Rain Man

  • Review Date: July 27, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1988
  • Running Time: 134 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Story about autistic savant isn't for kids.
  • Review Date: July 27, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1988
  • Running Time: 134 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Good message, though young viewers might get the wrong message about mental health.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

We hear sex, we see simulated sex, we get a very brief glimpse of a breast.

Language

A fair amount of swearing, nothing excessive.

Consumerism

Qantas Airlines, People's Court, Jeopardy!, Wheel Of Fortune, Buick, Hanes, and K-Mart, are mentioned and frequently repeated by Raymond.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Plenty of smoking, a little drinking, no drug use.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie contains some strong language and a few intense scenes in which Raymond, an autistic character, becomes distressed. There's a scene where sex is insinuated (moaning and movement under the sheets) and a brief glimpse of a breast. Prostitution is alluded to. This movie deals with mental health issues, though it requires little understanding of these issues on the part of the young viewer; characters possess the same ignorance and biases a child is likely to have.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

When yuppie misanthrope Charlie Babbit's father dies, he leaves most of his fortune to his autistic, institutionalized son Raymond, the brother Charlie never knew he had. Charlie (Tom Cruise) kidnaps Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) from a mental institution, and they travel across the country in search of a new home and a new intimacy. Exquisitely photographed by John Seale, the first half of the film is an austere road movie, with the American West as a backdrop and Cruise and Hoffman playing off one another like old pros. Things become more complex when Charlie realizes that long-forgotten events from his childhood are locked inside Raymond's photographic memory.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

RAIN MAN is a quiet, understated gem of a film, one that richly rewards the patient viewer with an unforgettable emotional experience. Many films that depict those with mental or physical disabilities exploit the character's handicap for quick-fix audience sympathy. Rain Man never indulges in this. Despite it being responsible for autism becoming part of the common vernacular, the film does not dwell on the affliction's parlor-trick-like aspects.

Instead, we follow the ups and downs of Raymond's relationship with Charlie and with the world at large. Each success is followed by a setback, until we begin to question how we define "success." Charlie longs for Raymond to change, but gradually, subtly, changes the terms with which he loves him. The film refuses to take the easy way out by demonizing institutions of mental health. In the end, we are left to wonder what is best for Raymond, and whether or not Charlie is any less emotionally isolated than his brother.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about issues surrounding mental health. Should we expect people who have trouble communicating with others to adjust, or accept mental health patients as they are? Are mental health patients sick, in need of a cure? Are the doctors at the mental hospital as compassionate and well meaning as Charlie?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 16, 1988
DVD release date:February 3, 2004
Cast:Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino
Director:Barry Levinson
Studio:MGM/UA
Genre:Drama
Run time:134 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language, sex scene, brief nudity

This review of Rain Man 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.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

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.

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

Written byAnonymous December 29, 2012
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

I'm Autistic too by the way. This movie matches what's in the real world. My review for this to be seen by people who are 16+.

A Sex Scene is totally in this movie. This guy played in the role as being Autistic. ...and the guy said who is playing saying he's not Autistic. I'm Autistic Person Myself and this guy made the sex noises. so did I. The guy banging his hands to the head. Some people with this are smart too. ...and talk too. They kiss and he says the word. Wet. Yes I know they are wet because he said it. I was born with autism. so this movie helps with people who have the same thing. Just don't let the kids see it.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written bychristian-movie... February 10, 2010
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

Great, heart-warming movie. Beware of language. Sexual content should not be an issue.

I loved this movie. It is so heart-warming. It is about an autistic man and his brother who takes care of him and finds the true meaning of brotherly love. No violence what-so-ever. The language although is pretty bad. Several uses of f*ck and its variations. G**d*mn is also used several times. Many other uses of other milder profanities. One highly sexual situation. You hear moaning and other noises. You then see sexual movement under a blanket. A woman is in a bathtub and gets out although you do not see any nudity. She is then wearing pants and an unbuttoned shirt with no bra on. You may be able to see glimpses of her breasts. Although the glimpses are so short time-spanned that you could blink to miss it.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages
Teen, 13 years old Written byBestPicture1996 April 17, 2009
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

If Cruise didn't swear so much, this'd be PG-13

Very good movie and deserved Best Picture in '88. Dustin Hoffman's performance was incredibly well done as well.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written byBlue_Spiderberry May 9, 2009
AGE
14
QUALITY
 
What other families should know
Too much sex

Poll

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

Essential School Tools