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Point Break (1991)
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Point Break (remade in 2015) is an entertaining 1990s action movie that's too graphically violent and profane to be appropriate for kids. There are multiple violent and bloody shoot-outs, tons of profanity (especially "f--") throughout, a few scenes of implied intercourse, and a brief scene of nudity featuring a topless woman. The action is intense and well shot, and the story is an interesting one about surfing and criminal minds, with some interesting questions raised about ethics when trying to enforce the law and the power of friendship. But the intense violence, profanity, and gray area of right and wrong make it best for very late teens or adults.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) is on the case tracking a group of violent bank robbers when he's led to a thrill-seeking bunch of surfers led by Bodhi (Patrick Swayze), who may or may not fit the bill. The friendships he forms leave him enamored of surfing but confused about how to do his job due to the strange newfound respect he has for the criminals he's tracking and their adventure-seeking lifestyle.
Is it any good?
This is a high-action, intense, outrageous film that manages to blend a lot of action movies into one. There are gorgeous surfing shots, intense bank-robbery scenes, violent shoot-outs, turf wars, and unlikely friendships that offer buddy-picture tropes on both sides of the law. It's Keanu Reeves at his best, playing the unassuming smart guy who comes off as dumb and likable enough to infiltrate a group of surfers who teach him about the real meaning of thrills and adventure with a dose of cheesy California spirituality.
Older teens already inured to violent films may find this retro-amusing, and there are some interesting questions about doing the right thing when the criminal you're tracking becomes not only a source of admiration and respect but also a friend. Though the acting and pace are satisfying for a big blockbuster night, it's way too over the top in terms of violence, profanity, and general lawlessness to be a good fit for kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about surfing movies. What makes them so fascinating? Does this seem like an accurate portrayal of surfing culture? Why, or why not?
Was Agent Utah's decision at the film's end the right one? Why did he make that choice?
Why are such graphically violent movies so popular? What do they say about our culture?
Have you seen the remake of this movie? How does it compare?
- In theaters: December 14, 1991
- On DVD or streaming: February 1, 2005
- Cast: Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze, Lori Petty
- Director: Kathryn Bigelow
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship
- Run time: 122 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: Rated R for violence, language and brief nudity
Themes & Topics
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.