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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
If you steal from thieves it's OK. It's not honorable to squeal on co-conspirators. The game is rigged by the big guys against the little guys. Banks are dishonest and take advantage of those who aren't rich and powerful.
Positive Role Models
Willis is supposedly the brains of the operation, but his planning is slapdash and he makes big changes at the last moment, which leads to disaster. He believes that stealing is OK if it's from bad guys, as long as he decides who the bad guys are. The brothers value family loyalty above the law or, sometimes, good sense.
Violence & Scariness
A bank robber gets shot in the face by a member of his gang who panics. Blood is seen. A cowboy bites a horse's ear. A Native American is kept out of a bar because he isn't white, so he buys the bar. The Newtons and cohorts use nitroglycerin to blow open safes.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Dancers wear bras and short skirts as they perform in saloons and speakeasies. Willis falls in love with Louise. The brothers swim nude in a river. Most are seen from the chest up, but one does a back flip. A man kisses a woman in a car.
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"Bastard," "s--t," "bitch," "hell," "fruity," "fart," "douche bag."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults smoke cigarettes, chew tobacco, and drink alcohol.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Newton Boys is a 1998 feature by director Richard Linklater. It's an affectionate recounting of the life and times of the Newton Boys, four real-life bank- and train-robbing Texas cowboys. They achieved 1924 infamy when they were caught after robbing a federal postal train carrying millions. Although they carried guns during the robberies, they never killed anyone. The most violent scene here involves a non-family gang member mistakenly shooting one of the Newtons, seriously but not fatally. Blood is seen. Dancing girls are seen in a saloon wearing bras and short skirts, and characters smoke cigarettes, chew tobacco, and drink alcohol. Expect to hear "s--t," "bastard," and "bitch." 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 greatest appeal of THE NEWTON BOYS is the collective charm of its four handsome young leads, wearing pretty costumes and having a good ol' time with Texas accents, shotguns, and cowboy hats. Otherwise the movie often feels as if it's meandering from one fact-based event to another, without much regard for how it ought to instead add up to an artfully told, well-constructed story. Willis' romance with Louise (the wasted Julianna Margulies) feels strained and irrelevant, with McConaughey expressing vacant-eyed love and Margulies smiling, the entire relationship completely devoid of any discernible chemistry.
While this is neither a drama nor a comedy, it wants to be both, like the two far superior movies it recalls, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting. Perhaps the filmmakers felt constrained by a desire to adhere to actual historical events. If only they could have found a way to do that and still move the action along in a more disciplined and less plodding manner. It feels like it's at least a solid half-hour too long.
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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