Thelma and Louise

  • Review Date: October 24, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1991
  • Running Time: 129 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Now-classic feminist road movie best for very mature teens.
  • Review Date: October 24, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1991
  • Running Time: 129 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

It is important to take control of your own life and determine your own destiny (though the method Thelma and Louise choose is not recommended). At the same time, you must take responsibility for your actions. Women and girls do not have to accept being victimized, nor should they put up with tyrannical or predatory male behavior. Males should be held accountable for any misogynistic or paternalistic conduct.

Positive role models

Over the three-day odyssey portrayed in this film, both Thelma and Louise are transformed from easy targets of male oppression and/or neglect to mistresses of their own fate. They triumph over their victimhood and learn the value of friendship, independence and an indestructible spirit. That said, they engage in lots of illegal and other questionable behavior along the way. With one exception (a sympathetic law enforcement officer), the men are characterized as bullying, exploitive, ignorant, ruthless and/or dishonest.


A violent attempted rape sequence in which one of the two heroines is hit hard, mauled and has her clothes ripped. A fatal point blank shooting. A gun pulled on a police officer, he's forced into the trunk of his car. Lead characters blow up a tanker truck. Numerous car chases, crashes, explosions, and a dramatic suicide.


A sex scene between two consenting adults includes partial rear nudity, kissing, foreplay, and some brief glimpses of sexual activity. Other scenes contain some kissing and embracing between lovers.


Continuous swearing throughout the film. Countless uses of: “f--k" (in many forms), "c--k,” "s--t," “a--hole,” "suck my d--k,” "Goddamn," “Jesus Christ" as an exclamation, “hell,” "bitches,” and more.


Logos for Coca Cola, Thunderbird, Texaco, Chevron, Union Oil, Ryder trucks.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Alcoholic beverages are consumed throughout, including while operating vehicles, and to excess upon numerous occasions. Drunken behavior gets the heroines in trouble early in the film, and they continue drinking as their plight intensifies. Louise is a non-stop smoker. Other characters, including Thelma, smoke frequently as well.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie, which includes a graphic attempted rape, the violent on-camera shooting death of the rapist, further gunplay, suicide, lusty consensual sexual activity between two adults, non-stop strong language ("f--k," etc.), and frequent alcohol consumption and drunkenness is for mature viewers only. In addition, the film’s adult theme involves female oppression at the hands of men and their struggle -- at great cost -- for respect, independence, and free will.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

The titular heroines (or anti-heroines) of this movie are two Arkansas women looking to get away from the men in their lives for a weekend of fun. Before they reach their destination, they stop off for a drink, but, when Thelma (Geena Davis) is almost raped, Louise (Susan Sarandon) shoots the would-be rapist. They then travel across the southwestern United States attempting to avert the law. Thelma and Louise take some rather strong actions against their aggressors throughout their journey, but their plight is not entirely own. Rather, it's expressive of the oppression that many women experience in society. Thelma's husband doesn't listen to her and orders her around like a child; Louise's boyfriend is unwilling to commit and often drunk. Even a male hitchhiker with whom Thelma becomes involved ultimately leaves her after stealing her money. The one redeeming male character may be the sympathetic detective Hal Slocumb (Harvey Keitel) who tries to convince the women to surrender to the law, but his decent efforts are drowned out by the bombast of masculine aggression surrounding the women by the end of the film.

Is it any good?


As polarizing as it was popular, THELMA AND LOUISE made a huge splash when it was originally released in 1991. It's is an updated, feminized version of an outlaw road movie. Still quite potent today, the film's no-holds-barred approach to confronting the subservient position thrust upon females in society hasn't been matched in the time since its release.

Chock full of great performances and dramatic scenes, this is one truly amazing film that crystallizes a moment in feminist social history for all time. However, scenes involving rape, the glorification of suicide, and destruction of property makes this film inappropriate for kids.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about if they think Thelma and Louise's actions were justified given their treatment by men. Why were they reluctant to turn themselves in? What does this movie say about gender politics?

  • Are Thelma and Louise positive role models or not?

  • How did the violence in the film affect you? What about the final scene? Was it exhilarating, depressing, something else?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 24, 1991
DVD release date:September 7, 2004
Cast:Geena Davis, Harvey Keitel, Susan Sarandon
Director:Ridley Scott
Topics:Friendship, Misfits and underdogs
Run time:129 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong language, and for some violence and sensuality

This review of Thelma and Louise was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old May 30, 2010


Loved it.A scene of rape,brief,with partial view of a penis,lots of language including f*** and c***,lots of beer,sensualality,and some violence
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written bylainilala July 27, 2010


What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Adult Written bySeymourB March 13, 2011

Politically correct hate is still hate.

The sexism in this movie pretty much matches the racism in "Birth of a Nation". It reflects the zeitgeist of a time when the mainstream media treated Marxist feminists as unbiased experts on male sexuality and celebrated Lorena Bobbit as something of a folk hero worthy of emulation.


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