The Doors

 
(i)

 

Intense biopic full of drugs, sex and rock'n'roll.
  • Review Date: October 26, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1991
  • Running Time: 138 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Hallucinogens praised as mind-expanding, integral to artistic expression

Violence

Minor scuffles, verbal abuse

Sex

Female nudity, several sex scenes

Language

Lots of profanity

Consumerism

Firestone tires, the music of the Doors

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Heavy drinking, smoking, marijuana, LSD, peyote, cocaine

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie features a lot of sex, drugs, and profanity. There are consequences to bad behavior, namely Jim Morrison's premature demise. Nevertheless, Morrison's life of excess and poetic death are romanticized if not glamorized. There are a few scuffles, some verbal domestic abuse, and sex scenes where the line between sex and abuse is blurry.

What's the story?

THE DOORS chronicles the rise and fall of the popular 1960's rock act. Legendary lead singer Jim Morrison (Val Kilmer) blows into Los Angeles in the mid 60's, shy at first with a head full of poetry. While attending UCLA film school, he meets keyboardist Ray Manzarek (Kyle MacLachlan), and, together with Robbie Krieger (Frank Whaley) and John Densmore (Kevin Dillon), form a band. They are not short on ambition, fancying themselves the mythmakers for the Age of Aquarius. As the band achieves success, Morrison indulges in excess, spiraling out of control, alienating lovers and band-members before meeting his inevitable end.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This story of a tragic artist who lives fast and dies young could have come off as clichéd in less able hands. Oliver Stone had a string of hits in the early 1990's, and here his distinct style meshes seamlessly with the content. Though they may not add up to anything special in terms of plot, the scenes function well on their own, with longtime Stone collaborator Robert Richardson bringing 60's SoCal culture to life and, of course, the Doors providing the soundtrack. There is a lyrical quality to the film, non-linear and highly subjective.

Val Kilmer's performance is utterly convincing. Stone and Morrison seem to be cut from the same cloth, and it's hard to imagine anyone else telling (or living) so vivid a story.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the distinction one of the characters makes between using drugs to expand one's mind and using them to escape from responsibilities. Why do people use drugs? How has our knowledge of the long-term effects of these drugs changed since the 1960's?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 23, 1991
DVD release date:August 19, 1997
Cast:Kathleen Quinlan, Meg Ryan, Val Kilmer
Director:Oliver Stone
Studio:Artisan Entertainment
Genre:Drama
Run time:138 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:heavy drug content, strong sexuality and language

This review of The Doors was written by

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

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

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.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Fascinating biopic, best for mature teens and up.
  • Ray
    Excellent portrayal of extraordinary musician.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 14 years old Written bystrangedays May 31, 2009
 

entertaining not very factual

i am against withholding information to people i however gave it the age that i did because someone should be roughly this age in maturity before seeing it (not necessarily this age) they should have knowledge of sex of drugs and of life they should be able to pick out the positive pieces of which there are few admittedly and this film is not good for anyone who has no knowledge of the true jim morrison as this depicts him as a drug addled lunatic also morrison27 jim existed in the doors from their creation it was him and manzarek who came up with the doors because of a chance encounter on a beach in fact i could even go so far as to say that jim was first even before manzarek as he already had the name and the lyrics and some of the melodies so nothing concerned me however this is not for someone with a naive worldview
Teen, 14 years old Written bymorrison27 April 9, 2008
 

Its my favorite!!

I LOVE THIS MOVIE!! Jim Morrison is like, my hero. This movie is excellent, and the casting of Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison is just amazing, he did a wonderful job. The only complaint i have is that, the movie is called The Doors, and it is all about Jim Morrison, if you people make a movie about Jim, call it Jim Morrison, they should have added more content with THE DOORS (although people will argue that The Doors=Jim Morrison, but seriously, get a life. The band at first didn't even have Jim Morrison IN IT. [i do love Jim with all my heart, don't get me wrong, i do])
Adult Written byKeatonxRondelli December 4, 2009
 

great movie for anyone

this movie just made me love my idol James Morrison even more than i did before. Long Live The Lizard King

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass