The Way of the Gun
By Nell Minow,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Exceptionally violent movie -- not for kids.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Violence & Scariness
Extreme and prolonged violence.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual references and situations, scenes in brothel, adultery.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Very strong language.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking, smoking, and drug use.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is an exceptionally violent movie with a very gory childbirth scene and lots and lots of gunfire. Many characters die brutal deaths. Characters drink, smoke, commit adultery, use profanity, lie, cheat, and steal.
To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Where to Watch
There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.
What's the Story?
THE WAY OF THE GUN centers around a couple of petty criminals named Longbaugh (Benicio del Toro) and Parker (Ryan Phillipe). In a confrontation outside a club, we learn that our heroes are tougher than they are smart. Joe Sarno (James Caan), who is both smart and tough, asks which is the brains of the outfit, and Longbaugh responds honestly, "Tell you the truth I don't think this is a brains kind of operation." They have no ability to think about the risks they are taking, and even if they did it would not matter because they just do not care. Their lack of ability and indifference to the outcome turn out to be their greatest assets when they decide to kidnap a pregnant woman named Robin (Juliette Lewis), a surrogate mother carrying the child of a wealthy couple. The kidnapping and ensuing chase are so badly organized that the experienced bodyguards who escort Robin to the doctor are not able to figure out what they are going to do, and they get away.
Is It Any Good?
Christopher McQuarrie, the screenwriter of the deviously brilliant The Usual Suspects, wrote and directed this bleak, tough-talking story with terrific dialogue. The characters are exceptionally interesting, especially as the story unfolds and there are some surprises in their relationships and history. The performances are outstanding, especially Caan, Taye Diggs as one of the bodyguards, Dylan Kussman as Robin's obstetrician, and Kristen Lehman as the millionaire's trophy wife. McQuarrie shows a sure hand in his first time as director, with a muted color palette, strong rhythm, and effective action sequences.
If only it was held together with a brilliant conclusion, as McQuarrie did in The Usual Suspects. No thrill in the ending here, just a long, long, shoot-out. Longbaugh and Parker are not coincidentally the real names of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and this movie has some resonances with the classic western about two men who ran out of options. But unlike that classic and like McQuarrie's own The Usual Suspects, he doesn't let us care about the protagonists, leaving an empty feeling.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the family and non-family relationships, and how loyalties are -- and are not -- determined. Some family members may have questions about surrogate parenthood and how the biological parents and the mother who carries the child feel about it.
- In theaters: September 8, 2000
- On DVD or streaming: October 23, 2001
- Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Juliette Lewis, Ryan Phillippe
- Director: Christopher McQuarrie
- Inclusion Information: Latinx actors
- Studio: Artisan Entertainment
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 119 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong violence/gore, language and some sexuality
- Last updated: June 2, 2023
Inclusion information powered by
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Thriller Books for Teens
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