Heavy Metal Movie Poster Image

Heavy Metal



Gory, sexy animated fantasy is too much for most teens.
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 1981
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Ostensibly there's something here about resisting temptation and evil, but the real point of the movie is to experience generous helpings of animated sex and violence.

Positive role models

The characters here are violent, greedy, sex-crazed drug-users, and their actions mostly occur with little or no consequences.


Very strong fantasy violence here; the movie is animated, so the violence loses a bit of oomph compared to a live-action movie. The most disturbing include a green glowing ball terrifying a young girl (her expression sends chills down the spine), and a boy dying after being run through with several spikes. (His eyes roll up in his head as the life drains out of them.) Otherwise, there is lots of hand-to-hand fighting, guns and shooting, fighting with swords, and beheadings. Some characters are melted away, turning into skeletons before they disappear. There's also general rampaging and chaos.


Several big-breasted, cartoon fantasy women remove their clothes and have sex with men. Some women are topless, and some are seen full-frontal. There's some full-frontal male nudity as well. Prostitutes are shown, as well as images of a "red light district." There is strong innuendo throughout.


Two uses of "f--k" and one use of "s--t," plus several uses of "a--hole." Additionally, "ass," "Goddamn," "dork," "bitch," "hell" are heard, plus a middle finger gesture.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Two aliens snort huge lines of a fictitious white powdered drug. It affects them like pot. They seem spacey and stoned, as they try to dock a spaceship. A human character mentions "beer in the fridge," but he doesn't drink any.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Heavy Metal is an animated film aimed at teens, but its sexual and violent content makes it inappropriate for most. There are horrifying images of young characters dying, plus fighting, shooting with guns, and slicing with swords. A terrified young girl is a central, disturbing image. Several big-breasted women remove their clothes to sleep with men. There's strong innuendo, toplessness, and full-frontal nudity (mostly women, but men too). Language is strong (including "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole"). Two aliens snort huge lines of a white powder that makes them spacey.

What's the story?

In this collection of related stories: An astronaut arrives home with a present for his little girl. Unfortunately, the present turns out to be a scary, glowing green ball. It melts dad and proceeds to tell the little girl several stories of sex, violence, greed, war, and revenge. A cabbie tries to protect a mysterious woman who has also found a glowing green ball. A boy finds the ball and is transported to a fantastic, distant world, occupying a warrior's body. A star witness at a trial turns into a monster and goes on a rampage. Aliens kidnap a sexy Earth woman. And so on. In the last segment, a beautiful warrior princess has one final chance to stand up against the forces of evil.

Is it any good?


In 1981, this may have been state-of-the-art animation, but now it looks rudimentary, clunky, and flat. The writing, likewise, is flat. These stories could have been little Twilight Zone-style zingers, but instead they just trail off. One of the stories, "Captain Sternn," came from comics legend Berni Wrightson, and it's the only one that even comes close to having a shape.

What's even more peculiar is the fact that the movie, like the famous magazine it's based on, is designed to lure in teens with the promise of gratuitous sex and nudity, as well as elements of fantasy, sci-fi, and violence. But the movie's overall content and themes make it more appropriate for adults, who will not be as interested. On the plus side, the movie has a good soundtrack of 1970s and 1980s-era arena rock (not all heavy metal, by the way), and the songs are used interestingly as background, often giving scenes an effective and much-needed boost of adrenaline. Ivan Reitman was a producer.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's rampant violence. Is this kind of violence thrilling or appealing? Is it over-the-top? What effect does it have?

  • Is the strong sex and nudity in the movie appealing? What messages does this movie send about women's roles? Why are male and female bodies so exaggerated in comics and cartoons?

  • Do you think this movie is designed for teens?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 7, 1981
DVD/Streaming release date:January 15, 2008
Cast:Eugene Levy, Harold Ramis, John Candy
Director:Gerald Potterton
Studio:Columbia Pictures
Genre:Science Fiction
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:R

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Adult Written byAntithesis March 31, 2012

Potential nightmare fuel for sensitive viewers. Discretion Advised.

