Mission to Mars



So-so sci-fi with some very intense scenes.
  • Review Date: May 5, 2003
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 114 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Profound themes on humanity's relationship to the universe. 

Positive role models

Though the characters generally display the typical attributes of a "flyboy" astronaut or air force heroes commonly seen in action movies, they also display values of sacrifice and dedication to their crew and perhaps humanity as a whole. 


Characters in peril, some killed. An astronaut is blown to pieces from a violent sandstorm. Weightless blood from a head injury in a spaceship. Suicide.


Kissing, mild sexual insinuations. 


Occasional profanity: "son of a bitch," "damn," "goddammit," "ass." 


M&M's and Dr Pepper products prominently shown in two important scenes. The Martian rover the astronauts use has the Kawasaki logo clearly featured in big letters on its side. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Social drinking. Beer. Wine. Cigar smoking. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Mission to Mars is a 2000 Brian DePalma-directed sci-fi movie about a team of astronauts in the year 2020 who land on Mars and make a profound discovery. Characters are in peril and there are a number of tense moments and several deaths. One of the astronauts is blown into pieces by a violent sandstorm. A later death scene in space (a character commits suicide to save the lives of others), might be too emotionally intense for some viewers. There is also some consumerism: M&M's, Dr. Pepper, and Kawasaki products are prominently displayed in important scenes. Profanity includes "son of a bitch," "damn," "goddamnit," "ass." 

Kids say

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What's the story?

MISSION TO MARS takes place in 2020. Don Cheadle plays an astronaut who leads a team to Mars to investigate the possibility of colonization. When a huge tunnel-like dust storm kills the rest of the team, and communication with the space station is cut off, four of his colleagues, played by Tim Robbins, Jerry O'Connell, Gary Sinese, and Connie Nielson, go on a rescue mission.

Is it any good?


Director Brian DePalma is known for movies that have two qualities: striking visual flair and frustrating narrative incoherence. If you are the kind of person who talks about the plot after seeing a movie, this is not your kind of movie. But if you would enjoy seeing an old-time Flash Gordon-style movie with 21st-century special effects and computer graphics, you just might want to see it twice.

The movie makes Close Encounters of the Third Kind seem like rocket science. It even makes The Day the Earth Stood Still look like rocket science. But the pictures are pretty.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the choices made by the characters, including one who commits suicide to save the lives of others, and about the prospects of space exploration and colonization.

  • Science-fiction movies and novels have long been fascinated with the planet Mars. What are some other examples of movies and books set on Mars? Why do you think Mars arouses such curiosity and speculation? 

  • What similarities do you see between this film and other science-fiction movies, most notably 2001?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 10, 2000
DVD release date:June 4, 2002
Cast:Don Cheadle, Gary Sinise, Tim Robbins
Director:Brian De Palma
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Topics:Adventures, Robots, Space and aliens
Run time:114 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:sci-fi violence and mild language

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  • 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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Parent Written byPlague April 15, 2010

Mission to Mars

Great movie that your kids will love. As mentioned by Spud, there are 2 scenes that could be disturbing for younger audiences. Other than that, its a film thats definitely worth the watch.
What other families should know
Great role models
Adult Written bySpud April 9, 2008
I’m pretty surprised they rated this PG. The language was pretty excessive (even for a PG-13), including the “G” word. Two scenes get pretty disturbing. One person literally flies apart in a wind funnel, and another scene shows a frontal view of a person’s face frozen solid. Definitely no less then PG-13 content.


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