Seven Psychopaths

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Seven Psychopaths Movie Poster Image
Graphic violence, strong language in clever crime comedy.
  • R
  • 2012
  • 109 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 10 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The characters discuss the option of telling a story without any violence or conflict, but their conclusion is that a good story needs a lot of violence.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main character, a screenwriter, grows tired of violent stories and tries as much as he can to work toward something that involves introspection and discussion. He tries to save a wounded bad guy, even though the attempt backfires on him. Unfortunately, violence tends to win the day here. Additionally, this character is shown to have a drinking problem.


Many characters are shot and killed, with lots of spurting blood. In one scene, a gangster shoots an innocent old lady in the head; blood is sprayed on the walls. A woman is shot in the stomach. Throats are sliced, and a character is shot with a crossbow. Heads explode. A character attempts suicide via a bombing. In a flashback, two killers shoot people, burn them alive, and saw victims' heads off. In an imagined finale, there's a ridiculously bloody shootout. Much of the violence is meant to be comical in a shocking way, i.e. the suddenness and randomness of the targets.


Characters are shown attempting to have sex (with noises), but they stop. A topless woman is shown. A main character is shown with a wet top, and her breasts are somewhat visible beneath.


Very strong, frequent language includes uses of "f--k," "motherf---r," "s--t," "p---y," "c--t," "bitch," "d--k," "ass," "bastard," "hell," "damn," "goddamn," "oh my God," "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation), and derogatory terms such as the "N" word, "f-gs," and "homos."


A Milky Way chocolate bar is shown very briefly.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The main character is shown to have a drinking problem. It costs him his relationship with his girlfriend, and he turns to drinking for every problem he has. The problem is acknowledged, and it's assumed that he has stopped drinking by the story's end. Another character regularly smokes peyote.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Seven Psychopaths is the second feature film by acclaimed playwright and Oscar-winning filmmaker Martin McDonagh, who frequently uses crime, violence, and strong language in his smart-but-edgy stories. Seven Psychopaths is no exception: Expect lots of graphic, bloody images, including shooting and killing; spraying, splattered blood; victims burned alive; sawing a victim's neck; and an over-the-top bloody shootout with exploding heads. Language is very strong ("f--k," "s--t," "c--t," etc.), and there's a near-sex scene, a topless woman, and a woman wearing a wet, see-through top. A major character is also shown to have a drinking problem.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMaedehghasab October 20, 2018
Adult Written bychristian2011 December 18, 2012

Suprisingly clever, funny and enjoyable comical-action film.

Seven Psychopaths is a black comedy action snuff about a struggling screenwriter who unfortunately becomes entangled in the Los Angeles underworld after his odd... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byFighterOfTheNightman June 15, 2020

One of my favorite movies

Martin McDonagh is personally one of my favorite directors, and this film and In Bruges are in my top favorite movie of all time. This film is very funny and a... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byBehindthescene November 24, 2013

Stay out of the dog-napping business.

If you're an adult or an older teen, then I think this film is worth a watch for the craft; NOT for the plot (it is literally more nonsensical than "P... Continue reading

What's the story?

Screenwriter Marty (Colin Farrell) is having trouble with his new screenplay, Seven Psychopaths. He's getting tired of violence in movies and is trying to figure out how to tell his story peacefully. Meanwhile, his best friend, Billy (Sam Rockwell), and Billy's associate, Hans (Christopher Walken), are running a business kidnapping dogs, returning them, and collecting rewards. Unfortunately, they've just kidnapped a beautiful Shih Tzu, Bonny, who belongs to a sadistic gangster (Woody Harrelson). Meanwhile, a masked killer is on the loose, as well as several other psychopaths. Our trio ventures into the desert to try to make sense of it all, but will this trip result in self-discovery or a bloody showdown?

Is it any good?

SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS is terrific. Acclaimed Irish playwright Martin McDonagh won an Oscar for his short film Six Shooter (2005) and received a screenwriting nomination for his feature debut In Bruges (2008). Here, he continues to mix crime and dark comedy, but this time he adds a layer of self-awareness, deconstructing both the writing process and the need for conflict (and/or violence) in writing.

Miraculously, like Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman's Adaptation (2002), Seven Psychopaths manages to deftly juggle characters, humor, and its lofty ideas without dropping anything or giving anything away too soon. In spite of the movie's immense cleverness, it has a genuine affection for its trio of misfits, and they have a genuine affection for one another, too. Best of all is not so much McDonagh's one-liners but rather the conversations between characters, which tend to grow funnier the longer they go on (just listen to the one about "an eye for an eye").

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Seven Psycopaths' violence. Is violence necessary to tell a good story? Why do the characters discuss violence? Do you agree with their conclusions?

  • How does the movie portray the main character's drinking problem? Do the consequences seem realistic? How does it compare to other depictions in movies/on TV?

  • There's a brief comment about how the fictitious screenplay in the story has no strong female characters. How are women characters represented in the real movie? How does the comment relate to it?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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