Of Mice and Men

Movie review by
Scott G. Mignola, Common Sense Media
Of Mice and Men Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Elegant adaptation of classic novel has mature themes.
  • PG-13
  • 1992
  • 110 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 31 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Although ultimately tragic, this movie does promote the values of loyalty and friendship.

Positive Role Models & Representations

In spite of his faults, George does his best to take care of Lenny and to keep him out of trouble. Although he's mentally challenged, Lenny is, at his core, a kind person who would do anything for his best friend, George.


Early in the film, a woman is shown running through a field wearing a torn dress and screaming; later, it is revealed that she was attacked by a confused, mentally challenged man. A woman is shown being strangled to death; her body is left in a barn on some hay. A man is shot point-blank in the back of the head and is shown falling irretrievably. During a fistfight, a large man catches the fist of the man he's fighting and crushes it until the bones break and blood spills. An old dog is taken out to be shot; the death is not seen, but the gunshot is heard. Characters are shown wielding rifles.


George talks about wanting to go to a "cathouse." He later talks about why going to a "cathouse" is a good arrangement, because you can "get it all out of your system." As she walks around and seems to flirt with the ranch hands, Curley's wife brings a palpable amount of sexual tension everywhere she goes.


Frequent mild profanity: "goddammit," "bastard," "hell," "son of a bitch." Early in the film, the "N" word is used.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters are shown smoking cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Of Mice and Men is the 1992 adaptation of the classic John Steinbeck novel. There are some violent scenes: A woman is shown yelling after being attacked and then being accidentally strangled to death; a man is shot point-blank in the back of the head; and an old dog is taken out to be shot and killed, and, although the dog's death isn't shown, the gunshot is heard. Aside from this, there is some mild profanity throughout (including one use of the "N" word), and characters smoke cigarettes. Given the mature themes and content, this film is best for teens, especially those who are also reading the book.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byKen R. May 3, 2021

Of Mice And Men – And Much In-between

This review is for the 1939 version:
John Steinbeck is up there with the great scribes of any era and this story of an odd but sensitive friendship is out to... Continue reading
Adult Written byboomergage February 7, 2013

Great Book vs Great movie

This movie might make you cry. Depending on how you take this movie it can give a positive message. Don't think about what just happen you have to think a... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byPapasPizzeria October 22, 2020

I think it's a really sweet adaptation of the novel. It does have very strong language and some violence. Some of the language used is inappropriate for yo... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byMrAnonymous October 12, 2020

Great movie but probably 12A

Genre: Drama

This film is about two friends who have nothing but each other. They want to find work in California and have found it on a ranch. One of the two... Continue reading

What's the story?

In this adaptation of John Steinbeck's Depression-era classic, migrant farm workers George (Gary Sinise) and Lennie (John Malkovich) travel together, hoping that one day, when they've got enough money saved up, they'll buy a little place of their own and live off the fat of the land, and Lennie will get to tend the rabbits. Lennie likes soft things: rabbits, mice, puppies. He's a simpleton, a big powerful child, and soft things excite him. That excitement usually leads to trouble, and that trouble keeps them moving. George and Lennie flee to another in a series of ranches, where trouble is quick to present itself. First, there's the boss' son, Curley (Casey Siemaszko), a little guy who hates big guys. But then there's also Curley's wife (Sherilyn Fenn), a lonely girl looking for attention. When Lennie accidentally kills Curley's wife, the two friends' dream crumbles, and George is forced into a devastating decision.

Is it any good?

OF MICE AND MEN is a modest, sincere adaptation of John Steinbeck's Depression-era classic, a must-see for both teens and parents. Bringing John Steinbeck's heartrending short novel to the screen is a difficult task, in large part because of the often parodied character of Lennie (think of the lumbering Warner Bros. cartoon dog who called everyone George and had a special fondness for Bugs -- "I will love him and I will pet him...").

As caricature has a tendency to overshadow character, John Malkovich's performance may be a bit jarring. His Lennie isn't a comical simpleton or a mere child in a grown man's body. There are layers of complexity to him, and yearning, not only to tend the rabbits but to be good and to please his friend. It's a difficult role, and Malkovich forgoes sentiment to make it both tragic and very real. The on-screen chemistry between the stars, Sinise's surefooted directing, and a faithful-to-the-novel script by Horton Foote all are factors that contribute to Of Mice and Men's success.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether the movie was true to the book, where it differed, and why.

  • Do movies usually do justice to books? Which do you usually prefer?

  • What would be the challenges in adapting a classic novel into a movie?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dramas

Themes & Topics

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