Although, I watched this movie when I was fourteen at a friend's house. I really wouldn't recommend it to younger teens and especially not to children, The movie is a direct homage to Heavy Metal magazine, an underground cult classic since 1977. What is the most striking about this film is the Visuals which have aged well considering the technology in the early 80's. Visually, it's still a treat with complex characters and amazing backgrounds. The movie is paced like the magazine as in each new chapter tells a different story with different animation, but some how they all link up. Be warned though, the violence in this movie is extremely graphic with grisly and gory imagery by the bucketload. Some characters get beheaded, some impaled, and in the first chapter the scientist who brings home the loc-narr has his face and skin melted off of his body as if he was a casualty of nuclear war. Other than the aforementioned A**load of violence, there is also full frontal nudity, many of the female characters are either topless or wearing no clothes at all. There is also a few softcore sex scenes throughout the film as well. All in all it is a really fantastic film but It's best suited to the 17+ set.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written bydavyborn February 25, 2013

Sex and violence filled 80's cult classic isn't for kids.

Ever since it bombed in theatres back in 1981, Heavy Metal has earned a bit of a cult following over the years, in the way that most cult movies do now, through vhs and dvd releases. Now, Heavy Metal has been scrutinized to death, since it was released, again--becuase it is less of an actual movie, and more of a long string of short stories strung together in between a limp and crudely constructed narrative, and, to match that, none of these stories are really related in the least. And, of course, let's not forget, that another big reason as to why this film got such a panning upon initial release, is it's now infamous plethora of graphic sex, violence and extensive female nudity, making this one movie that feminists will probably always revere. But, just so that I may avoid an argument and any taken offense by female readers, I can't really blame women for hating it, because it isn't exactly the most senstivie film out there as far as the opposite sex is concerned, as nearly every single big-breasted woman who is shown on screen, at one point or another, ends up stripping fully nude, and, occasionally, having sex. Now, to the "plot" of the film: Heavy Metal's running narrative device is that of an astronaut who encounters a strange object while in space, and brings it home to his young daughter who lives in his mansion, located in a secluded area of the countryside. Now, once released, this strange and mysterious space-spawned object turns into a menacing orb, melts her father (among many, many, many others. Seriously, this movie has quiet the obsession with melting people) and consistently proceeds to torment her verbally whilst spinning together an extremely disjointed and uneven slew of short animated films. Now, when I say uneven, I really, truly mean that. Some of the short films are actually quiet good, with some stand-outs being "Captain Sternn", a morbid and twisty little mindgame ingeniously disguised as a space-set courtoom of sorts; and "Taarna", about a mysterious female warrior's battle with the ever-powerful orb as it slowly takes over and zombifies the whole fantasy world that surrounds her. But, ufnrotunately, most of them pretty much just fall into the category of shameless sleaze (though intentional) and exploitation. Even if it is sometimes entertaining, you don't reall ever feel like you are watching a film. Instead, you just simply stare at these crude little short films bunched up together, as the directors call it a movie. Now, the animation styles of the film range from dull and messy to actually quiet imaginative, creative, and, on occasion, really rather stunning. Still, it doesn't save it in the end, even if there is some originality taking place, here. Now, as I mentuoned some explicit content earlier, I will give details here, as to why exactly, this film is Rated R: Heavy Metal contains an immense onslaught of both violence and sex. Violence consists of brutal warfare and battles with fantasy creatures and characters, with lot's of stabbing, mutilation, maulings, dismemberment, occasional torture, and many, many people melted to death by the orb, complete with buckets of spraying and splattering animated blood. Also, strong sexual content and graphic nudity is pervasive throughout, as well, with at least three sex scenes baring entire female bodies, and countless scenes of completely nude women on full display, with some male nudity as well; all in all, though an abundent amount of breasts, buttocks and crotches are shown, and for prolonged periods of time, but, as far as the film's high amount of violence, gore, sex and nudity is concerned, the fact that this film is animated (and, sometimes poorly, too) does weaken the impact of the film's content, slightly). Also, there is brief drug use, with a scene in one of the particular short films where two aliens creatures act as "stoners" and partake in a strange white snorting powder, which comically impares there ability to steer a space ship. And, finally, the film has infrequent but moderate language, including two uses of f--k, but several other uses each of sh-t, g-dd-mn, h-ll, cr-p, a--h-le, b-tch, b-st-rd, and more. So, is Heavy Metal really all that bad of a movie? Well, it really isn't very good, either. But, for what it is, this crudely imagined and incredibly sleazy animated mess of an 80's classic certainly get's points for ambition and occasional shamefull charm. Too bad that that isn't enough to save it in the end. Not Reccomended.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 17 years old Written byPrincessCharmed797 February 2, 2013

Heavy Metal

Heavy Metal is one of my favorite movies of the 80's. Older Teens and Adults Only.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking