A realistic look at a teen's coming-of-age.
  • Review Date: March 2, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1986
  • Running Time: 100 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The victory in this story is when Lucas learns to be himself.


This is a football film with plenty of crashing bodies. The young lead is seriously injured in a football pile-on.


Heavy petting in a movie theater. Talk of "going all the way". A boy's shower scene contains jokes about the male anatomy.


One use of the f-word and several milder expressions.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

References to alcoholic parents and teenage drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this well acted and well-scripted '80s coming-of age film will be too adult for most kids under 12. Older kids get hooked by the appealing characters. We recommend an adult watch this one with them and discuss questionable behavior, including mockery, lying and teen drinking. Parents are absent from children's lives.

What's the story?

This quirky coming-of-age story centers 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 pile-on. However, his bravado wins over even the jocks who had called him a freak. The team gives him a cool jacket; Lucas is ecstatic.

Is it any good?


While Lucas takes its time developing, a terrific young cast and understated comic sensibility make this heartwarming mid-80s sleeper a winner. It's an honest portrayal of the highs and lows of adolescent life. While viewers may cringe and even laugh at Lucas's outrageous antics, they will also sympathize with him. That's because no matter how clever Lucas is at covering the pain of being rejected, he is 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 the stereotypical cold-hearted jock, Sheen's character looks out for Lucas, even while he is falling for the girl Lucas loves. The casting is good all around. Excellent early performances from Haim and Sheen, and Winona Rider in her film debut, do much to place this teen angst film a cut above most.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about their own teen children's experience may mirror Lucas's. How do they deal with rejection? How do they reject others out-of-hand?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 1, 1986
DVD release date:March 11, 2003
Cast:Charlie Sheen, Corey Haim, Jeremy Piven, Winona Ryder
Director:George C. Seltzer
Studio:Fox Searchlight
Run time:100 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:mature themes and sexuality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 10 and 12 year old Written byJimmyH December 16, 2009
What other families should know
Too much swearing
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, younger audiences will not understand this movie. Anyways, the violence is all sports related, football pile on's. The last pile on results in a severe injury. There is quite a bit of profanity (sh-t, ass, damn, hell, piss and 1 use of f--k). There is also teenage drinking. But other than that, teens will surely love this movie!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
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's shower scene, they make jokes about the sizes of their you-know-whats, and you briefly see football players in their jockstraps. A very sweet, funny, and great movie!!! Highly recommended!!!
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Too much swearing


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