The Lone Ranger

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
The Lone Ranger Movie Poster Image
Hi-ho, Silver! '50s-style Western gunplay abounds.
  • NR
  • 1956
  • 83 minutes

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

This film is meant to entertain, not educate.

Positive Messages

Peace is always preferable to war when trying to settle differences between different groups of people.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The Lone Ranger serves as a peacemaker between the Native Americans and the ranchers of the territory. He does his good deeds without calling attention to himself, preferring that his identity remain secret. Tonto's character was a positive representation of Native Americans in the show's original era, but would be considered a stereotypical depiction today.

Violence & Scariness

Lots of standard 1950s cowboys-and-Indians fighting. Gunplay, rifleplay, bow-and-arrowplay, dynamite, fistfights, and Tonto nearly gets strung up and hung by angry townsfolk. Characters are shot and killed at far and close range, and in one instance, a character is shot and killed and then trampled by a herd of cattle.

Sexy Stuff
Language

White characters call Native Americans "redskins."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Wine is shown at a dinner party. A character smokes a cigar on the front porch after dinner.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this epitome of 1950s Western films for the younger set is filled with battle scenes on horseback, including a few deaths by gunshot. Native Americans speak broken English most would find offensive today. The friendship between the Lone Ranger and Tonto attempts to challenge the typical good guy/bad guy movie scenario where Cowboys and Indians are at odds.

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What's the story?

The Lone Ranger (Clayton Moore) and Tonto (Jay Silverheels) must work as peacemakers to stop a seemingly inevitable war between the Native Americans and the white settlers of a western territory. After ranchers selfishly ride their cattle through land set aside for the Indian reservation and Native Americans steal cattle from the ranchers, the territorial governor meets with The Lone Ranger hoping he can avoid war so he can go to Congress and request statehood.

Is it any good?

If you're interested in seeing a film that epitomizes all things Western before the 1960s, this installment of THE LONE RANGER is hard to top. Fast-paced action, archetypal characters who occasionally veer into stereotypes, greedy cattleranchers, wise Native American chiefs, vengeful young braves, along with battles with guns, rifles, arrows, and even dynamite, make this an engaging 83 minutes.

As a Western, it has pretty much all the tropes of the genre except a climactic shootout and a saloon-clearing fistfight. For parents and grandparents who grew up with The Lone Ranger, this is an exciting way to introduce the character and his trusty sidekick Tonto to younger viewers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about "good guys" and "bad guys" in movies. Why is it more difficult to tell who is who in this film? Do all stories need good guys and bad guys?

  • What kinds of stereotypes can you identify in this movie? How would this story be portrayed differently today?

  • How accurately do you think this depicts the realities of a Western Territory in the nineteenth century?

Movie details

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