Explosive bus ride for mature action lovers.
  • Review Date: March 22, 2009
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 1994
  • Running Time: 116 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Treatment of ethnic minorities is even-handed and inclusive. Members of the police force treat people well and are unselfish, respectful, and extremely courageous, willing to sacrifice their lives for the welfare of the people they serve. A female character, who is an ordinary citizen, is shown to be brave, capable, and strong. The heroes behave honorably; the villain is a maniacal criminal.


Opening scene: a knife into the head of a security guard, killing him instantly, followed by a scary sequence with a bomb in an elevator shaft. More bloody action follows, including: a bus explosion with driver inside, woman falling to her death under a bus, hostages shown with dynamite strapped to their bodies, a house blown up with several police officers inside, an on-camera decapitation, and multiple hand-to-hand fighting scenes. Leading characters are frequently in life-and-death situations, some of which end badly.


Minor flirting.


Constant cursing throughout: "f--k" in all forms, dozens of times; "s--t" repeatedly. Lesser forms of swearing, ("Jesus," "Christ," "goddamn," "hell," "bastard," "ass") intermittently from beginning to end.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One scene shows police officers drinking at a celebration after a rescue operation.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie is filled with violent images: a fatal stabbing to the head; a decapitation; a bomb activated in a house, which kills several people, including one of the heroes; an elevator plunging forty floors; a bus explosion with the driver trapped inside; hostages with dynamite strapped to their bodies; and a woman killed when she falls under a bus. The language is extremely crude throughout.

What's the story?

Two police officers from L.A.P.D.'s bomb squad prevent a madman (Dennis Hopper) from ransoming an elevator full of people for millions of dollars. The maniacal criminal plants another bomb on a Los Angeles city bus to get even with the policemen and to try and extort the money again. Officer Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves), aided by Annie Porter, one of the bus's passengers (Sandra Bullock), has to keep the bus moving faster than 50 mph or the bomb will go off. The speeding bus careens through the city, encountering one perilously dangerous situation after another.

Is it any good?


For action lovers, SPEED delivers. There are sensational crashes, thunderous explosions, vicious hand-to-hand combat sequences, valiant maneuvers aboard a bus, on top of a moving train, in an elevator shaft... nonstop suspense-filled feats of bravery to combat the nonstop evil of a brilliant, but unhinged, villain.

This is Keanu Reeves's first "action hero" role and he does just fine. It's the movie that made Sandra Bullock a star, and she's as adorable as she should be. As for Dennis Hopper, no one takes more pleasure in playing the psychotic misfit. The good guys (and gal) are very, very good. The bad guy is horrid. However, nothing in this film resembles reality. True-to-life events and authentic relationships are in short supply.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how closely this live-action movie resembles a cartoon or a superhero movie. Do you think anyone could really do all the things that Officer Jack Traven does? How believable are the events in this movie? How believable are the characters? Do you think the moviemakers are trying to tell a real story, or make a fantastical movie that is simply fun to watch? What other movies have you seen that fit into this category?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 10, 1994
DVD release date:February 1, 2005
Cast:Dennis Hopper, Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock
Director:Jan De Bont
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Run time:116 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:for violence and language

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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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Teen, 15 years old Written byhansolo5150 December 7, 2010

One of the best guy movie's of all time.

This is one of the best guy movie's ever! It's very violent, and the plot is there only so that the thrills and action can have a solid foundation. On-camera violence includes: stabbing in the head, decapitation on top of a train, a woman falling under a bus, and huge explosions (people killed in two of them). Plenty of cursing, "f" word "s" word, and more, used frequently. Sandra Bullocks character makes a joke about basing a relationship on sex, but almost nothing else related to that. Older teens who enjoy big booms, have fun!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great role models
Teen, 16 years old Written byYadad April 24, 2010

Crazy cussing, great movie

Skip this movie if you don't want swearing. They have limits, but very small ones. The violence is crazy, but since the movie is kind of old, the gore isn't convincing. Can be very scary for little kids, especially the elevator scence. But it's a perfect movie with great actors all the way through.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written byjohnmarston February 22, 2011
The violence isn't too bad, but they swear a lot. They say f**k a ton of times, but what makes that the worst swear word anyway.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models


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