The Hurricane Movie Poster Image

The Hurricane



Denzel dazzles in biopic of imprisoned boxer.
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 146 minutes

What parents need to know


Boxing matches, shooting in a bar, knife fight.


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


Strong, including racial epithets.

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.

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?


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/Streaming release date:July 11, 2000
Cast:Denzel Washington, John Hannah, Liev Schreiber
Director:Norman Jewison
Studio:Universal Pictures
Run time:146 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language and violence

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byashute May 22, 2012

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
Adult Written byclarence August 4, 2015
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 12 years old August 5, 2013


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