Rushmore Movie Poster Image

Rushmore

Quirky '90s comedy has profanity, sex, underage drinking.
Parents recommend
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1998
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

It's important to apologize and to forgive. Artists should be given leeway for their personality flaws. Friendships can survive betrayal and other conflicts if people care enough. People who are not meant to be together romantically can sometimes still be friends.

Positive role models

Max is an annoying, lying, condescending, pushy, arrogant, and manipulative 15-year-old with unrealistic expectations who is also smart enough to learn quickly from his mistakes and turn himself around. His metamorphosis from self-centered go-getter to a kinder egomaniac with executive capabilities epitomizes the movie's theme: the making of an artist is a messy business. Bert is a loving and encouraging parent. Herman is a supportive friend with human foibles. Rosemary stands up for herself but with kindness and forbearance. Dirk apologizes and forgives Max.

Violence

Max's mother died of cancer when he was young, and Rosemary's young husband drowned, both before the action begins. Herman deliberately drives his car over Max's bike. Max tampers with the brakes on his friend's car, causing an accident with no injuries. Max shoots the ear of an enemy with a BB rifle, then asks him to be in a play. The description of someone getting his finger blown off during a play rehearsal is mentioned. Fake blood and fake death abound in a play depicting violent combat in Vietnam. A parent hits his teenage son sitting behind him in the back of a car. Max is punched and walks around with bloody gauze in his nostrils. Young boys throw rocks at Max in retaliation for his betrayal. The headmaster has a stroke. He is seen in the hospital recovering. Max tries to forcibly kiss Rosemary. She pushes him away, and he falls.

Sex

Posters of bare-breasted women are seen as part of a play's set design. "Hand jobs," "fingering," and "banging" are all referenced. Herman leaves Rosemary's house at 2 a.m., suggesting a sexual relationship. Max informs Herman's wife that he's having an affair, resulting in a divorce.

Language

"F--k," "s--t," "ass," and "hell."

Consumerism

Herman wears a swimsuit decorated with a Budweiser label.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adults and a 15-year-old drink alcohol. Max and adults smoke cigarettes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Rushmore is a quirky 1998 comedy that was Academy Award-nominated director Wes Anderson's second feature (this one written with Owen Wilson). A 15-year-old who is both wise beyond his years and childishly selfish and annoying tries to negotiate school and the adult world. His odd maturity sets up an unrequited romantic obsession with a young teacher at his school, underscoring the notion that people who are not meant to be together can still be friends. Loyalty, betrayal, and the self-centered struggle to become an artist are all explored. Expect to hear "f--k," "s--t," and other such language, to hear references to sex acts, and to see underage drinking and smoking. A parent hits his teenage son sitting behind him in the back of a car. Max is punched and walks around with bloody gauze in his nostrils. Young boys throw rocks at Max in retaliation for his betrayal. Max tries to forcibly kiss Rosemary. She pushes him away, and he falls.

What's the story?

Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman) is a 10th-grader on scholarship at the tony private school Rushmore Academy. Max shows his devotion to the academy by participating in every possible extracurricular activity, but he's risking expulsion unless his grades improve. Max falls for one of the teachers, a beautiful young widow (Olivia Williams). And he connects with Blume (Bill Murray), a rich academy alumnus who is drawn to Max's passions and even acts as a go-between for Max's absurd attempt at courtship, until he himself becomes attracted to the teacher. All three characters feel a sense of loss. Blume and the teacher seem stuck. Max, with his collision of adult and childish emotions, comes up with one hopeless scheme after another to get attention and respect, ignoring genuine opportunities for true friendship. Yet somehow he manages to keep working toward his dreams -- and even makes a few of them come true.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

This abstract story about the misery that comes from the grandiosity and humiliation during adolescence is probably of more interest to adults. Many teens are already only too aware of those experiences.

Rushmore is not a movie in which people learn great lessons and are drawn closer together. It's a movie in which a lot of hurt people grope toward something that even they cannot quite visualize. Its appeal is in its quirky characters and in its moments of humor and perception.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Max and Herman's rivalry. Who do you want to win? Why?

  • At the beginning of the movie, Max seems to use people to help him achieve his goals. What are some signals that he is learning to treat people differently by the end of the film?

  • Do you think artists must be selfish to create great art? Do you think the movie wants you to forgive Max as he matures into a more sympathetic person?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 11, 1998
DVD/Streaming release date:June 29, 1999
Cast:Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Olivia Williams
Director:Wes Anderson
Studio:Touchstone Pictures
Genre:Comedy
Run time:93 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong language and sexual references

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Teen, 16 years old Written byRainy Day October 21, 2010

Rushmore

"Rushmore" is a quirky, indie gem of a movie, written and directed by nice-guy director Wes Anderson. The movie centers around a nerdy high-school playwright named Max Fischer who swears, lies, and manipulates others to fulfill his various ends, but at heart he's an honest kid who's been deeply affected by his mother's death and the way the world treats him. The film has its own handmade aesthetic, treating audiences to the full dosage of Wes Anderson's trademark style. Though the movie is undoubtedly an acquired comedic taste, it has a moving undertone and plenty of inappropriate sight gags to laugh at in its scant running time. (There are numerous instances of strong language-- f-words and the like. As well, some sex acts are mentioned briefly in dialogue, though not often enough to label the picture a "sex comedy." In short, this is a coming-of-age tale that rewards audiences and stimulates discussion moments after the slow-motion credits. Go see it.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages
Adult Written bysterlingandsammy January 30, 2015

Fantastic Movie! earns its R rating through the F word

I loved this movie and I'm very happy I watched it. I felt that it was inspiring, interesting, and creative. The only reason this movie is rated R is because of the F word. There is childish mention of hand jobs (in a very school boyish, forest gump, kinda way) and at the end of the movie theres a flash of photographs of naked women from a magazine, and it pans out. You definitely can see them clearly but only for about 2 seconds. The F word is used around 10 times, again in a school boyish kind of way, only once is it said in a serious, vulgar way and its by a teacher. I hope this helps! Thanks!
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Parent Written byTrish Barnes June 26, 2012

Rushmore is tender-hearted, even though the kids swear

This is a strange little movie with a lot of soul. I like that Wes Anderson gives young people -- kids included -- fuller characterizations than most filmmakers do. The positive message is forgiveness between friends, and it's reinforced a few times in the movie. The positive role model is Max Fischer's father, who is completely supportive and accepting of Max no matter what. Max himself is a positive role model, because he shares his talents unselfconsciously with those around him. He is creative, courageous and involved. We get to see the inner motivations of several characters, their vulnerabilities and their dreams. There is an awkward moment of truth between Max and Miss Cross -- well, a few awkward moments -- but they are instructive. This movie has a lot of compassion for its characters, and no one gets humiliated or hurt in a cheap way. The reckless behavior is so outlandish, so 'designed', that it's not the sort to be copied by teens.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking