Natural Born Killers

  • Review Date: October 26, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1994
  • Running Time: 118 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Bloody, violent, sexually explicit. Mature teens+.
  • Review Date: October 26, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1994
  • Running Time: 118 minutes

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The point of the movie may be to criticize the media for glorifying violence, but it does this through more and more over-the-top violence, clouding the message for many viewers, especially younger viewers.

Positive role models

Main characters are serial killers and are meant to be as bad as humans get.

Violence

Constant and vivid depictions of graphic murders, torture.

Sex

A father makes unwanted sexual advances towards his daughter. A man performs oral sex on a woman while on a car hood.

Language

Constant swearing.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Use of and scenes depicting the effects of many drugs.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is an aggressive film that features a serial killer couple who kills indiscriminately. Violence is used liberally throughout the film in the form of graphic murder, beatings, and torture -- mostly perpetrated by the couple on their unsuspecting victims. Sex is shown and discussed, and is hardly ever in a loving form. A scene features a father making unwanted sexual advances toward his daughter. Another features a murder that begins with a man performing oral sex on a woman while on a car hood. Language is unrestrained and used quite violently intoned. Parents should note that an unrated director's cut is available on DVD with even more graphic violence and sexual situations added to the originally released version.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

NATURAL BORN KILLERS tracks the rise to stardom of a serial killing couple, Mickey (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory (Juliette Lewis), as they blaze a trail of destruction across the U.S. and are eventually captured and jailed. The real stars of the film aren't Mickey and Mallory, but rather, the many aspects of the news and entertainment media that are regurgitated and lampooned throughout the film. Wayne Gale (Robert Downey, Jr.) is an overzealous TV reporter caught up in the frenzy of pursuing the couple.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

With the focus of the film being on the media reaction to Mickey and Mallory's crimes, the plot mechanics don't really demand much viewer attention. In a sense, the most important single character is Gale, whose obliviousness to the effects of his news reports on an increasingly sadistic audience acts as a model for the media machine Stone criticizes. Ultimately, this film is a satire with no soft edges or rays of hope. Those unwilling to see the film as a criticism of media violence may misinterpret it as an exaggerated celebration of the violent main characters. As such, this is a film that will only satisfy those already inclined towards negative views of the media, and only the most open-minded of those folks at that.

 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's message. The film was intended to criticize the media for glorifying violence. Is it successful? Would you have gone about it differently?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 26, 1994
DVD release date:August 25, 2008
Cast:Juliette Lewis, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson
Director:Oliver Stone
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Drama
Run time:118 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:extreme violence and graphic carnage, for shocking images, and for strong language and sexuality

This review of Natural Born Killers was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byIronman1963 November 22, 2011
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

An intense movie with a good message

First off i would like to say that Natural Born Killers is a thought provoking and intelligent movie, but it is also extremely violent. You should know whether or not your kids are going to understand the message, if the point is missed than it is a movie that glorifies violence and serial killers.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent of a 5, 9, 11, and 14 year old Written byJamesRobertson January 4, 2009
Teen, 16 years old Written byTheAnonymous March 27, 2013
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

Definetely a NO

Gives you a sense of "dafuq did I just watch?" This is one of the worst movies I've seen. Some may argue that the plot is about our society and the media, but I find this to just be mindless killing that teens will enjoy just because shooting and sex are cool to the teens today. The message that he is trying to send out about our media is way too overdone and it comes to a point where you don't see the message anymore. I also think it's too easy to get the wrong idea from the movie, and that some may interpret it as killing is cool rather than the message that Stone was trying to send out. No teen should watch this. Content: Throughout the movie, there are a lot of sexual content, mindless shootings, etc. By the end it gets crazy to a point where there are scenes where a prison guard is put into an incinerator, hanged guards throughout the prison, blood everywhere, and a man's head on a stick.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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