A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The message is rather dubious, because the law doesn't necessarily provide true justice, so ultimately the Lone Ranger decides to work outside law enforcement. Tonto and John do form a brotherhood of sorts and, despite all their bickering, have each other's back again and again.
Positive Role Models
The Reid brothers are both upstanding, moral men who believe in what they do: Dan as a Texas Ranger and John as an attorney and man of the law. Tonto is dedicating to righting the wrong that led to the deaths of so many of his tribe. He helps the Lone Ranger again and again, though they do work outside of standard channels/procedures. Rebecca, Dan's wife, is the opposite of a damsel in distress. She displays courage and bravery throughout the film.
Violence & Scariness
More violence than you might expect, and some of it is pretty close up. Villain Butch Cavendish not only shoots people, but he's also known for eating their body parts. Audiences watch as he slices a man's stomach open and then holds his victim's heart in his hands. In silhouette, he's then shown eating the heart. There are lots of explosions, and the body count is quite high. A group of white (and one Mexican) outlaws dresses up like Native Americans and terrorizes people using arrows, burning down homes, etc. Butch's crew kills people -- usually with guns. The Army fights Native Americans, sparing no one. A woman is kept as a hostage and slapped/pushed/threatened. Butch alludes to rape when threatening her. Men are scalped and blown to pieces and drowned; horses are shot and killed in battle. A young man lies and says that Tonto and the Ranger threatened to "violate" him. A boy holds a gun on a man who's threatening his mother, and a boy is slapped in the face by a man. There's also a very startling scene in which seemingly cute bunnies turn ferocious.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple of kisses and a passionate embrace. A scene takes place in a brothel, but nothing too risque is shown other than women dressed in cleavage-baring corsets.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Native Americans are referred to as "savages," "Injuns," and "heathens"; other insults and exclamations include "hell," "harlot," "damn," "drunks," "ass," "oh my God," and "idiot."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
No product placements in the movie, but there are plenty of off-screen endorsement deals, from LEGO sets targeted at kids 9+ to promotions at Subway restaurants.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink from jugs and wine glasses. A couple of men smoke cigars (accurate for the era).
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Lone Ranger is a reboot of the famous TV show and film serials about a lawman-turned-vigilante and his trusty Native American sidekick, Tonto. Only in Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski's take, Tonto (Johnny Depp) isn't merely a secondary character -- he's the story's guide, catalyst, and narrator. There's a surprising amount of violence -- not just the body count, but also persistent references to cannibalism (including a scene of a man's heart being cut out and eaten, albeit partially in shadow) and rape. (Some of the scary scenes are interrupted by flash-forwards, relieving the intensity, but things still get tense.) The language is mild, as is the sexuality (although one scene does take place in a brothel, and a supporting player is a madam), and the drinking is done by adults. A kid holds a gun to a man who's threatening his mother's life, and the lesson that sometimes the law can't provide true justice takes a bit of discussion. On the plus side, Depp has said he is in fact of Native American heritage and had the support of several Native American groups in his portrayal of Tonto. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The problem with The Lone Ranger is that it's a strange hybrid of politically correct Western and mindless popcorn fodder that somehow manages to take itself far too seriously. On a purely nostalgic level, there's something viscerally entertaining about hearing Rossini's iconic "William Tell Overture" and seeing Depp and Hammer get the bad guys (and laughing as Tonto tells the Lone Ranger never to say "Hi-yo, Silver, away!" again). Full points to Disney and Depp for reimagining Tonto as a sarcastic guide with an emotional backstory and for reaching out to the Native American community to assure them that Tonto wouldn't be reduced to a minstrel act. Depp's Tonto is incredibly clever and wise, albeit seemingly incapable of more than one facial expression.
Of course there's humor and plenty of extravagant set pieces the likes of which only a Depp and Verbinski production financed by Jerry Bruckheimer could afford. But there's also an overly complicated plot line that might confuse tweens (not to mention far more violence -- cannibalism! rape references!) than you'd expect in a movie with LEGO tie-ins) and a rather bland Ranger who's a lot less compelling than his dead brother (Dale deserves a leading role, stat) and, of course, the scenery chewing (and crow-feeding) Tonto. It doesn't seem like the start of a beautiful franchise, but where there's explosions and Johnny Depp in a costume, you never know.
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.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
Best Action Movies for Kids
Excellent Adventure Movies for Family Fun
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