Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Rush Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Racing biopic has complex characters, lots of iffy behavior.
  • R
  • 2013
  • 123 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 13 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages
Two race-car drivers discover that rivalry increases their drive for competition -- not necessarily the healthiest lesson, as it leads to destructive behavior. On the surface, this is also a movie about fame and success and how, if they're allowed to run rampant, they can destroy relationships. Success is shown as a big trophy, some champagne, and lots of parties, as well as the realization that it's fleeting.
Positive Role Models & Representations
The two main characters are real-life champion race-car drivers, and they come with a certain amount of hero worship. Their athletic skills are impeccable, and they have an intense drive to succeed, but their behavior is often destructive and disrespectful. But it's shown that the men's relationship is, on a deeper level, complicated and respectful.
The most intense sequence takes place when Niki Lauda suffers a fiery crash and burns in his car for almost a minute. In the hospital, he's shown burned and scarred and later with fresh skin grafts on his face. There's also a horrible procedure in which a tube is shoved down his throat to suck black gunk out of his lungs. Several other crash sequences are shown, with blood and broken bones.
The main character, James Hunt, has sex with many, many women over the course of the movie. Some sex scenes are shown, and others are implied. He's shown kissing women and in bed with them. Some female toplessness is shown. Niki stays with one woman throughout, and she's also shown topless.
Language is very strong, including fairly frequent uses of "f--k," "s--t," "c--t," "bulls--t," "balls," "prick," "a--hole," "ass," "hell," "crap," "Christ" (as an exclamation), and "turd." A middle finger gesture is used.
Racing is all about sponsors, and many corporate logos are (realistically) on display throughout, including Marlboro cigarettes, Goodyear tires, Coca-Cola, Levis, Shell, and STP. One character drives for Ferrari. There's an early speech about trying not to use sponsors, but eventually this idea goes by the wayside.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The main character is always sober before a race, but afterward, he drinks a great deal (champagne, various kinds of hard liquor), sometimes to drunkenness. He also smokes cigarettes frequently, and he and other characters smoke pot. One character smokes a cigar.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Rush is a biopic from director Ron Howard about two 1970s Grand Prix champions, James Hunt and Niki Lauda. It depicts their athletic skill and determination, but it's also about their dark sides: their excesses, dirty tricks, and personal failures. In other words, they aren't anywhere near the squeaky-clean role models parents might be hoping for. The movie includes several car crashes, with blood and bones shown, and a very intense sequence in which one character is badly burned. Language is very strong, with uses of "f--k," "a--hole," and "c--t." Hunt sleeps with many women, and some female toplessness is shown (Lauda's girlfriend is also shown topless.) Hunt is also shown drinking to excess, smoking cigarettes, and briefly smoking pot. Finally, it's no secret that racing is all about merchandizing, and many brand names are shown throughout, including Coca-Cola and Marlboro cigarettes.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11 and 12-year-old Written bysampsonite July 14, 2020

That Common Sense couldn't find any positive messages in these two characters makes me wonder...

(Review contains some plot spoilers)

Yes, this is not for kids. There is sex, violence and swearing. But only the first has (arguably) moments of gratuity in i... Continue reading
Adult Written byslasher23 August 16, 2014

not iffy 17 lol CSM rating

Some violent scenes with graphic emergency scene a language a sexual content with some nudity a some drug
Kid, 10 years old September 23, 2013


Excellent, it really was. The race scenes were stunning and it was hugely entertaining and very well made. It does definitely deserve a couple of Oscar nominati... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bySean Broucek September 20, 2013

Howard's masterpiece is great, but totally meant for mature audiences.

Parents, this intense and thought-provoking racing drama from Ron Howard may be on your teen's radar, but the graphic images and sexual content makes it on... Continue reading

What's the story?

In the early 1970s, James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) rises through the ranks of professional car racing, exhibiting a unique daring and charisma on the track. Meanwhile, the decidedly uncharismatic Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) splits with his respectable family and uses money and influence to buy himself into the racing game. Hunt and Lauda immediately become rivals -- a rivalry that helps spur them to new heights of greatness. But before long, Lauda's conservatism and Hunt's recklessness start to add up. Hunt's wife (Olivia Wilde) leaves him, while Lauda's relationship with Gemma (Natalie Dormer) becomes stronger. But when Lauda suffers a terrible accident, Hunt has only a short amount of time to make up enough points to become champion.

Is it any good?

Working with the great screenwriter Peter Morgan, with RUSH, director Ron Howard creates his best and grittiest movie since the duo's Frost/Nixon (2008), or even Apollo 13 (1995). Perhaps Howard was inspired by his earliest days as a filmmaker, working for B-movie maven Roger Corman and making another car-centric movie, Grand Theft Auto (1977). In any case, Howard seems recharged, delving into complex, multi-dimensional characters. 
It would be easy to peg the handsome, chiseled Hemsworth as the hero of any movie. But here he's just as flawed as the would-be villain, played by Bruhl with a great deal of intelligence and sympathy. As with any biopic, the supporting players tend to take a back seat to the leads. But the good news is that the characters are interesting enough to overcome Howard's over-excited attempts to supercharge the racing sequences. Rattling footage from between the wheel wells and the road doesn't exactly capture the feel of a race, but many other moments do the trick.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether Hunt and Lauda are role models. They're Grand Prix champions, but they're also complex people with weaknesses and dark sides. Does this make them bad people?
  • Could Rush have been made without the violent crashes and their bloody aftermath? Is this what people really watching racing to see? Why or why not?
  • Why does Hunt turn to sex, alcohol, and smoking when he's feeling victorious? Does the movie glamorize these things? Are there any realistic consequences?
  • What's the difference between "likable" Hollywood characters and the characters shown in this movie?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sports and cars

Themes & Topics

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