Parents' Guide to

The Fisher King

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Intense Gilliam drama has strong violence, mature themes.

Movie R 1991 138 minutes
The Fisher King Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 14+

One of Terry Gilliam's best

Also one of Robin Williams's best performances. Yes, there's lots of swearing and alcohol and what-not, but there are also themes of honor and chivalry. The story is rooted in Arthurian legend. It's not for the intellectually or emotionally immature; the characters involved move from poor coping mechanisms to healthier - there is positive movement and redemption in the narrative arc.

This title has:

Great messages
age 13+

Two stars? They gave solid movies like this, "American History X" and "Unbreakable" two stars, and trash like "Twilight" and "After Earth" get three?

Just a note beforehand: The icons I select are not for "too much" of something, it's just a warning that there is such. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Robin Williams was a man who showed dedication to his craft... he was gone too soon, but his legacy lives on. His role in this film is more drama than comedy, although it certainly has funny moments in that distinct, oddball Terry Gilliam way. Here's a summary (no spoilers unless specified): But the film is about Jeff Bridges' character, Jack Lucas, a "shock jock" radio DJ, who becomes very depressed after giving bad advice to one of the callers, which sends them to shoot and murder people in a bar/restaurant, then turn the gun on themselves. But he finds friendship one night in the maniacal homeless man Parry, and a hope for Jack's redemption, as Parry was affected by what happened in the bar. It's a character drama, but every actor gives their all. Jeff Bridges, Robin Williams and Amanda Plummer (if you don't recognise the name, she's one of the restaurant robbers in Pulp Fiction and the daughter of Christopher Plummer) are three recognisable actors here. Before I review the film, let's give a content advisory for parents. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The film has an "R" certificate, but it's pretty teen-friendly. The Australian Government gives it an M, an advisory classification roughly equivalent to PG-13. Note that lighter R titles (Air Force One, Boyhood, The Breakfast Club, The Matrix) and some average "R" titles (Die Hard, Lethal Weapon) get an M --- M means "mature", or content of moderate impact. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Sex and Nudity: Robin Williams is shown full-frontal at one point, but really, what's the point in fearing nonsexual nudity? You mainly see his buttocks when he strips at a park, but one may see his penis in the shadows. Hey, we were born naked. There are some sexual references in dialogue - porn titles at a video store and one fleeting verbal reference to the possibility of rape, but nothing more than PG-13. There's also a risque make-out scene that ends quickly enough but the man and woman are both clothed, the woman spreads her legs and undoes the back of her dress without nudity, implying possible sex. * Violence and Gore: There are a couple of beatings that look rough but contain little blood, however someone is doused in gasoline but they're fine. The scene you've gotta worry about is a flashback to the events at the bar inter-cut with another scene --- the back of a woman's head is shown, but in front of it (the part not shown during the act), blood sprays along with possible brain matter. Her face is briefly covered in blood on a stretcher, and the person in front of her screams. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Profanity: There are 35 uses of "f**k" generally not used aggressively (2 are "motherf**ker")and 22 of "sh**", in addition to 5 of "b*tch", 1 each of "r*t*rd" and "t*tty", 3 of "f*gg*t" (used by antagonists), 1 each of "b*st*rd", "freaking" and "b*lls", 9 of "a*s" (5 with hole), 5 of "h*ll" and 4 of the worst profanity "G**d**n" (this reviewer is a Christian young male but one who isn't homophobic or overly sensitive/conservative). My page will be updated with more reviews when I get around to it. * Other: There's a bit of social drinking, but Bridges spends the film drinking straight from a bottle on a few occasions. No drugs, a little bit of smoking, but also the film seems like a mature character-based drama that likely won't interest anyone under 13. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- To review the film itself: This isn't the best Williams performance, but it's certainly still commendable. Jeff Bridges' Jack is a human being, which means he gains humanity and is more than a "shock jock", so I'd say this film is a redemption tale. At the start, he clearly regrets the bar incident, seeing images of it on the news (these are a bit bloody). And for being "too Hollywood"... if this is "too Hollywood", then remember that Terry Gilliam did the best he could, and I'd still accept this over "Twilight" any day. (Seriously, you gave "Twilight" a higher rating?) Watch, like and thankyou for reading.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much swearing

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (2):

While performances by Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams are compelling and much of the script is both ambitious and intelligent, overall The Fisher King leaves one disappointed. Director Gilliam (a former member of the Monty Python comedy group) continues his penchant for grand themes and visual complexity, but the disappearance of Perry's psychosis strains credulity. And over and over, the movie indicates that Jack isn't a good guy, even after he seems to have reformed. For that reason, when he yet again attains a degree of humanity at the end, it just doesn't seem believable. Even more disturbing, for more than two hours, this movie seems headed for an unhappy ending, yet it culminates with a tied-in-a-bow happy Hollywood finish.

Most puzzling of all is the mythical story that gives the film its title. The Fisher King, dying and self-pitying, is given water by a kind court fool. Instead of the kind act logically resulting in the fool being rewarded, the king, who was just lying there feeling sorry for himself, suddenly achieves what he has always wanted. That sounds unrealistically Hollywood, too.

Movie Details

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