Savages Movie Poster Image




Oliver Stone thriller is all about sex, drugs, violence.
  • Review Date: July 3, 2012
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 129 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Characters work together to solve a problem, but at the same time, their behavior is hugely destructive and unhealthy.

Positive role models

One of the characters, Ben, occasionally dabbles in humanitarian aid, working toward clean energy and water for African nations. But he's also a drug dealer and user and engages in destructive and unhealthy behavior.


Strong, brutal violence, with lots of blood and shooting. Viewers see severed heads and spattering brains. Two girls are kidnapped and treated roughly. Implied sexual assault. A man is tortured and burned alive. Lots of fighting and punching and exploding cars. Several characters die.


The lead female sleeps with the two leading men alternately and claims to love them both. There are two graphic sex scenes, but neither has much nudity. A minor female character appears naked (full frontal) in one scene.


"F--k" is used frequently. Also "s--t," "God," "ass," "a--hole," "damn," "goddamn," "t-ts," "d--k," and derogatory language like "f----t," "Jap," and "sand n--ger."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The main characters are drug dealers (pot) and drug users, so the whole story revolves around drugs. Characters are seen smoking pot and getting high in several scenes. Characters also drink beer and harder alcohol and are seen smoking cigarettes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Savages (from director Oliver Stone) is about two drug dealers who share the same girlfriend (Gossip Girl's Blake Lively) and must rescue her after she's kidnapped by a powerful cartel. There are strong sex scenes, one scene of full-frontal nudity by a minor female character, and lots of pot smoking, as well as some drinking and cigarette smoking. You can also expect graphic violence, including women being kidnapped and held prisoner (with sexual assault implied), guns and shooting, lots of blood, severed heads, brains blown out, exploding cars, a man being tortured and burned alive, and many dead bodies. Language is also strong, with uses of "f--k" and other words throughout.

What's the story?

In SAVAGES, O (Blake Lively) narrates the story of her love affair with two Laguna Beach pot-growers: the Zenlike, laid-back Ben (Aaron Johnson), and the hard, ex-military Chon (Taylor Kitsch). A large drug cartel offers to buy their operation, but Ben and Chon refuse. Unfortunately, this results in O being kidnapped. Ben and Chon draw on all their knowledge and friends, including a crooked DEA agent (John Travolta), to rescue her. Unfortunately, they're dealing with the extremely dangerous drug empress Elena (Salma Hayek) and her homicidal henchman, Lado (Benicio Del Toro). It's going to take everything they've got to survive the final showdown.

Is it any good?


This Savages is a snooze. Oliver Stone's movies were once incendiary and had the power to get people talking about strong issues. For example, Natural Born Killers used a pulp story to say something about the callousness of media. Now Stone has made an ordinary pulp movie with very little to say, and he seems rather bored with pulp for pulp's sake. He sometimes adjusts the movie's color scheme to make things look sun-baked yellow or tropical fishtank rainbow, but otherwise he's asleep at the controls.

Moreover, the Ben and Chon characters are too one-dimensional and too stuck by their character limitations to be compelling; they bend and change according to the whims of the plot. When they're onscreen, the movie just evaporates. Thankfully, Travolta, Hayek, and Del Toro bring some infectious bravado to their supporting roles. They recall the kind of savagery that Stone used to have but doesn't seem to have anymore.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Savages' strong violence. Is it necessary to the story? How does the impact of this kind of violence compare to what you see in horror and action movies?

  • How does the movie portray sex and relationships? Can O really love both of them equally? Can they both love her equally and not feel jealous?

  • Can Ben be considered a role model? Does his helping others help erase the destructive, illegal, and immoral things he does?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 6, 2012
DVD release date:November 13, 2012
Cast:Blake Lively, Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Director:Oliver Stone
Studio:Universal Pictures
Run time:129 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong brutal and grisly violence, some graphic sexuality, nudity, drug use and language throughout

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Adult Written bychristian2011 January 19, 2014

The title definitely lives by the brutal graphic content, also interpreting drug usage and sex.

Savages is about two easy going, anonymous, laid-back pot dealers who each love and share a woman (also known as the sex taboo subject polygamy), lives their lives in subtle harmony, until they get unfortunately affiliated with a ruthless drug dealer who goes to kidnapping their girlfriend after not applying to their rules and codes. This film deals heavily with the Mexican drug cartel, dealing, trafficking, and usage; especially marijuana. The violence isn't pervasive, but it is very graphic, bloody and brutal when it occurs. An intense and voracious shootout occurs in the end, ending with multiple people dead, a man is sadistically tortured and set on fire alive (you see one of his eyes graphically hanging out of its socket), a couple gets brutalized and shot, and a very disturbing video clip of a drug dealer surrounded by decapitated human heads. Language is frequent and strong (uses of f**k and sh*t). Also, there's a couple scenes of sexuality (few scenes show some nudity but not overly graphic) all involving sensual thrusting and moaning, including a rape scene (no nudity shown). Savages is actually a well-made action film with a couple fresh ideas and beautiful cinematography, but NOT intended for children whatsoever. Rated R for strong brutal bloody violence including gruesome images, language, sexuality, and drug use. Violence (4/5) Language (3/5) Sex (4/5) Drugs (4/5) Intensity (4/5)
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written byAspi January 10, 2013

Graphic, not for kids

This is a particularly graphic movie both in terms of sex, violence and drug use. There really are no positive role models at all and all kinds of barbaric behavior is rewarded in different ways. Only for adults.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byrsf2view February 8, 2013

For adults only!

This is an awesome movie, but it's definitely not for kids. It's extremely brutal and graphic, and there's quite a lot of profanity. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT let your kids watch this until they are at least 18.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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