Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

Personalized picks at your fingertips

Get the mobile app on iOS and Android

Parents' Guide to

The Legend of Cocaine Island

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Offbeat docu has lots of drug talk, profanity.

Movie NR 2019 83 minutes
The Legend of Cocaine Island Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 18+

Based on 1 parent review

age 18+

very bad

It has too much stuff about cocaine

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (1 ):

This peculiar documentary will amuse some and annoy others. Near the end of The Legend of Cocaine Island, the judge who presides over the case of Rodney Hyden describes Hyden's actions as "Walter Mitty meets Breaking Bad." As one of the only people in the documentary who comes off as levelheaded and sane, this judge accurately sums up this strange story. The action takes place in Florida, and Hyden -- as a businessman down on his luck after the 2008 recession -- is representative of the men who so often appear in the tragicomic news stories that originate from the Sunshine State.

The problem with the documentary is that this offbeat tale doesn't really have enough to sustain it into a feature-length film. And one gets the sense that even the filmmaker, deep down, knows this to be true -- hence all of the reenactments and excessive interview footage. There's also something suspect about using Hyden himself in these reenactments. Furthermore, while the documentary explores deeper themes, such as entrapment and the American Dream after the 2008 financial crash, the glaring omission here is the foregone conclusion that if Hyden had not been white, this documentary would have been a lot less of an amusing tale. Nonetheless, at its best, The Legend of Cocaine Island is up there with Errol Morris' Vernon, Florida in terms of accurately revealing the eccentrics and dreamers who help give Florida that extra dash of peculiarity lacking in the rest of America.

Movie Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

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.

See how we rate