Arnold vs. alien action is violent, ultra macho.
  • Review Date: December 17, 2007
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 1987
  • Running Time: 107 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Dutch says that he and his men are rescuers, not assassins, and he never seems to kill an "innocent" person. But it's hard to tell the difference with his weapons-happy (albeit diverse) team of bruisers. A U.S. Army commander turns out to be dishonest. The men are stereotypically hyper-macho characters right out of Soldier of Fortune; the only female character (a communist guerilla survivor) isn't given much to do.


High-powered artillery slaughter. People are riddled with big bullets from big guns, knifed, set on fire with grenades, and so on. Mayhem, pummeling, and stabbing is inflicted on the vicious alien as well. People are shot in the head or blasted through by alien beams. The Predator dismembers people (at a distance) and leaves hideously skinned human corpses.


Double-entendre dirty jokes and sex talk.


Language includes "f--k," "bastard," "son of a bitch," "damn," and "bulls--t." One African-American character calls another the "N" word, and not in a remotely friendly fashion. Some swearing in Spanish.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Recreational drinking, smoking, tobacco-chewing, references to drugs.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this macho sci-fi action adventure has lots of bloody violence -- not to mention artillery and gun fetishism (although, in the end, it's the low-tech death traps that prove most effective...). The villain is a laser-wielding alien that cuts down many of the heavily armed heroes, leaving hideously skinned corpses in its wake. Lots of strong language; some drinking, smoking, and drug references. The lone female character doesn't get much to do compared to star Arnold Schwarzenegger and his fellow male soldiers.

What's the story?

Set in the jungles of Latin America, PREDATOR follows a team of super-commandos on a U.S. military rescue mission to liberate hostages taken by leftist guerillas. Only after eliminating the guerilla headquarters do the swaggering heroes, led by Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) find out that their target was really a Soviet spy-invasion camp that the Pentagon wanted destroyed after an earlier Green Beret squad went missing. Meanwhile, an alien spaceship lands nearby and its deadly occupant observes the bloodshed. The creature is a tall, vicious extraterrestrial, and it was what killed the Green Berets. Now it's after the commandos, leaving Dutch to figure out how to overcome its invisibility and superior death-ray firepower. In the process, he runs out of guns and regresses to basic hand-made booby-traps and snares.

Is it any good?


Cited by those who keep track of such things as one of the ultimate "guy movies," Predator is a violent, militaristic, hyper-macho spectacle of biceps, bombs, and guns, with plenty of catchphrases tossed out by bigger-than-life actors (for example, Jesse Ventura's oft-quoted line "I ain't got time to bleed!"). If you can appreciate its cartoonish aspects -- for example, the fact that the cast members, despite having been savagely slaughtered, reappear for the end credits to take a bow and smile -- you'll likely be entertained.

Predator definitely is more fun than its 1990 sequel, Predator 2, in which the alien went hunting gangstas and FBI agents in a stereotypically hyper-violent Los Angeles, with Danny Glover grievously miscast in the Arnold role as a one-man-army cop. After that, the creature mainly appeared in video games and crossover comic books (even Batman fought the Predator!) until Alien Vs. Predator came along and filled in some of the questions about the Predator's eons-old interaction with the human race.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of scary movies. Why is it fun to watch something that puts you on the edge of your seat? How do the scares in a movie like this compare to those in a typical slasher movie? Which do you find scarier? Why? Families can also discuss how the time period in which a movie is made affects it (beyond the quality of the special effects, that is). What political and historical events does the movie reference? If you don't know, how could you find out?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 27, 1987
DVD release date:December 26, 2000
Cast:Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Duke, Carl Weathers
Director:John McTiernan
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Genre:Science Fiction
Run time:107 minutes
MPAA rating:R

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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.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 9 years old January 7, 2010
A bunch of ADVENTURE!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 14 years old Written byskinner2 May 2, 2010
My favorite movie of all time.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written bywilkier July 11, 2015

Laughably bad.....

Predator is a fairly violent film (burst ribcages, skinned corpses...) but the violence is hardly realistic and will make most teens laugh at how terrible it is. The worst thing is probably the language and vulgarity (fuck in almost every scene and a guy who keeps making jokes about his girlfriends pussy. Overall if your teen has scene any alien films this is barely as bad.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing


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