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The Fast and the Furious

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
The Fast and the Furious Movie Poster Image
Flashy street-racing movie with violence, profanity, sexism.
  • PG-13
  • 2001
  • 106 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 14 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 34 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

At the beginning of the DVD, one of the lead actors delivers a "Don't try this at home"-style PSA regarding all the high-speed car races and chases. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Gangs mostly divide along racial lines; strong female characters, but also many stereotypes. Though the movie tries to show depth to the characters -- one mourns the loss of his father, another suffers from ADD -- the time devoted to the unrelenting car races and chases prevents any further developments. 


Unsurprisingly, there are frequent illegal street races and car chases. Pictures of a man after he was beaten in the face repeatedly with a wrench. A man gets a nozzle shoved into his mouth and is forced to drink motor oil. This same man is later kicked in the head. A trucker fires a shotgun at drivers trying to hijack his truck. Machine-gun fire in a drive-by shooting. A character gets hit in the head with a baseball bat. A fistfight results in visible blood. 


Women serve as objectified eye candy in skimpy outfits around the cars and their drivers. A woman's breasts are shown through a wet shirt. A woman tells a driver at the starting line of a street race that if he wins, he gets to have a threesome with her and another woman. Men grope at women's breasts and rear ends. There are kisses between opposite-sex and same-sex couples.


The "N" word is used once. A character is called a "faggot." "F--k." In one scene, two women are called "skanks." "S--t." "Hell." "Bastard." 


Corona beer bottles prominently shown, product mentioned by name. Character drinks Snapple. Pizza Hut logo prominently featured on a pizza-delivery vehicle. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Beer drinking at a house party. Cigarette smoking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Fast and the Furious is as close to an R-rated film as it can be and remain PG-13. It's very violent, with shoot-outs that leave one character dead and another seriously wounded. A character takes one risk that appears suicidal. Characters drink and smoke. Corona beer seems to be an especially obvious product placement, and giving someone a beer is a gesture of honor and acceptance. There are kisses between opposite-sex and same-sex couples, some very questionable behavior, and women in scanty clothing who are constantly objectified. A woman's breasts are shown through a wet shirt. A woman tells a driver at the starting line of a street race that if he wins, he gets to have a threesome with her and another woman. Men grope at women's breasts and rear ends. Characters use very strong language, including "f--k" and the "N" word and other racial slurs. Viewers see some gross photographs of an injured man. Characters are in extreme peril, both in racing and in shoot-outs. Robbing and shooting are sympathetically portrayed, and Brian's ultimate decision is a serious betrayal.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bykingster April 9, 2008

A great movie!

I love the car chases in this movie and the cars too! Paul Walker is really hot in this movie! Very entertaining!
Adult Written bynjn August 14, 2009
Teen, 14 years old Written byfoxirox March 23, 2010


ok so how can you think this is a bad movie. seriously? action packed series gives this movie quite an adrenaline rush
Teen, 15 years old Written byMiranda B. February 3, 2011

Movie shows excellent rendition of street racing, though filled with inappropiate content for younger eyes and ears.

People say this movie is crappy, well you gotta cut it a little slack because it was made way back in 2001. So maybe the action level and visual effects weren... Continue reading

What's the story?

In THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS, Brian (Paul Walker) is a loner with a fancy race car who wants to get into the hidden world of street racers. He also wants to get close to Mia (Jordana Brewster), the pretty sister of the fastest driver of them all. The street racers take over a quarter-mile stretch for races that last less than 10 seconds, then disperse before the police catch up with them. Brian challenges Mia's brother Dom (Vin Diesel) and loses both the race and his car to the jeers of the onlookers. But he rescues Dom from the police and sticks with him through an encounter with a rival gang. Soon, he's a member of Dom's ragtag team of outcasts: mechanic Jesse (Chad Lindberg), brooding Vince (Matt Schulze), and tough girl Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). But after races and chases in various locales, it turns out that neither Dom nor Brian has been telling the truth and that both will have to put what they care about most on the line before it's all over.

Is it any good?

This could have been a classic summer popcorn movie, but it turned out to be a numbing waste of celluloid, a bad, bad movie that can't fake authenticity. It's not about what's cool or what the people in the audience think is cool. It's about what people in Hollywood think the people in the audience think is cool.

There's a lot of posing and attitude, and nearly every line is a cliché, spoken without any sense of irony, tribute, or transcendence. There is some flashy photography, a lot of blasting faux-hip rap music, very fine cars, and sprays of automatic-weapon bullets that manage to miss all the main characters. The last 15 minutes is genuinely, deeply, infuriatingly stupid. Diesel and Rodriguez are talented and watchable, but The Fast and the Furious insists on interfering with our ability to enjoy them.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the way outcasts create families, such as the scene in The Fast and the Furious where Dom presides over a barbecue dinner that looks like a cover illustration from Tattooed Biker done by Norman Rockwell -- and they even say grace.

  • How are women portrayed in this movie? 

  • What do you think is the appeal of movies in which cars are altered to go at very fast speeds and the drivers take outrageous risks? What are some of the stunts best filed under "Do not try this at home"? 

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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