was wrong. This is a very dark comedy, not horror but disturbing. Along with murder and the harsh world of high school, this is the only high school movie that made me glad to be in middle school. Overall I would advise for the older teen group to be the target demographic.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byLedZeppelin April 9, 2008

A great dark comedy

It is true that now a days this movie might be viewed as being tasteless because of the cavalier way that such serious topics are discussed. But you need to just immerse yourself in the world of the movie and just enjoy it for what it is, a dark comedy. It isn't meant to be bunnies and sunshine. It is meant to creep you out a little bit, but make you laugh as well. So enjoy Heathers for what it is.


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