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School Ties

Movie review by
Randy White, Common Sense Media
School Ties Movie Poster Image
Stirring movie may be too heavy for some tweens.
  • PG-13
  • 2001
  • 101 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Characters express anti-Semitism and cheat on a test, but the behavior is portrayed negatively and contributes to the movie's central themes.


David engages in fistfights, most notably in the opening back-alley brawl.


Scattered adolescent boy stuff: The prep schoolers talk about someone's sister performing a sexual act, go looking for sexual adventures at a dance, and show their naked backsides in the shower.


Moderate, including "Bastard" and "Jesus."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that anti-Semitism is expressed by both adults and youngsters -- most older children will understand that the movie aims to communicate how wrong this behavior is, but parents may still want to discuss the topic further after the movie is over.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bywonder dove February 1, 2013

Easily watchable.

I thought the film was pretty good, it definitely held my attention. I mainly watched for all of the excellent actors and Matt Damon being one of the main. Bren... Continue reading
Parent of a 8 and 12 year old Written byTeenagerinthe80s June 11, 2014
Teen, 16 years old Written bymissmissy April 9, 2008

What's the story?

Set in the 1950s, SCHOOL TIES centers on high school quarterback David Greene (Brendan Fraser), who gets the opportunity to move up from his working class life when he gets a scholarship to an upper-crust prep school. There's just one catch: The school administrators ask David to hide the fact that he's Jewish. David makes a name for himself on the football field, and he makes friends, but everything changes when envious classmate Charlie (Matt Damon) uncovers David's secret.

Is it any good?

School Ties is a stirring movie with an important message about tolerance and fitting in. Bigotry is exposed as a manifestation of ignorance and cowardice. Brendan Fraser leads a superb cast that includes Matt Damon, Chris O'Donnell, and Ben Affleck. If there is a weakness here, it's in the recycling of story elements. The movie feels similar to other prep school dramas (such as Dead Poets Society) in which the worldview of sheltered schoolboys is challenged, but to its credit, it's not a simple good vs. evil story. It tries to balance the anti-racist tag slapped on the prep-school boys with an understanding of the tremendous pressure placed on them (especially in the 1950s) to become carbon copies of their parents.

While it may sympathize, the movie never excuses the boys' racist behavior. One twelve-year-old viewer thought that the "rich kids were just snobs" and that Fraser's character should have been upfront about being Jewish--whether people liked it or not. The youngster picked up on one of the movie's less obvious morals: as abhorrent as anti-Semitism is, hiding who you are because of a desire to fit it isn't wholly admirable either.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the bigotry depicted in this film.

Movie details

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