• Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2001
  • Running Time: 126 minutes

What parents need to know

Violence

Tense scenes, including bloody torture.

Sex

Sexual situations, nothing explicit or exploitive.

Language

Some strong language.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking and smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has very strong language and a lot of violence, including a brutal beating. Viewers see the victims of violence, including amputees and dead bodies. There's a mild and inexplicit sexual situation.

What's the story?

SPY GAME begins in 1991 with a failed rescue attempt at a Chinese prison. Nathan Muir (Robert Redford) is awakened on his last day working for the CIA by a phone call from Hong Kong. An agent has been captured. We learn through a series of flashbacks that the agent, Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt) was recruited and trained by Muir. Their relationship is chronicled through the world's trouble spots from Viet Nam to Beirut, as they go from teacher/student to partners and then wind up at odds with each other. Bishop likes being one of the good guys. He likes to keep his promises. He is willing to bend rules, but only if he has to. Nathan is not sure he knows what the rules are anymore, beyond the one he tells Tom is unbreakable – save your money so that you can retire someplace warm and never spend any of it to protect an asset. The CIA has 24 hours before Bishop is executed. Muir spends much of that time in a taped and transcribed meeting with top officials who are more concerned about maintaining trade negotiations with China than with rescuing a spy who does not seem to have been on any authorized mission. The rest of the time, he uses everything he has accumulated in his career – his experiences, his relationships, his tricks of the trade, and even his money – to rescue Bishop.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Spy Game is a smart thriller for grown-ups about spies who manipulate their "assets" (sources) with brains, not explosives. And it is about loyalty, politics, and whether the ends ever justify the means. This is not one of those movies where the spies wear elegant dinner jackets, drink martinis, use cool gadgets and have sex with gorgeous women in between huge explosions and shoot-outs. There is no hidden fortress, secret formula, or missing computer chip.

Redford and Pitt (who worked together on A River Runs Through It) are both marvelous, their different acting styles working well to help them portray the differences in their characters. Director Tony Scott (Top Gun and Crimson Tide) shows his usual expert touch in action stories about men who have to think quickly while they struggle with problems of loyalty and independence. The scenes in Beirut are particularly unsettling and tragic.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how people develop rules when their work involves breaking traditional rules. How can you tell when you stop being one of the good guys? How do they know that the rules they are breaking are in aid of a greater good? Who was betrayed in the movie?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 21, 2001
DVD/Streaming release date:April 9, 2002
Cast:Brad Pitt, Catherine McCormack, Robert Redford
Director:Tony Scott
Studio:Universal Pictures
Genre:Drama
Run time:126 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language, some violence and brief sexuality

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Parent of a 11 year old Written byHI101 January 28, 2011

HI

Really Innapropro
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written byTheSuperman765 April 16, 2011

weird!!!

What to watch out for * Violence: Tense scenes, including bloody torture. * Sex: Sexual situations, nothing explicit or exploitive. * Language: Some strong language. * Consumerism: Not an issue. * Drinking, drugs, & smoking: Drinking and smoking.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 16 years old Written byourblackego April 5, 2009

Brilliantly Intelligent!

A smooth thriller. Tom Bishop a CIA Opperative is being held captive in a chineese prison. Now his old Boss who he was once close to fights to save his life.The head CIA men working on the case, are trying t find a reason to let him die, because the president is visiting Chia and doesn't want an uprising, and have the president in a dangerous situation. There are many flash backs which take up a vast majoritey of the movie, showg how brad pitt( Tom Bishop) and Robert Reddford(His boss) grew so close. At the edn Robert Reddford does a genrous thing which causes him nearly everything to his oldyoung partner who he trained who left him for a new opp. The eding is incredible and the acting better than any other movie ever made. Nominated for 5 academy wards!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing