Heavy Metal

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Heavy Metal Movie Poster Image
Gory, sexy animated fantasy is too much for most teens.
  • R
  • 1981
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

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 & Representations

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

Violence

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.

Sex

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.

Language

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.

Consumerism
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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
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... Continue reading
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... Continue reading
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.
Teen, 16 years old Written byLibbayee December 7, 2016

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.

Talk to your kids 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

For kids who love animation

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