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Man on a Ledge

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Man on a Ledge Movie Poster Image
Taut heist thriller is better than lame title suggests.
  • PG-13
  • 2012
  • 102 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 13 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The movie's plot supports the idea of the truth ultimately being what matters most, triumphing over corruption.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Main characters don't always do the right thing, but their hearts are often in the right place. For instance, Nick's brother is willing to commit a serious crime to prove that his sibling is innocent. Also, a police officer slowly begins to believe that a convicted criminal may be telling the truth when he claims that he was framed by other cops.


The film revolves around a man who seems poised to jump to his death from a tall building, as a crowd on the street eggs him on. There are also several fistfights and a few shootouts that leave people mortally injured. A car is destroyed in an intense collision with a train.


A couple banters playfully about their sex life, and the woman strips to her underwear.


Relatively frequent use of words including "s--t," "ass," "bitch," "d--k," "hell," "crap," "goddamn," and "damn," plus one use of "f--k." A character insults a man in Spanish.


A Jeep plays an important role in an early scene that prominently features the vehicle's logo. Most of the movie is set at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York, which is mentioned by name several times.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One character wakes up, groggy, with several empty liquor bottles by her bed; others discuss her carousing habits. She later shares a cigarette with the man on the ledge. The bartender at a busy bar offers a round to everyone on the house, a celebratory gesture that's cheered by the boisterous crowd.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the main character in Man on a Ledge spends much of the film perched on a ledge atop a tall building, only one step away from falling to his death. There are references to suicide, several fistfights and shootouts (which cause mortal injuries), and some swearing (including "f--k" and "s--t"), as well as two characters who attempt to pull off an elaborate heist. Expect a few scenes featuring people drinking and smoking cigarettes, and one gratuitous sequence in which a woman strips to her underwear.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bynew man February 7, 2012

half and half

well i saw 2 movies this weekend joyful noise and this and noise was the better movie this movie was rather slow and took to long to get where it was going but... Continue reading
Adult Written byjoshua martinez May 29, 2012

14 and up.

this thriller movie man on the ledge is a great thriller movie about a man who's willing to give up his own life for a crime that he did it commit and pare... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byrandomtiger23 February 7, 2012


this is a good movie but it has some "activity" and it uses some mild language but it was really good
Teen, 15 years old Written byMr Blonde January 28, 2014

What's the story?

Former NYPD cop Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) manages to break out of prison, where he's doing 25 years for a jewel theft he claims he didn't commit. Intent on proving his innocence, Nick comes up with an elaborate scheme that requires him to spend most of the movie out on the ledge of a tall building, threatening to jump to his death, while an accomplice tries to pull off an elaborate heist. His plan just might work ... if he can convince police negotiator Lydia (Elizabeth Banks) -- who's tasked with trying to talk him down -- to believe his story.

Is it any good?

Don't be surprised if you walk out of this movie feeling fairly well entertained. With carefully paced scenes building up to a bracing (if not surprising) climax and decent performances, MAN ON A LEDGE is built to be a crowd pleaser. And it is, assuming said crowd is generous enough to ignore a few nagging complaints, from the sometimes clunky, often expository dialogue to the fairly cliched plot elements (corrupt insiders, would-be allies with murky pasts, etc.).

Add that to a few jarring tonal shifts (pseudo-flirty banter in the middle of a heist just doesn't fit) and some quirky casting, which wastes Ed Burns in a useless role (no offense to Banks, but Burns could've stepped into her place without hurting anything) and minimizes both Kyra Sedgwick and Ed Harris. Still, all of that said and taken with a pinch of salt (and a pardon for the over-obvious title), Man on a Ledge is a diverting-enough thriller.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Man on a Ledge's premise. How do you feel about the suicide set-up? How does the impact of the violence compare to what you've seen in other thrillers and action movies?

  • What do you think about the way people on the street react to seeing Nick standing on the ledge? Why do they encourage him to jump? What do you think about the way the media reported the incident?

  • Was Nick's plan the only way to prove his innocence? Does it make sense to commit a crime to clear someone of another crime?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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