The Omega Man

Movie review by
Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media
The Omega Man Movie Poster Image
70s saga has same source as I Am Legend.
  • PG
  • 1971
  • 98 minutes

Parents say

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Kids say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Even though he's a walking Christ metaphor by the end, Robert Neville is portrayed as a cynical, profane soldier-doctor who doesn't seem to even want to try to negotiate a peace with the mutant cult (one character who does is summarily killed anyway). The cast is multicultural, but the script is peppered with then-trendy race-baiting name calling and innuendo.

Violence

Many characters are shot with machine gun, pistol, and sniper-rifle fire; a few are set on fire and run over by vehicles; and one is run through with a spear. A teenage boy is killed (offscreen, but the body is shown). Quick cuts of shriveled, long-dead corpses.

Sex

A few shots of the heroine naked (frontal and side nudity from the waist up), once in bed after sex, another time in a clothing store. References to sexual interludes and birth-control pills. Pinup girl on a wall emphasizes Neville's bachelor status.

Language

Language includes "bastard," "ass," "damn," and an incomplete "motherf--ker." Some derogatory race-based terms ("honky," etc.). One character wears a jacket depicting an obscene gesture.

Consumerism

Car brands and fashions on display. A clip from the rock music documentary Woodstock plays.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Recreational drinking, references to drugs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this last-man-on-Earth saga is pretty grim in the end. It depicts the aftermath of germ warfare, with whole civilian populations dropping dead in their tracks. Violence is frequent and includes much machine-gunning, car-crashing, and stabbing. A bit of the early '70s' "blaxploitation" influence is evident, in both the strong African-American characters and some vintage name-calling ("honky"). A few shots show the heroine nude, and she has a spicy sexual affair with the hero. Language includes "bastard" and "ass"; characters drink and make references to drugs. Although it's rated PG, that rating was given before PG-13 existed; it would warrant the higher rating today.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Kid, 12 years old May 14, 2013

A Great Remake

This is a remake of The Last Man On Earth, which is based on the book I Am Legend. I think their about equally good. This definately would've gotten a PG 1... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old February 25, 2011

omega ma rating

I love old movies. but it should be pg-13 for lots of hitting and gun fighting

What's the story?

In the post-apocalyptic "future" of 1977, a missile battle between the USSR and China tainted the planet with man-made plague bacteria, killing billions of people and leaving the rest to slowly turn into semi-psychotic albino mutants. The one disease-free survivor is hard-charging Robert Neville (Charlton Heston), a former army doctor who injected himself with an experimental vaccine. Neville uses the deserted U.S. city as his own personal playground, driving new cars and cranking up a movie theater projector to watch films alone. But after dark, it's serious business. The light-fearing mutants and their leader Matthias (Anthony Zerbe) are on a quasi-religious mission to destroy all technology; to them, Neville represents the civilization that brought on this calamity. They attack his fortified home every night, which he defends with guns and firebombs.

Is it any good?

Despite the dated fashions and style, the film -- based on the same Richard Matheson novel that inspired 2007's I Am Legend -- still has some punch. When Neville experiments with his own blood as a cure, the movie edges toward turning him into a Christ-like figure. That said, as played by rugged icon Heston, Neville is a macho man who doesn't shy away from fights and dives eagerly into a love affair with a female survivor. She's played by an African-American actress -- very progressive for the day but also carries a bit of "blaxploitation" movie baggage.

Still, even though some viewers consider it laughable, there's enough about The Omega Man to make it a compelling vision of what happens after the world ends, and less-jaded younger viewers might find it worth viewing and discussing.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Hollywood's fascination with post-apocalyptic stories. Do you think a situation like the one in the movie could ever really happen? Which is scarier -- a movie like this or a slasher horror flick with fountains of blood? Why? Families can also discuss Matthias' followers' grudge against technology. Does it still seem like a relevant issue today? Families who've read Richard Matheson's source novel or seen either of the other movies it inspired -- 1964's The Last Man on Earth and 2007's I Am Legend -- can compare the different versions. How are they different or the same?

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