A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Numerous police officers are shown to be corrupt. Characters are violent, abusive, and cheat. If there's any shred of positivity to be gained, it's that those responsible eventually get their comeuppance.
Positive Role Models
The sole redeeming fact of Dennis Peck's character is that he is, at least, doting to his eight children and seems to have formed a positive relationship with his past and present wives. However, this is soon undone when we witness his physical and emotional violence toward them. Raymond Avila is determined to bring Peck to justice. However, he allows himself to get manipulated by him. Amy Wallace is arguably the film's most positive character. She oozes independence, capability, and dead pan charm in a male-dominated team.
One lead character is a lesbian who is a professional and respected member of the police force. Her character's sexuality isn't overtly stereotyped or used as a plot point. However, she is called a "d-ke" within earshot yet seems completely unperturbed. One supporting character is a woman with a successful career in the arts. Black members of the police force are shown but only to add dynamics to leading White characters. Other Black and Latino roles are either sex workers or gangsters. One lead speaks Spanish. However, the movie is selective over when to provide English subtitles instead simply saying "speaks Spanish."
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Violence & Scariness
Guns, knives, blood, murder, police brutality, and physical violence is frequent throughout. A character is shot in the head at close range and another is strangled to death. A shoot-out takes place and women are often physically abused by their partners -- sometimes in public.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A naked woman is seen as part of a video art installation. A married couple are seen in bed talking about having sex. Sex workers are seen walking the streets. A character strokes another character's leg under a table. They later have a sexual affair. Another affair sees a couple having sex with one character bare chested. Sexually explicit dancing takes place in a nightclub.
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Language includes "f--k," "bulls--t," "a--holes," "s--t," and "jerk." In addition to sexual innuendo and conversations about sexual endeavors, sexually explicit language includes "p---y," "cum," and "head." A gay character is called a "d-ke."
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Products & Purchases
Characters drink Pepsi and a McDonald's restaurant is seen.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A character drinks a bottle of spirits straight from the bottle and gets drunk. Occasional smoking. A large amount of drugs are seen in a drugs bust. One character attempts to take some cocaine but it is knocked out of their hand.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Internal Affairs is a 1990s police drama with strong language, violence, sex, nudity, and domestic abuse. It stars Richard Gere as a respected L.A. police officer and father, Dennis Peck, who is soon outed as a dangerously devious womanizer by Raymond Avila (Andy Garcia), a fellow cop hired to sniff out corrupt police. Characters are shot and strangled to death. Female nudity is shown both in a sexual and non-sexual context. There is also the use of graphic sexual language, including words like "p---y" and "cum." Other strong language includes "f--k" and "s--t," while a lesbian character -- who avoids playing into stereotypes -- is referred to as a "d-ke." Characters smoke and drink -- the latter to excess in one scene -- and a character tries to take cocaine but has it knocked out of their hand. While the film is gripping in places, its portrayals of women and people of color has not aged well. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
For its time, this 1990 film cut through the noise of a swarm of cop dramas and was received favorably by critics and the box office. Internal Affairs capitalized on the sturdy talent and sizzling sex appeal of Gere who had already made a name for himself with the likes of American Gigolo and An Officer and a Gentleman. However, time has corroded the credentials of this movie. You would hope today's lens would be more scrupulous on portrayals of women and people of color, and more original in its stylistic choices, which now look like a roll call of cliches.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.