Slumdog Millionaire



Epic romance-drama is brilliant but too mature for kids.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Review Date: November 11, 2008
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 120 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Modern-day India is depicted as a complex, rich culture of wonderful opportunity and yet terrifying poverty. Police forces are depicted as brutal, but they ultimately do the right thing. Criminal, greedy, and venal behavior is depicted -- and not always punished.

Positive role models

Through brains, principles, and decency, the lead character achieves in the face of poverty, prejudice, and evil.


Strong violence; the lead character is beaten, drowned, and electrically shocked by authorities in order to elicit a confession; a depiction of a religious riot includes beatings, on-screen deaths, and men being set ablaze. A young child shoots a man in a clear kill-or-be-killed situation. A young boy is blinded with hot oil to increase his value as a beggar. A woman's face is deliberately scarred with a knife. Fist fighting and other shooting deaths.


A supporting character is being taught courtesan's skills before being sold into sex slavery (at a high price due to her status as a virgin); some kissing; implied semi-sexual activity between a pre-teen boy and girl. Non-sexual nudity (a child's buttocks are seen).


Strong, including "s--t," "hell," "damn," "crap," "piss," "bugger," "p---y," and non-sexual uses of "f---ing."


The plot revolves around the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Constant smoking; characters (in some cases even very young children) drink hard liquor.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that despite incidents of violence and cruelty, this is a sweeping, thrilling drama that mature teens will be able to take -- and will probably very much enjoy. There's some extreme violence -- electrocution, murder, and violence perpetrated by, and on, young children -- but it never feels exploitatitive or simplistic. The film revolves around issues of class (how could a poor "slumdog" like the lead character possibly do so well on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?). and includes many images of modern India, including real -- but still hard-to-take -- depictions of poverty and hopelessness.

What's the story?

In SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, Jamal (Dev Patel) is an 18-year-old tea service worker for a telecommunications company who has somehow managed to make it to the second-to-last question on the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? He's dragged in for questioning by the police, who want to know how he's cheating -- which, in their eyes, is the only way an uneducated boy from the slums like him could possibly be winning. Beaten but unbowed, Jamal tells his interrogators stories from his life that explain why he knows the answers. He also talks about the long-lost love of his life, Latika (Freida Pinto), who he's trying to get in touch with and save through the unlikely mechanism of being on the show.

Is it any good?


Directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Millions), Slumdog Millionaire is a bold, big, and beautiful film -- a rich, gripping tale of heroism, struggle, true love, and unfailing friendship set in the rough-and-tumble world of modern India. Based on the novel Q&A by Vikas Swarup, Slumdog Millionaire combines the heady, energetic, and inspired direction of Boyle's earlier films with the heart and humanity of his lesser-known, more recent films; the end result is a knockout of a film. Slumdog Millionaire has the feel and structure of a great Dickensian adventure combined with a bracing, modern look at life in 21st-century India -- and brilliant performances as well. Patel shines as the honest, striving, good-hearted Jamal, while Pinto gets to be far more than just "the girl." Co-star Irfan Khan (whom you may recognize from A Mighty Heart) is also excellent as the police detective who ultimately comes around to standing by Jamal as he tells his story, and Anil Kapoor is terrific as the charming, bullying game show host.

Slumdog Millionaire features some rough stuff -- violence, poverty, exploitation -- but at the same time it has a heart and humanity that shine through even in its darkest moments. And when the finale unfolds, it feels truly earned considering all that's gone before. Slumdog Millionaire may seem a little tough to get into at first with its blunt depiction of the cruelty of life and the switches between English and Hindi throughout the film, but it unfolds like a plain-spoken thing of wonder; it's easily one of the best films of 2008.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the nature of Indian society -- from class to religious conflict to the nation's role as a growing economic superpower -- and about the way the film depicts hard work, good morals, and quick wits. Are they seen as virtues?

  • Discuss the film's depiction of the differences -- and similarities -- between Indian culture and American culture. How are they different? What do they have in common?

  • What does the movie say about the growing process of globalization? What does it mean when British customer service calls are answered in India? Or when an English game show becomes immensely popular in a completely different nation?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 12, 2008
DVD release date:March 31, 2009
Cast:Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Irrfan Khan
Director:Danny Boyle
Studio:Fox Searchlight
Run time:120 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:some violence, disturbing images and language

This review of Slumdog Millionaire was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old August 18, 2010


I really like this movie and teaches kids to be lucky to atleast have a , roof, parents, and not be treeated like crap....i love this movie!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written byMr. Critic April 19, 2011

Amazing film is inspiring, but too mature for younger children.

Slumdog Millionaire is a powerful story about true love, and its struggles. The film is absolutely beautiful, and entertaining. And if you haven't seen it be sure not to miss it. Parents Section: Violence: The violence in the film is not graphic, and is kept at a PG-13 level, although some of the violence involves children which makes it slightly more disturbing. The film starts with the main character being beaten, nearly drowned to death, and electrocuted by police officers. The violence is much milder then it sounds. A scene takes place where a riot against, Muslims is being held. This scene includes; burnings, beatings, and murder. The scene lasts for about 2 minutes, and is quickly edited making it "again" much milder then it sounds. There is also a scene where a man blinds a boy with hot oil, using a spoon to drop it into his eyes. As he pours the hot oil into his eyes, it is blurred. Making it once again, milder then it sounds. Language: There are some cuss words in the film, but not what you would expect from an R rated movie. The words used are "S--t", "Hell", "D-mn", "Cr-p", "P---y", and two non-sexual uses of "F--ing" The words are only said through some parts of the film, and is not used at a constant rate. Sex: A main character, in a female role is sold into sex slavery, though it is only implied. As well other sexual scenes are only implied and not shown. A very young boy's buttocks are seen in a non sexual way. The strongest scene in the film when pertaining about sex would be when two young boys enter a brothel. And see a quick glimpse of a man and a woman kissing, although they are both clothed at this point and no nudity is visible. Drinking/Drugs: Many drinking, and even up to the point where some children are seen drinking hard liquor. Messages and Role Models: There are consequences to the bad things that characters do in the film. As well as messages about doing whatever it may take to make your dreams come true.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 10 and 15 year old Written byCarolS March 2, 2009

R Rating is Appropriate!

This movie is very violent and disturbing. I found the Commonsense review to be misleading in terms of the level of violence so I was shocked when I viewed the movie. In the opening scene Jamal is brutally tortured by the police, not simply dragged in for questioning. Children are abused and exploited. Do the parent/Kid reviewers really think this should be rated PG-13? Several "Harry Potter" movies are rated PG-13 as is "Apollo-13," among others! Neither contains graphic violence the likes of "Slumdog." PG-13 movies often are seen by younger viewers and I think the R-rating serves well as a red flag for parents. Nobody under age 18 should be exposed to this kind of violence. In addition the ending is very Western--Jamal and Latika, coming from the slums without parenting, somehow manage to look like fashion models with perfect features, teeth and manners. The message of the film, while moving at times, is not quite believable.


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