The Gods Must Be Crazy

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The Gods Must Be Crazy Movie Poster Image
Charming family film makes you think; expect some shooting.
  • PG
  • 1984
  • 109 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The benefits of civilization, including technology, laws, and government, aren't always so beneficial to people. A bushman from a remote part of Africa, who's deeply attuned to the plants and animals around him, seems to understand much more about life than the modern people he meets when he ventures out of the desert.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The protagonist, an African bushman from a remote part of the Kalahari desert, frames everything he sees from the perspective of someone who understands nothing of the modern world. In doing so, he demonstrates just how ridiculous, and sometimes even barbaric, "civilization" can be. He's humble and honest, and could teach everyone else in the film a few things about how to be human.


One key part of the plot focuses on an attempted coup in an African nation, including a machine-gun massacre of government officials, followed by a madcap chase scene through the jungle as the rebels flee the army. The climax also includes a protracted gunfight, with schoolchildren caught in the middle.


Some chaste, bumbling flirting and a few scenes show a woman in her underwear as she changes clothes.


The plot is kicked into motion by an errant Coke bottle, which is seen frequently throughout the film.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Gods Must Be Crazy is a charming '80s classic that reveals the follies of the modern world from the perspective of a native Kalahari bushman. There are several gunfights, including a political massacre when guerillas burst into a cabinet meeting and shoot wildly, but the violence has a slapstick quality to it that takes some of the edge off.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 5 and 8-year-old Written byAmanda B. March 18, 2018

Definitely charming and fun. Some issues with violence and stereotypes

My 8-year-old said something about walking to the ends of the earth and I experienced a flashback to this childhood favorite of mine. Successfully dug it out o... Continue reading
Parent of a 12-year-old Written byblueblip December 11, 2020


Unlike the listing says, there is a lot of cultural nudity in the beginning including many topless women. So be prepared. There is also some language like GD, b... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old January 6, 2021

A good movie for family nights

I really love this movie. Me and my dad are always cracking up at some of the scenes, and we like the part where Sam boga says, “tell them Sam boga made a mista... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old October 25, 2020

Excellent movie.

This is an incredibly funny film! There is some peril (a group of kids are held as a sort of ransom) but not much violence. There is a scene where a man, runnin... Continue reading

What's the story?

A pilot absentmindedly drops an empty Coke bottle into the middle of the Kalahari desert, where it's retrieved by a primitive and isolated tribe of bushmen. They've never seen anything like it, and quickly find many helpful uses for this unusual object. But soon, they're fighting over it and one of them decides, for the good of the tribe, that he must take it to the edge of the world (otherwise known as civilization) and get rid of it. He's soon embroiled in a madcap adventure that includes a bumbling anthropologist (Marius Weyers), a new schoolteacher (Sandra Prinsloo), and an attempted coup perpetrated by a dangerous revolutionary.

Is it any good?

Summarizing THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY doesn't do justice to the film. The story contains so many disparate elements that putting them all into the same paragraph seems to make little sense. But the joy of this charming classic is that all the ingredients come together perfectly. The heart of the film is N!xau, who plays the bushman Xi, who displays a childlike sense of wonder and plenty of confusion when confronted with the ridiculous nature of civilization. Once he starts to get a grasp on things, he uses his deep understanding of the natural world to save the day.

The story will have adults and children laughing from start to finish. Even the gunfights have an element of slapstick that makes them seem more comic than dangerous, and ensuring that this is a film that really is good for the whole family.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about modern society. How do you think our world must look to someone, like an isolated bushman, who encounters it for the first time?

  • Do you think the amount of gunfire should exclude this from being considered a family film?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedy

Themes & Topics

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