Slap Shot

Movie review by
Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media
Slap Shot Movie Poster Image
Countless profanity penalties in ''70s hockey spoof.
  • R
  • 1977
  • 123 minutes

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

While the cynical movie ultimately doesn't seem in favor of disgusting behavior, the "heroes" are still rewarded (if bruised a little) for their bad conduct. There's a sense that they're no worse than the heartless corporate-sports machine to whom they've been sold, and that American culture is pretty much rotten anyway; in hockey or in life, one has to play along to thrive.

Positive Role Models & Representations

No great role models. Reg is a really mixed character, a fatherly coach who yearns for the old-fashioned "clean" hockey of his early career, but plays dirty to win -- though at least part of his agenda is team loyalty and keeping his guys employed, by any means necessary. Reg also sleeps with other (married) women even though his divorce isn't finalized and he wants his estranged wife back. Braden, the one team player who rebels against all the tackiness and bad sportsmanship, is perpetually angry toward his wife. Females seem either cold-hearted types (in bad marriages) or drunken, promiscuous floozies (in bad marriages).

Violence

Hockey brutality spills blood (but never seems to result in hospitalization), and fists and punches are thrown at spectators and players alike.

Sex

A topless girl in bed following (adulterous) sex. Talk of homosexuality and lesbianism, oral sex, transvestites, runaway wives, etc. The main character seems to be making a play for a teammate's wife. Backside nudity in a famous mass-"mooning" scene. Masturbation habits of a past player are described. The title of a notorious pornographic movie is seen on a marquee.

Language

Not a record-setter -- by modern standards -- for profanity, but still the movie was instantly notorious for persistent use of the f-word, the s-word, the a-word, the polysyllabic c-word, profane terms for homosexuals and lesbians, the works.

Consumerism

The real-life X-rated movie hit "Deep Throat" (we just see the title) is perversely listed playing at a theater in an all-American-type small town.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Lots of drinking among the male players. Their wives drink heavily to cope with the lifestyle/infidelities.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this sports comedy was once the high-scorer for swearing and raunchy humor, with obscene words that had seldom been uttered in mainstream-Hollywood entertainment. There are bare breasts in an (adulterous) bedroom sex scene, rear ends in a "mooning," and a climactic (non-explicit) male striptease. Gutter dialogue includes insults based on homosexuality, lesbianism, masturbation, etc. Practically all marriages shown are bad ones (complete with physical abuse), and divorce is a sunny escape. Sports violence centers on rink fistfights -- with other players and with fans -- many of which spill blood (but never result in serious injury). The attitude of the film toward bad sportsmanship and garbage culture is sardonic, but it can be interpreted as endorsing trashy conduct. One of the direct-to-video sequels to Slap Shot in recent years was, paradoxically, a PG-kiddie movie directed at children. Youngsters were not the intended audience of the original.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Kid, 10 years old April 4, 2011

i dont think that kids my age should watch it but what the heck

i love hockey and i love this movie. the team in this movie is horible. it was very funny
Teen, 13 years old Written bynicholasmcc September 24, 2015

made for kids 13-14

what is common sense media talking about? 17?!?!? Everyone knows what sex is by 6th grade. There is a small part of a topless girl under the covers with a guy a... Continue reading

What's the story?

In the dying Pennsylvania industrial community of Charlestown, the hard-luck local hockey team, the Chiefs, faces closure. Longtime coach Reg Dunlop (Paul Newman), hoping that wealthy buyers are interested in the franchise, uses a variety of dirty tricks against opponents to steer the motley Chiefs toward the championship and increase their market value. Result: vicious fights on the ice earn the Chiefs a reputation as bullies and brawlers. Consequently, the re-energized team becomes more popular than ever with bloodthirsty fans; only young player Braden (Michael Ontkean) refuses to "goon it up" for Dunlop, as the Chiefs head into a crucial final match against Syracuse.

Is it any good?

There's enough good-natured rowdiness and comedy (and exciting rink action) to make some viewers assume that this film glorifies acting like a hockey "goon." And when Will Ferrell takes his clothes off in another slob-sports comedy every year, one might think SLAPSHOT is just one more well-made jock farce. But the film actually has a serious point to make about the crass vulgarization of American sports (and, by extension, American life) as the Chiefs go from losers to superstars by leading the NHL in beat-downs and nasty antics against opponents. There's a price to be paid, in terms of honor and values, even if nobody in the film (and, judging by the fans, hardly anyone in the audience) gets it.

Recently, Universal Pictures has started cranking out belated direct-to-DVD sequels (speaking of dirty plays), to exploit the popularity of Slap Shot. Only the actors playing the notorious "Hanson brothers" returned, and (in a detail that this film practically predicts), the once-groundbreaking curse words, sex flirtations, and disrespect are barely shocking at all anymore.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Reg, a really mixed character, a fatherly coach who yearns for the old-fashioned "clean" hockey he played in his youth, yet who drives his team into being  "goons" on the ice. He seems to take both a fatherly and a lustful interest in a young hockey wife in a crumbling marriage. Ask kids what they think of Reg and his choices. Is his wife doing the right thing by leaving him?

  • Discuss the way the movie depicts American sports (and society) as descending into the muck. Has the problem only gotten worse since, with scandal and shockers in boxing, baseball, and football? What about the circus-like spectacle of "pro wrestling?"

  • You can watch (perhaps as an alternative) other hockey movies, ones that teach nobler values, such as Disney's Mighty Ducks series, Youngblood, Miracle, or Mystery Alaska.

Movie details

For kids who love sports

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate