Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Millennium Movie Poster Image
Awful dialogue, cheesy special effects mar '80s sci-fi movie
  • PG-13
  • 1989
  • 108 minutes

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

Positive Messages

No real positive messages in this movie. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

No positive role models emerge in this movie. 


Plane crash with explosions -- cheesy special effects and no realistic-looking peril. Sci-fi violence: People knocked out by "stunners," wands that characters from the distant future use by applying to the necks of those they wish to render unconscious. A character from the present accidentally kills himself when he tries to use one of these "stunners." A woman from the future who isn't a very good driver drives at top speed through the streets of downtown Minneapolis, putting her passenger as well as other drivers in danger. 


Man and woman in bed, woman on top of man, in the act of lovemaking, no nudity, kissing and discussion of sex after. 


Occasional profanity throughout: "goddamn," "for Christ's sake," "asses," "dammit," "bastards." 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One of the lead characters is a chainsmoker. Alcohol drinking in bar; a woman from the future unfamiliar with drinking consumes her cocktails quickly and in rapid succession. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Millennium is a 1989 science fiction movie in which Kris Kristofferson plays a government investigator who discovers the real reason behind the mysteries surrounding a recent plane crash. Overall, this movie is best for science fiction enthusiasts who are able to enjoy the underlying concept and overlook the cheesy special effects, hokey dialogue, and meandering storyline. In terms of content, one of the lead characters chainsmokes cigarettes. Sex is strongly implied in one scene in which a woman is on top of a man in a hotel bed; the experience is later mentioned and discussed. The violence isn't graphic, and even the scene of the plane crash is offset by the shoddy production values. Occasional mild profanity, including "for Christ's sake," "asses," "dammit," and "bastards." Most kids will be thrown off by the bad costumes, the "Flock of Seagulls" "futuristic" hairstyles, and the amateurish feel in general. 

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What's the story?

In MILLENNIUM, Bill Smith (Kris Kristofferson) is an NTSB investigator sent to look into the cause of a mysterious airplane crash. As he and his assembled team attempt to make sense of the black box recording and some strange anomalies such as digital watches ticking backwards, he meets a strange, mysterious yet beautiful woman named Louise (Cheryl Ladd), a flight attendant who seems to disappear from Smith's hotel room after they spend the night together. Meanwhile, a brilliant theoretical physicist named Dr. Arnold Mayer (Daniel J. Travanti) takes an interest in the plane crash, and postulates that the abnormalities in the crash are due to time travel. Mayer is on the right track -- Louise is revealed to be from one thousand years into the future, a bleak future in which mankind dangles over the precipice of extinction, and it's up to her, with perhaps the assistance of Smith and Mayer, to save humankind. 

Is it any good?

While the concept itself is an interesting one, the movie falls short due to awful dialogue, a muddled storyline, bad special effects, and dated haircuts that are supposed to be from the future. The amateurish production gets lost in trying to explain the relationships of the characters, the theoretical ideas and ramifications of time travel, and the underlying meaning behind it all. The characters from "the future" simply look tacky, and while it's possible to overlook bad costumes and special effects in, say, Twilight Zone episodes of the early 1960s, nothing about this movie stimulates the imagination enough to suspend any potential cynicism about the overall dated shoddiness of this movie.

Indeed, what was not a very good movie to begin with has not aged well since its release. But the bottom line is that Millennium tries to be a mystery, a romance, and sci-fi all at once, and fails at all three. The end result is a disaster in and of itself, unable to rise above the general incompetence in which the movie was made. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Millennium was adapted from a novel. What would be the challenges in turning a novel into a movie? 

  • What similarities and differences do you see between this and other science fiction movies? 

  • Some science fiction movies rely heavily on expensive special effects to heighten the outlandish aspects to the movie, whereas others require that the audience focus more on the story and use their imagination. Where does this movie fall? Are high-quality special effects necessary for a science fiction movie? 

Movie details

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For kids who love sci-fi and fantasy

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