The Punisher Movie Poster Image

The Punisher

Bad big screen adaptation of comic book.

What parents need to know


Extreme violence with graphic injuries, many characters killed, including a child, attempted suicide. Intense and graphic violence.


Some brief nudity.


Some very strong language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Character abuses alcohol, reference to alcoholism, smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has intense and graphic violence with many characters killed, including the Punisher's parents, wife, and child. Characters are tortured and beaten. A character attempts suicide. Characters drink (and Castle abuses alcohol). They also smoke and use bad language.

What's the story?

Based on the comic book, THE PUNISHER centers on heroic undercover agent Frank Castle (Thomas Jane). The target in his last big case unexpectedly brings a friend along to the takedown, and when things go wrong, the friend is killed. It turns out he was the son of big-time bad guy Howard Saint (John Travolta), whose wife orders the slaughter of Castle's whole family, conveniently all vacationing together on an island. Castle himself is attacked and badly wounded, but the explosion that is supposed to finish him off blows him to safety. But a quick montage later he is a lean, mean revenge machine with a newly low and growly voice. He moves into a crummy apartment building and devotes all his time to drinking and orchestrating the destruction of everything Saint cares about.

Is it any good?


Translating tone and pacing from the pages of a comic book to the screen is tricky, and this second attempt to turn the story of comic hero The Punisher into a movie Punisher fails. The revenge is too elaborate to be viscerally satisfying, slowing the story down. And it is not intricate enough to be intellectually satisfying, too dependent on a highly improbable chain of events all coming together at just the right moment for everything to work.

Jane gives his character notes of desolation and hunger for justice, and he has what it takes to hold the screen. But Travolta's villain is never more than a posturing despot. John Pinette, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, and Ben Foster are appealing but superfluous as neighbors who befriend Castle. The fight scenes are well-staged but so brutal that they throw the thin plot out of balance. The pacing is poor. It takes much too long to get to the massacre of Castle's family, then the slaughter itself is dragged out unnecessarily and then it is reprised even more unnecessarily.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the risks that undercover law enforcers take and what they can do to protect their families. How can good memories save your life? Families could also talk about the line between justice and vengeance. What is the answer to TK's question about what makes Castle different from Saint? What does it mean to say "if you want peace, prepare for war?"

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 15, 2004
DVD/Streaming release date:September 6, 2004
Cast:Ben Foster, John Travolta, Thomas Jane
Director:Jonathan Hensleigh
Studio:Artisan Entertainment
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:pervasive brutal violence, language and brief nudity

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Teen, 14 years old Written byHorusTheAvenger June 9, 2015

Punisher is a good flick

This is a good movie. However, you have to know yourself/your kid if you want to watch it. There is a lot of violence, even though little of it is bloody. Also, there are some off-screen torture scenes, such as when one guy gets his piercings ripped out. Very little sex, with some making out and a topless woman, but the latter only lasts a few seconds. Characters smoke and drink a lot, especially the main. Maybe 7 or so F bombs. If you or your kid can handle it, I would recommend "The Punisher."
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written bybradley4846 August 30, 2009

No Kids, Why?

This movie has to be the best marvel movie out. It is extremely violent (but there is really no blood), it would pobably be PG-13 if it wasnt for the language (4-6 f words, and other minor words). There is also very brief nudity, and something about cheating. I do have to say, i was more shocked with what i saw in "G.I. Joe", then this.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Adult Written byckallan April 9, 2008