Need for Speed

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Need for Speed Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Fast-paced stunts, dangerous driving will thrill teens.
  • PG-13
  • 2014
  • 130 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 24 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The main thrust of the story is revenge, and the main characters destroy countless amounts of property with no consequences.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Aside from wreaking untold destruction and going out for revenge, the main character is a good team player, and has a sense of right and wrong. In two cases, he stops during a race to check on fellow racers after crashes, even though he risks his lead. (The bad guy does not show this same tendency.) Some female characters are treated as sex objects in skimpy outfits.


The movie includes many car chases and crashes, and filmed without the aid of CG effects, the impact of these stunt sequences is quite strong. Characters die in car crashes. We see some guns and shooting, and some punching, but only a little blood is shown (mostly injuries after crashes).


A male character quits his office job by stripping down to nothing. It's a long sequence as he walks through the building and outside, interacting with his friends, though only his naked bottom is shown. The main character and the lead female character share an almost-kiss.


Language is not very frequent but does include "s--t," "bitch," "ass," and "douchebag."



A female character mentions her prized "Gucci boots." The brand names of cars are mentioned, such as "Ford Mustang."


Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters occasionally drink in restaurants or in a background way.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Need for Speed is an action movie, based on a video game, and centers around car racing (and car crashing). Teens will be attracted to the movie thanks to its star Aaron Paul in his first lead role after the hit TV series Breaking Bad. Expect plenty of car chases, stunts, and crashes, and characters die, though only a little blood is shown. Infrequent language includes a few uses of "s--t" and "bitch." In some scenes, women are shown as sexual objects, a man strips naked (only his bottom is shown), and the main character and the leading lady fall in love and nearly kiss. Parents of driving-age teens should be aware that the very fast stunt driving in the movie was done by both stuntmen and actors after intensive training, and they might want to remind them that this kind of driving in real life is extremely dangerous.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11-year-old Written byjhyem August 14, 2014

Need for speed

This movie has a couple of good messages like if you do something wrong there will be retaliations. There are some good role models like Toby he is very persist... Continue reading
Adult Written byMarvelDAD May 10, 2021
Teen, 14 years old Written bypinkman May 12, 2014
I only went to see this movie because Aaron Paul is in it, however I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. The race scenes were exciting and the stunts were i... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bymovielover7271 March 15, 2014

This. Was. Awesome.

Need for speed is an ultimate film experience for Tweens and teens, it's amazing. It stars Aaron Paul as a street racer bent on revenge after the death of... Continue reading

What's the story?

Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) could have been a champion racer, but instead he remained behind in his small community of Mt. Kisco, working on cars with his faithful crew. An old rival, the successful Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper), returns to town with a lucrative offer to restore a classic Ford Mustang. An argument over the sale of the car leads to a race between the enemies, followed by an accident that lands the innocent Tobey in jail. Two years later, he plots to enter the dangerous "De Leon" race, run by the mysterious Monarch (Michael Keaton), but to do so, he must make a speedy cross-country run to San Francisco, with the daughter of the car's owner, Julia (Imogen Poots), in tow. Can Tobey beat Dino and restore his good name?

Is it any good?

Former stunt man Scott Waugh pays respectful homage to the classic action/car chase movies of the 1960s and 1970s by choosing to use all live stunts, with no computer-generated effects. He also casts an actual actor (Aaron Paul), rather than an action hero, to play the lead, resulting in more meaningful, human moments. So, even though the movie is a fairly routine popcorn entertainment with typical twists, romances, heroes and villains, it feels old-fashioned, organic, and exciting. It's based on a video game, but you'd never know it.

The stunts, especially one involving an Apache helicopter rescuing the escaping Mustang from the edge of a cliff, is tremendous, with far more powerful impact than CG effects could accomplish. It helps that Paul and his co-star, English actor Imogen Poots, are so good and sympathetic together, showing fear and doubt as well as exhilaration. And even though it runs past two hours, the movie is briskly paced; it's a terrific ride.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence and car racing. What would be the cost of all this violence and wild driving in real life? Does the movie reflect the true consequences of the way the characters drive their cars?

  • Could you tell that the movie is shot without computer-generated effects and used all real stunts? What is the difference?

  • What positive qualities does the main character have? Is he a good role model? What would make him a better role model?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love cars and action

Themes & Topics

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