Pulp Fiction

 
Tarantino's masterpiece. Entertaining, yet violent.
  • Review Date: January 26, 2006
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1994
  • Running Time: 154 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The film's extreme violence and drug use without legal consequences supercedes any of its socially redeemable qualities.

Violence

Rape, drug overdose, car accidents, shootings, killings, vast amounts of blood, and so much more.

Sex

Includes characters discussing oral sex, plus depictions of sadomasochism.

Language

Holds the record for most use of the "F" words in any film (271 times). Plenty of racial slurs, too.

Consumerism

References to Burger King. Mock brand fast food products.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Heroin use plays a major role in the film. A character smokes pot using a bong.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film glorifies violence, drug use, and sexual themes. Gunplay, robbery, swearing, drug use, drug dealing, lying, cheating, violence, male rape, sadomasochism, and driving under the influence. A character is shot in the face and it's played for jokes. In one extremely graphic scene (one that supposedly incited seizures in some epileptic audience members), a character plunges a syringe into a woman's chest to save her from experiencing a heroin overdose. The director seems to mock product placement by featuring original brands created for the film.

What's the story?

PULP FICTION combines four storylines, revealing them in a non-linear fashion, using an immense all-star cast of characters connected in seemingly random ways. They include professional hit men Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) and Vince (Travolta), their powerful drug-dealing boss Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames), Wallace's wife, Mia (Uma Thurman), aging boxer Butch (Bruce Willis), and a host of others. Each character encounters each other throughout the film, resulting in a chain of events that changes the course of their lives.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Due mostly in part to its groundbreaking direction, cinematography, screenwriting, soundtrack, and extraordinary performances (particularly by Thurman, Travolta, and Jackson), Pulp Fiction had an immeasurable impact on both mainstream and independent filmmaking in the 90s. Despite the film's innovation and success, however, the extreme violence and sexual content featured in the film makes it wholly inappropriate for kids and all but the most mature teens.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the film's popularity, despite its majorly mature content. What role did sex, violence, drug use, and language play in this film's success? Did you find anything here offensive -- or does the humorous tone somehow soften the content?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 14, 1994
DVD release date:May 19, 1998
Cast:Bruce Willis, John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman
Director:Quentin Tarantino
Studio:Buena Vista
Genre:Drama
Run time:154 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong graphic violence and drug use, pervasive strong language and some sexuality.

This review of Pulp Fiction was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

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

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 15 years old Written bymoviefreak918 July 5, 2010
age 14+
 

Violence is overexagerated, everything else CS says is accurate

Don't let common sense fool you, the violence isn't that bad. While there is much shooting and killing, there are few scenes with lots of blood. When they appear though, they are pretty bloody. The drug use is very prevalent, and while there are no legal consequences, one character nearly dies of a heroin overdose. As for sex, there is one homosexual rape scene. You hear grunts and yells for a bit, and then you see the victim bent over on a chair with the rapist thrusting behind him. No genitals are shown, but it is still pretty graphic. Also, a character apprears in a full body sadomasochistic suit
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 10 and 13 year old Written bySuperParent August 29, 2009
age 10+
 

Perfect for kids 10 and up

I love it, because it's funny and it entertains all of us, but the could have cut down on the violence and swearing
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Great messages
Parent of a 13 year old Written byZachary Sohrab November 5, 2009
age 17+
 

NOT FOR KIDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This movie almost got an NC-17 for it's violence and language, which concerns me most. The sex really to me is not an issue, but still it's not for kids okay.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass