The Revenant

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Revenant Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Heavy, punishing violence in DiCaprio's revenge Western.
  • R
  • 2015
  • 156 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 26 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 58 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

This is a revenge movie, with no other character traits in evidence other than the hero's dogged pursuit and the villain's greed and cowardice. In the end, the need to see that revenge through to the end personally is questioned.

Positive Role Models & Representations

While Hugh Glass is sympathetic for the way he appreciates nature and doesn't judge people by race -- and his skills as a frontiersman are undoubtedly impressive -- his main role in the film is seeking vengeance.

Violence

Men are shot through with arrows, and various body parts are hit (faces, limbs, etc.). Bloody wounds and gory corpses. A brutal bear attack includes with slamming and biting. Guns and shooting; stabbing. Burning homestead. A woman is killed while her son watches. A woman is raped. Characters are scalped. A character suffers great agony -- cauterizing wounds, starving, etc. Wolves attack a buffalo. Characters eat raw, bloody meat. Characters are hung in nooses from trees. A horse and rider fall over a cliff; a smashed, broken horse corpse is sliced open. Avalanche.

Sex

Brief full-frontal male nudity. Brief innuendo.

Language

"F--k" and "s--t" are used many times, plus "Jesus Christ," the "N" word (in reference to American Indians), "t-ts," "son of a bitch," "piss," "ass," and "balls."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Whisky drinking in a background way.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Revenant is a revenge Western that's full of brutal, punishing violence. The main character (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) overcomes crippling wounds, hunger, cold, and pain to find the man who killed his son; he's often shown in great agony. Characters are also shot with arrows and guns, mauled by bears, and fall over cliffs. Blood, gore, and wounds are shown, as are dead bodies (both human and animal). A woman is raped. Language is also very strong, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," and more. There's a brief moment of full-frontal male nudity, and some whisky drinking is shown.

Wondering if The Revenant is OK for your kids?

Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byChris_Feher April 5, 2020

Gritty, and Worth Your Time

I am not entirely sure why DiCaprio never won an Oscar for this performance, but do not be swayed, this is one of his best. The revenge story has one of the mos... Continue reading
Parent of a 13-year-old Written bynscharn55 March 19, 2020
Teen, 16 years old Written byTom Cruise Fan August 19, 2017

"The Revenant" movie review

"The Revenant" was one of my most anticipated films of 2015 and it did not disappoint at all. This is a great story of a fur trapper who gets abandone... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byHarry.trax March 12, 2017

Excellent movie, has strong brutal violence!

Violence and gore: 5/5
Sex and nudity: 3/5
Language: 4/5
Frightening images and terror: 3/5
Total: 15/20 Age: 17+ For strong brutal violence, gory/bloody... Continue reading

What's the story?

In the early 1800s, a fur-trapping expedition is brutally attacked by American Indians, and leader Henry (Domhnall Gleeson) decides to ditch their haul and return home. The group's survival depends heavily on Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio), an experienced explorer who was once married to a Pawnee woman and had a son, Hawk (Forrest Goodluck), with her. When Glass is brutally mauled by a bear, the greedy, cowardly John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) and young Jim Bridger (Will Poulter) are left behind with Hawk to look after Glass -- and, if he dies, to give him a decent burial. Unfortunately, Fitzgerald kills Hawk and hits the road with Bridger. Against all odds, Glass fights for life until he's able to travel, find Fitzgerald, and exact his revenge.

Is it any good?

This revenge Western boasts a committed performance by DiCaprio and extraordinary cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki. Lubezki -- who also shot The Tree of Life, Gravity, and Birdman -- gives THE REVENANT a fully immersive, dimensional look, with jaw-dropping long takes and strikingly physical realism. And for his part, DiCaprio does punishing work, truly putting himself through the ringer for his art.

For a while, it's easy to be carried away by all of this -- until we realize that Oscar-winning director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu doesn't quite have enough to say and that the movie, at 2 hours and 36 minutes, is an long attempt to add weight and profundity to a pulp Western. Some of the story turns are overly familiar, and the supporting characters are thin. Add to that a high level of sheer brutality, and The Revenant, while well made, certainly isn't for everyone.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about The Revenant's violence. What effect does the brutal, punishing violence have? In what ways is it necessary to the story? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • What's the appeal of revenge stories? What happens when Glass finally reaches the end of his quest? Is it satisfying? What does he accomplish?

  • What's the appeal of the Western genre? Why do you think it's less popular today than it used to be?

  • Glass manages to survive against all odds, injured, in the wilderness. Does that make him inspiring? Do his skills make you want to learn more about survival?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love action and adventure

Our editors recommend

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

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate