A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that kids will see disturbing scenes of a murderer's assault, plus some shooting, stabbing, and bloody fist fighting. The protagonist is forced into numerous life-threatening situations. He survives a bus crash/train wreck and jumps from a dam into raging water.
What's the story?
When THE FUGITIVE begins, it appears that Dr. Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford), a respected vascular surgeon, has killed his wife in their upstairs bedroom. He claims that a one-armed man did it, but the physical evidence isn't in Kimble's favor. Tried and sentenced to death by lethal injection, he's loaded onto a bus with a handful of other convicts being transferred to the Illinois State Penitentiary. The bus never reaches its destination. An uprising causes it to crash and gives Kimble an opportunity. He escapes and, relentlessly tracked by a team led by U.S. Marshal Sam Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones), sets out to clear his name by finding the real culprit.
Is it any good?
Based on the 1960s TV series of the same name, The Fugitive isn't some cheap knockoff. Gripping from the moment it starts, this is a sterling example of how action pictures should be made. Clever storytelling and editing build the suspense. Director Andrew Davis frames Chicago beautifully through panning aerial shots. Throw in a moving score and super tight script and you'll get why it was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. The only use of sensational effects is a train derailment so convincing that you'll suspect the filmmakers crashed a real train to get the footage. They did.
Tommy Lee Jones won an Oscar for his supporting role, and, as Kimble, Harrison Ford is particularly sympathetic. Seeing him tracked cross-country through hospital corridors and a sewer system, we never forget that he's a man devastated by his wife's death. Strange to say about someone fleeing the law, but Kimble can actually serve as a role model of sorts for older kids. A loving husband, a caring surgeon who more than once risks his life to help others in need, he uses his wits to nonviolently steer the law toward the man they're really after. And, Tommy Lee Jones won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: August 6, 1993
- On DVD or streaming: September 25, 1998
- Cast: Harrison Ford, Julianne Moore, Tommy Lee Jones
- Director: Andrew Davis
- Studio: Warner Home Video
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 125 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: murder and other action sequences in an adventure setting
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.