The Hurricane

  • Review Date: May 12, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 146 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Denzel dazzles in biopic of imprisoned boxer.
  • Review Date: May 12, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 146 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Violence

Boxing matches, shooting in a bar, knife fight.

Sex

Non-explicit potrayal of child molester, some non-sexual nudity.

Language

Strong, including racial epithets.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Social drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has boxing matches, shooting in a bar, and a knife fight. There is also some strong language, including racial epithets. There is also a non-explicit potrayal of child molester, some non-sexual nudity, and social drinking.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In this biopic, Denzel Washington portrays Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, who triumphed over a brutal childhood to become a contender for the middleweight boxing championship, through pure determination. The story follows Carter's harrowing experience as he's wrongfully sentenced to three life terms for murders he did not commit, then uses the same discipline, integrity, and ineradicable sense of dignity that served him as a fighter to survive in prison. In a side-story, a boy named Lasra Martin, living in Canada with people who took him in to provide him with an opportunity to get a better education, buys his first book for twenty-five cents. It is Carter's book written in prison, The Sixteenth Round. Lasra writes his first letter. Carter answers. They develop a close relationship, and Lasra introduces Carter to his Canadian friends, who become so committed to him that they move to New Jersey, vowing not to leave until he goes with them. They uncover new evidence, the lawyers develop a new theory, and finally, 20 years later, Carter is freed.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Denzel Washington's dazzling portrayal as Carter makes us see the man's courage and heart. And the astounding story of chance, loyalty, and dedication that led to his release gives us a chance to see true heroism and redemption. The devotion of the Canadians and the lawyers is truly heroic and very moving -- the movie gently contrasts them with the celebrities who stopped by long enough to get their photographs taken, and then moved on to other causes.

But, contrary to many "victims of racism saved by righteous white people" movie portrayals, the real hero of this story is Carter himself. In his first days in prison, locked in "the hole" for refusing to wear a prison uniform, we see him forging the steel that will keep his essence free, no matter how many locks are on the door. Then, in scenes that are almost unbearably moving, we see that he can still allow himself to hope and to need others. He has protected himself from despair and bitterness in refusing to be a victim.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the struggles for racial equality in the 1960's and 1970's, and about what has and has not changed. And they can also talk about the way that Carter keeps his spirit alive, in part by identifying himself with prisoners of conscience like Nelson Mandela and Emile Zola, and by writing, "a weapon more powerful than my fists can ever be."

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 9, 2000
DVD release date:July 11, 2000
Cast:Denzel Washington, John Hannah, Liev Schreiber
Director:Norman Jewison
Studio:Universal Pictures
Genre:Drama
Run time:146 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language and violence

This review of The Hurricane was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 12 years old August 5, 2013
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Great

Amazing nowhere near as inappropriate as another boxing movie, raging bull. There's a lot of language and other content, but it is worthy of the many academy awards it was up for.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Parent Written byashute May 22, 2012
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

OK to watch and discuss with a teen

I watched this movie with my 14 year old son. I felt that it provided an opening to a conversation about racism and some background for current societal conversations that kids today can't understand because they've never seen real racism. I agree that the language is a little raw, but no worse than he hears on the school bus. The racial epithets became part of the conversation of how different groups have been treated. Besides, this is a good, entertaining movie and the first few minutes have some of the best boxing footage ever.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Common Sense Kids Action