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Parents' Guide to

Hell or High Water

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Excellent, relevant crime drama has language, violence.

Movie R 2016 102 minutes
Hell or High Water Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 10 parent reviews

age 13+
Hell or High Water is a modern western film following two bank robbers. The film contains some violence, brief sex and language. VIOLENCE: MODERATE This isn’t an extremely violent film, but at moments the violence can be a bit strong. A man is pistol whipped in the head making a wound on his nose. A man has his head slammed against a car door forming a dent before he is punched in the face several times and falls to the ground. During a botched robbery, a guard is repeatedly shot in the chest (from a distance) causing some blood to appear on his shirt before another man is suddenly shot in the head at close range (blood briefly shown) this scene is pretty suspenseful and probably the most violent scene in the film. A man is shown with a bullet hole in his side, he wraps duct tape around it. A man is suddenly shot in the head (mostly bloodless) before we see a bloody bullet hole and brain matter in his hat. A man is sniped in the head from a distance, some blood is shown spraying out and later a bullet hole is shown as well. LANGUAGE: MODERATE 32 uses of "fuck", 18 uses of "shit", 11 uses of "damn", and 9 uses of "hell." 1 use of "titties," 1 use of "pecker," 1 use of "piss," and 17 combined uses of "bitch" and "bastard." SEXUAL CONTENT: MILD A brief sex scene depicting a man and a woman having sex out of focus behind another man who is trying to sleep, they are both clearly nude and the woman is grinding against the man, however any graphic detail or nudity is cut off from the blur and the scene lasts only a few seconds.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much swearing
age 17+

A High Quality Modern Western

Hell or High Water is a quality film from screenwriter Taylor Sheridan and his Oscar nod was well deserved. It features memorable and impressive performances from Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham. It is an engaging story and a nice change of pace back to the older more contemplative westerns of the past. The film does blur the lines between right and wrong with the protagonists being bank robbers and there is also some brief but intense violence and language. Not everyone will love this film but I did and highly recommend it for those who still appreciate a slow building, character driven western.

This title has:

Too much violence

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (10 ):
Kids say (8 ):

Vivid, resonant, and brimming with life, this is a great genre movie, a film noir tapping into the uncertainties of our times, crossed with a modern Western chronicling a new brand of lawlessness. Hell or High Water captures a hardscrabble world devastated by the failing economy, where everyone is armed and there's a kind of respect for everyone except bankers. It's an alien world but also familiar. It's easy to imagine that all the characters have lives that go on after their scenes are finished.

Australian director David Mackenzie (Starred Up) brings a kind of barren beauty to the movie, and screenwriter Taylor Sheridan (Sicario) allows time to wonder about what the characters think and how they feel about what's going on. It's about more than thrills. Bridges and Foster are especially good, finding wiggle room between their lines for some truly exceptional acting. This is recommended for any adventurous, mature movie fans.

Movie Details

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