The Defiant Ones

Movie review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
The Defiant Ones Movie Poster Image
Mature, insightful docu about unlikely hip-hop partnership.
  • NR
  • 2017
  • 260 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 2 reviews

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

Positive Messages

Themes range from being raised in difficult circumstances to working extremely hard, having passion, and being loyal. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Dr. Dre and Iovine were hard working and committed to their careers from an early age, and continue to be so. 


Gang violence, murders, riots referenced. Some featured songs have violent lyrics. 


Some lyrics contain strong innuendo. 


Endless cursing, including "s--t," "f--k," and the "N" word. Rude gestures. 


Popular music, references to Facebook, Beats by Dr. Dre, Apple, and various music labels. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Alcohol, cigarette and pot smoking visible. The reliance on drug sales to break into the business is discussed.  

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Defiant Ones is a documentary series about the music business that's intended for older viewers. It contains lots of cursing, including the "N" word, as well as mature themes like drug hustling, gang violence, and other issues. Drinking, cigarettes, and pot smoking are visible. Many notable music artists (and their music) and other pop culture celebs are featured. It contains conversations about major music labels, as well as Beats by Dr. Dre and Apple, but these are all offered in context. Hip-hop fans and those interested in music history will find it interesting, but it's too mature for tweens and young teens. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byGary Hunt September 2, 2019

Gary’s review

Ithink it’s great have a watch great if u like muic
Adult Written byChoppacova June 10, 2018

Great for anyone who likes music of any kind

Some strong language however if you are into music then this is a great story to watch of 2 very dedicated persons who have influenced music for sometime.

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

What's the story?

THE DEFIANT ONES is a four-part documentary about the unlikely, but successful, relationship between Andre Young, aka rapper/actor Dr. Dre, and music producer Jimmy Iovine. It's 2014, and the two men are about to sell their company to Apple. But when the rapper leaks the news on Facebook, he puts the billion dollar deal in jeopardy. The event serves as the jumping-off point from which they share their personal stories, and talk about how their relationship developed. Interviews with with the two men, as well as a long list of other music producers, directors, and artists like the Black Eyed Peas', Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and Gwen Stefani, contribute to the story. Archived footage of business meetings, studio recording sessions, artists' performances, and major moments in history are also featured. Together, they highlight the roles Dr. Dre and Iovine have in transforming the music business. 

Is it any good?

This insightful documentary offers an in-depth look at the individual and team successes and failures of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. It highlights how their personal life experiences motivated them to pursue their passion for music. It details how Iovine went from being a working-class kid from Brooklyn to an audio engineer and producer for artists like John LennonBruce Springsteen, and Patti Smith, and how this eventually led to the creation of the successful (but now defunct) label Interscope Records. Meanwhile, it reveals how Dr. Dre worked his way up from being a young DJ in Compton to putting the Los Angeles hip-hop scene on the map by using a friend's drug money to start Ruthless Records and co-found the highly influential gangsta hip-hop group, N.W.A.

These starkly contrasting anecdotes are interesting, and they underscore how Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine's talent, love for music, and work ethic brought them together and made them compatible. But the most memorable parts of this series are the discussions about how their partnership continues to transform the music industry. Particularly notable is the story of how Beats Electronics transformed the headphone market, and how its expansion ultimately led to the creation of Apple Music. Overall, The Defiant Ones tells a well-produced and compelling story about two people who are different in many ways, but who defiantly rose to the top of the industry and have chosen to change the music business and impact popular culture together. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the kind of work and commitment it takes to realize a career goal. How hard did Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre work to get their breaks in the industry when they were starting out? Were they always successful? Why did they keep going?

  • The Defiant Ones addresses the fact that selling drugs has helped some people break into the hip-hop industry. Why was this the case? Were their negative consequences to these actions? Is engaging in risky behaviors in hopes of breaking into a career acceptable, even if you stop doing those things once you reach your goal? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love music

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