Live Free or Die

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Live Free or Die Movie Poster Image
Small-town indie crime comedy is short on laughs.
  • R
  • 2007
  • 89 minutes

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

Positive Messages

In search of an infamous reputation, a central character lies, cheats, and steals -- even though the rep is completely undeserved.


All of the movie's violence is concentrated in its third act: a young criminal gets shot by the cops while fleeing the scene; a police officer is run over by a van as he's about to kill a suspect; a bullet-ridden, slightly bloody body is shown very briefly.


Several references to a character's adulterous wife; a woman tells her date she expects a sexual favor; a shopkeeper is revealed to have a huge stash of homemade porn.


Verges on Tarantino territory with more than 50 "f--k"s and dozens of "s--t"s, "c--k"s, and even "c--t."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Various characters smoke cigarettes and drink at bars.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this indie crime comedy seems aimed at teenage boys (R rating and all). It focuses on a shiftless guy who can't even commit petty crimes successfully but still ends up with a notorious reputation and a large following in his small town. The language is extremely gratuitous given the comparatively tame subject matter. In the last 20 minutes there are two surprisingly violent (although not graphic) scenes. A few sexual comments are made, including an extended conversation about an extramarital affair and a character's illicit porn collection.

User Reviews

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Kid, 8 years old April 9, 2008

What's the story?

A petty criminal with the undeserved rep of a hardened convict, Rugged (Aaron Stanford, best known as X2's Pyro) chokes during jobs and basically meanders around looking for easy money. After teaming up with Lagrand (Paul Schneider), who runs the local storage lot, Rugged tries to prove he's worth hiring as head of security by picking fights with muscular galoots at the local bar. When Rugged is connected to three deaths, a robbery, and an ongoing scam that he did not commit, chooses not to set the record straight.

Is it any good?

Gregg Kavet and Andy Robin both wrote for Seinfeld, so it's particularly baffling that their joint feature debut is underwhelming and only occasionally funny. An indie production that won a competition award at the 2007 SXSW Film festival, LIVE FREE OR DIE starts off slow and doesn't gain momentum for a full 40 minutes. The title -- taken from the New Hampshire state motto -- is an explanation of sorts for what happens to the story's antihero, Rugged.

The one bright spot in an otherwise forgettable flick is Zooey Deschanel, who has been a charming and mostly underutilized talent since Almost Famous. Here she stands out as Lagrand's put-upon sister, Cheryl, who can't figure out why her brother is such a dolt. When she rolls her eyes in frustration at the idiocy surrounding her, viewers know exactly how she feels.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's messages. What is it saying about reputations? Should you believe everything you hear about people -- whether in real life or in the media? What makes someone "infamous" to begin with? Families can also discuss who this movie is aimed at -- or who they think it's aimed at, based on the content. Do things like strong language and an R rating make a movie more or less appealing for teen audiences? Why?

Movie details

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