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Movie review by
Randy White, Common Sense Media
Lucas Movie Poster Image
A realistic look at a teen's coming-of-age.
  • PG-13
  • 1986
  • 100 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 4 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Bullies can change for the better. Good friends stand up for each other. You don't have to be big and strong to stand up for yourself. Themes include empathy, courage, and integrity.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Lucas is intelligent, curious, honest, and bold, and he handles the fact that he's different from other kids with poise and grace. Maggie and Cap are kind and caring.


High school football players bang into each other and get hurt in the course of practice and a game. Lucas is hospitalized after being caught in a football pileup. Bullying. Students speak of a music teacher who shot himself over unrequited love.


Kissing in a dark movie theater. Naked boys (a micro-glance of buttocks is seen) speak of penis size and erections in the locker room. Lucas suggests a bully’s erection indicates homosexuality. In retaliation, the bully rubs hot massage cream on Lucas's genitals, although no nudity is seen. Brief shot of panties under a tennis skirt.

Lucas is attracted the new girl who is two years his senior and jealous when she falls for the very nice captain of the football team. There is clothed kissing and talk of going "to bed" and "doing it," but no one has sex. Lucas discusses Darwin and natural selection to explain sexual attraction. Cheerleaders suggest that they engage in sexual activity with football players on the bus to away games. Cheerleaders in short skirts gyrate and shimmy. 


One use of "f--k," plus "ass," "dick around," "hell," "pissant," "hard-on,"  and "s--t."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Lucas' unseen father is an alcoholic. References to teenage drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Lucas is a well-acted and well-scripted '80s coming-of age film that will be too mature for most tweens. Iffy behavior includes mockery, lying, and teen drinking. Parents are absent from children's lives. Profanity includes "f--k" and "s--t." Naked boys (a micro-glance of buttocks is seen) speak of penis size and erections in the locker room. Lucas suggests a bully’s erection indicates homosexuality. In retaliation, the bully rubs hot massage cream on Lucas's genitals, although no nudity is seen. There's a brief shot of panties under a tennis skirt, and Lucas is hospitalized after being caught in a football pileup.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10 and 12 year old Written byJimmyH December 16, 2009
Parent Written bycrankylibrarian January 4, 2014

Heartfelt, true to life teen romance

Roger Ebert described this as one of the greatest teen movies ever made. Can you imagine Charlie Sheen as a sweet natured high school kid? You will after seeing... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byhomealonefan123 December 14, 2011

Classic, a football movie everyone will love!

Parents need to know that this 1980's sports drama will be way to adult for most kids. This movie takes a realistic look at adolescent life. But yeah, youn... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byEmma80slover June 26, 2013

Sweetest movie ever!

Such a sweet and cute movie!!! I love it!! One of my faves! Nothing too bad, except one use of the f-word at the end, and a few uses of the s-word. In a boy... Continue reading

What's the story?

LUCAS is a quirky coming-of-age story centering on Lucas (Corey Haim), an "accelerated" (by two grades) 14-year-old boy with a passion for insects. Lucas lucks out when he befriends newcomer Maggie (Kerri Green) and hangs out with her over the summer. To impress her, Lucas lies about his family and pretends to be friends with the popular kids. But when school starts, Lucas is humiliated at the first pep rally. When Maggie falls for the school quarterback (Charlie Sheen), Lucas talks his way onto the team in a last-ditch attempt to get her attention, but he fumbles the big pass and is crushed in a pileup. However, his bravado wins over even the jocks who called him a freak. The team gives him a cool jacket; Lucas is ecstatic.

Is it any good?

Though this movie takes its time developing, a terrific young cast and understated comic sensibility make this heartwarming mid-'80s sleeper a winner. Lucas is an honest portrayal of the highs and lows of adolescent life. Viewers may cringe and even laugh at Lucas' outrageous antics, but they'll also sympathize with him. That's because no matter how clever Lucas is at covering the pain of being rejected, he's still the outsider who desperately wants to fit in.

The supporting characters are impressively complex as well. In most films of this sort, Charlie Sheen's football player would be the obvious villain. Playing against type of the stereotypical coldhearted jock, Sheen's character looks out for Lucas, even while he's falling for the girl Lucas loves. The casting is good all around. Excellent early performances from Haim and Sheen, as well as Winona Rider in her film debut, do much to place this teen-angst film a cut above most.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about bullying in Lucas. What should you do if you're bullied or see someone being bullied?

  • How is this movie similar to other coming-of-age tales? How is it different?

  • Does this movie still seem relevant? If you could update it, how would you do it?

  • How do the characters in Lucas demonstrate empathy, courage, and integrity? Why are those important character strengths?

Movie details

Character Strengths

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For kids who love coming-of-age tales

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