The Legend of Tarzan

Movie review by
Yvonne Condes, Common Sense Media
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Poster Image
Tarzan returns to the jungle in violent action-adventure.
  • PG-13
  • 2016
  • 109 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 18 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 23 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Messages of loyalty and friendship throughout the movie. Never forget where you came from or abandon the people, animals, or the land. Courage and empathy are consistent themes. Clearly casts colonialism as bad and questions the "eye for an eye" mentality.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Tarzan is reluctant to go home, but he immediately agrees when there's a rumor of slavery. He's very loyal to his gorilla family and to the jungle animals, but that same loyalty leads him to kill. Jane is steadfast, independent, and strong-willed and doesn't wait around to be rescued. George Washington Williams risks his life to save the people of the Congo. Leon Rom and his men are mercenaries who kill many people in terrible ways.

Violence

Characters are killed by choking, swords, arrows, and bullets/guns (at least one point-blank), many during battle scenes. Dead soldiers are strung up on poles. Tarzan's parents are killed (his father is beaten to death), and he's taken by a gorilla. As a boy, Tarzan is threatened by screaming gorillas as he lies in fetal position. Mercenaries invade a village and shoot and kill the chief. A village is burned down, and villagers are killed or taken. Images of suffering slaves, including abuse. Men are seen shackled in a crowded train car. Flashback (possible spoiler) to Tarzan's gorilla mother being killed and Tarzan killing a teen boy in revenge. Tarzan fights a gorilla hand to hand (suffering injuries) and is beaten by gorillas while saving Jane. Ants suck the blood out of Tarzan's injured shoulder. Gorillas are shot. Men are trampled to death by herds of animals. Tarzan is nearly strangled to death with a rosary. A man is eaten alive by crocodiles.

Sex

Tarzan and Jane kiss passionately a few times. When Tarzan meets Jane, he sniffs and touches her. He's naked, but nothing sensitive is shown. After they're married, they appear to have sex, but it's not explicit (nudity is implied). Inappropriate priest joke.

Language

Language is relatively infrequent but includes "s--t," "ass," "bastard," "damn," "hell," "Christ Almighty" (as an exclamation), and the "N" word. In one scene, Williams jokingly asks if he should "lick his nuts," when referring to a dominant gorilla.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink wine, beer, and homemade liquor.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Legend of Tarzan follows a grown-up Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard) back to the jungle after a decade of living in society with his wife, Jane (Margot Robbie). The reluctant hero is talked into helping George Washington Williams (Samuel L. Jackson) expose the mistreatment of the Congolese people. Expect plenty of brutal action violence: The movie starts out with an intense battle that leaves many dead, and there are scenes of shooting, people being slaughtered, very loud gorillas attacking people, and children and animals in peril. Tarzan loses his parents when he's a young boy (which could bother kids); he later fights both people and gorillas, and characters die. Older tweens and teens may appreciate this take on Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan novels, while younger viewers may find it too scary. There's also some swearing (including "s--t" and "ass"), drinking, passionate kissing, and a non-graphic sex scene.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byDan G. July 3, 2016

Quite violent and some bad langauge. Anti-Catholic messages.

As CSM states, the movie is quite violent throughout. Battle scenes show people being killed, and there are other slaughters. There is also some instances of... Continue reading
Adult Written byKhgfdhgkgchydtktduut July 1, 2016
Teen, 13 years old Written bychloe_was_here_ August 3, 2016

Legend of Tarzan

So I went and watched this with my brother's girlfriend and my little sister. My sister is 11, and I honestly don't know if it was the BEST idea to ta... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byPhoebehoang August 5, 2016

Story line hard to follow

The storyline was very hard to follow and we couldn't tell what was happening. Also it was VERY unrealistic and not very amusing.

What's the story?

At the start of THE LEGEND OF TARZAN, it's been 10 years since John Clayton (Alexander Skarsgard) was known as Tarzan -- he's been living a cushy English life for the last decade as Lord Greystoke, with his loving wife, Jane (Margot Robbie). But he's lured back to the jungle as part of a plot by the evil envoy to King Leopold, Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz), and to find out whether the rumors of slavery in the Congo are true. Then, once Jane is taken hostage, Tarzan must do everything he can to save her.

Is it any good?

This loud, violent, action-packed adventure isn't for young kids, and it's not nearly as good as the recent update of The Jungle Book, either in terms of story or visual effects. That said, The Legend of Tarzan does offer a different take on Edgar Rice Burroughs' classic story -- there's greater prominence to the local people, their society, and their points of view. Tarzan isn't just saving them, he's helping them. And Jane isn't just there to be rescued: She's fighting to escape as much as Tarzan is trying to save her. It's exciting, and some of the scenes in the jungle are impressive, but it's all just a little much at times.

Skarsgard's Tarzan doesn't say much, as you might imagine, but the actor plays the strong, quiet type just fine. Samuel L. Jackson is fun as Tarzan's gun-toting sidekick George Washington Williams -- a character who's based on a real person who spent the last years of his life fighting for the rights of people of the Congo -- but he's playing Samuel L. Jackson. Like many in the film, his speech is far too contemporary to make any sense anywhere in the 1800s. Robbie, while also very likeable, similarly seems too modern for the film.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about The Legend of Tarzan's violence. How does it compare to what you might see in a superhero or shoot-'em-up action movie? Do all kinds of media violence have the same impact?

  • Which characters are role models? Why? How does this version of Jane compare to others you might have seen in different movies based on the Tarzan story?

  • How do the characters demonstrate courage and empathy? Why are those important character strengths?

  • Why do you think Tarzan doesn't want to go back to the jungle after living in society for so long? How has he changed?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love adventures

Our editors recommend

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

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate