Father and child sit together smiling while looking at a smart phone.

Want more recommendations for your family?

Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration

Parents' Guide to

Richard Jewell

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Effective true story about heroism and human nature.

Movie R 2019 129 minutes
Richard Jewell Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 8+

Amazing Story of Good, Evil and how power corrupts

Another amazing Clint Eastwood film, great performances, and it will leave you disgusted at what the FBI and DOJ did to Richard Jewell and his family.

This title has:

Great messages
age 14+

Good true story that needed to be told.

This movie may or may not interest a lot of teens. It occurred the summer I got married, and I remember all of it. However, for teens, this is a historical movie that occurred almost a decade before they were born. The movie shows a very real depiction of an overly enthusiastic man in the world of security and law enforcement. The film walks us through critical thinking about the man's credibility, showing us the FBI's incorrect trail to Jewell and the headline-hungry media's rush to judgement all while showing the real story of Jewell and his mother managing the ordeal with help from their attorney. I think the portrayal's of Jewell and his mother are very good. Sam Rockwell does a good job as the attorney, a role that does not push the limits of his range. I thought a few times during this movie that it was too bad it did not come out while Richard Jewell was still living. Richard Jewell is portrayed as a flawed hero, and it is a chronological, personal retelling of his story. Language is nothing that every American kid 13 to 15 does not encounter regularly in life. There is no sex or nudity. The product placements are understandable considering the endearing Snickers moment between two characters, the role AT&T in 1996 Olympics sponsorship, and the realistic presence of Coke and Budweiser in Georgia in 1996. A bomb goes off. There is some brief depiction of injured people, some of whom are bloodied. Jewell turns out to be a decent, imperfect/human role model. Cute Beagle in the Jewell household. Good pacing. Entertaining. A little history lesson for people in their 20s or younger. Good movie.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (4 ):

Director Clint Eastwood is a master of deceptively simple, sturdy filmmaking, and this fact-based drama is no exception, though the performances are the real key to its success. Bearing a strong similarity to Eastwood's excellent Sully (2016), Richard Jewell is also about a heroic act that's tainted by accusation and blame. While Sully was beautifully streamlined and could rely on Tom Hanks' effortless charisma, this movie is a little rougher around the edges. Hauser isn't quite as immediately appealing, but his fine performance sells Jewell's unflagging hope and goodness.

Moreover, casting the cool, charming misfit Rockwell not only as Richard's lawyer but also as his friend helps shine a positive light on the hero. Eastwood also gives space to the movie's antagonists (played by Hamm and Wilde), painting them less as sneering villains out to destroy a man's life than as people who are trying to do their jobs but make a mistake. (The portrayal of Scruggs, who died in 2001, has drawn criticism from those who knew her in real life; they say the movie depicts her methods inaccurately.) A standout Bates and a lovable Nina Arianda round out the cast, and Eastwood's expert craftsmanship brings the movie effectively home. Richard Jewell is an example of clear, masterful storytelling that gets to the heart of complex questions about human nature.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: December 13, 2019
  • On DVD or streaming: March 17, 2020
  • Cast: Paul Walter Hauser , Sam Rockwell , Kathy Bates
  • Director: Clint Eastwood
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors
  • Studio: Warner Bros.
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 129 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: language including some sexual references, and brief bloody images
  • Last updated: June 8, 2023

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

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.

See how we rate