The Grey

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Grey Movie Poster Image
Bloody wilderness survival story has lots of violence.
  • R
  • 2012
  • 117 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 22 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 37 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The men learn to overcome their false pride and arrogance and to work together. They have major problems to solve, and they continue to press forward, even if, as often as not, they fail.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main character is quiet, distant, sad, and stoic, but he's a born leader. He has educated himself about many things and is able to put those things to use in the name of survival. He makes many tough decisions. He tries to get the men working together, rather than fighting among themselves.


Many characters die; there's lots of blood and some gore. Wolves attack people, and people shoot wolves. There's a huge, scary plane crash shown from inside the plane, followed by the wreckage and gory dead bodies. The main character contemplates suicide in an early scene. There's a brief, frightening dream sequence. People engage in a barroom brawl in an early scene. A character drowns. A character severs the head of a dead wolf and hurls it into the woods.


Lots of sexual innuendo in the men's conversations. The main character has flashbacks to lying in bed with a woman (though they're not naked).


Very strong language includes very frequent use of "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole," as well as "bitch," "fag," "nuts," "d--k," "hell," "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation), "goddamn," and "prick."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters are seen drinking in an early barroom scene. The plane crash survivors drink whatever bottles of alcohol that didn't break in the crash. Some characters are seen smoking. Brief flashbacks to the main character's father, who's said to have had a drinking problem.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Grey -- a wilderness survival movie about oil workers who live through a plane crash in the frozen wild and must avoid being devoured by wolves -- has very strong violence, including death, gore, and blood, plus wolf attacks and a scary plane crash sequence. Though it's an action/adventure movie, it's very much geared for adults. Language is strong, with multiple uses of "f--k" and "s--t," as well as other terms. Sexual innuendo pops up in the men's conversations, though there's no other sex or nudity. And there's some drinking and minor smoking.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bygabe3973 February 14, 2012

People Complaining about to much Violence and Language

HMMMMM! Its rated R. So dont you think its rated R for a reason. 17+ Thats why there is a rating system. PPL complain about to many stupid things.
Adult Written bycommonsenseuseit January 31, 2012

for all you complainers

ok, first off people that complain that ohhh its too violent for kids then why would you bring them? you should first research the movie it clearly tells you it... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old March 10, 2015

Not What I Thought

I Thought it was going to be a great movie but it wasn't it was very disappointing, there is also a lot of unnecessary profanity. Also there is a good bit... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byultrazore April 16, 2020

Death is worth fighting

This film is brutal. The overall theme of death is incredibly harsh, and I would not recommend for those with a weak heart. Personally, I found my self heaving... Continue reading

What's the story?

Withdrawn, sad, and stoic, Ottway (Liam Neeson) works "a job at the end of the world." He's a rifleman for an Alaskan oil drilling station, and it's his responsibility to shoot and kill any wolves that venture anywhere near the workers. A plane taking the men back to Anchorage for a little R&R crashes in the snowy wilderness; only eight survive, including the macho Diaz (Frank Grillo) and Talget (Dermot Mulroney), who has a fear of heights. Unfortunately, they land right in the middle of a den of wolves. Ottway takes the lead and formulates a desperate plan to make for the trees before the wolves attack. But even if they manage to escape those hungry predators, they're still lost ... and very, very cold.

Is it any good?

This film is more focused on raw guts than on deep thoughts. Director Joe Carnahan is probably best known for "guy" movies like Smokin' Aces and The A-Team, but now he has made a movie about men. THE GREY is a good deal more serious than his previous pulpy entertainments, but it's also a good deal less serious than many other man-versus-nature stories -- some of which can tend to get a bit metaphysical (Into the Wild, etc.). Its simple theme isn't so much man-versus-himself but man-versus-wolf.

Neeson is perfect for this kind of material; he's a real grown-up, and he's not boyish. He has a solid acting career behind him, with many acclaimed performances, and he's not an action hero or a special effect. He's refreshingly human and much more effective here than in his last outing with Carnahan, the silly A-Team. His believability -- and fallibility -- as a leader make the drama here work every step of the way.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about The Grey's extreme violence and gore. Does it seem gratuitous, or does it fit in with the story and themes? Does it have more or less impact than what you've seen in horror movies? Why?

  • What's the appeal of the "wilderness survival" genre? How do you think you'd do in a situation like this one?

  • Is the main character a positive role model? Could anything make him a better one?


Movie details

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Themes & Topics

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