Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn (2014)

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn (2014) Movie Poster Image
Lackluster version of classic Twain tale has some violence.
  • PG-13
  • 2014
  • 91 minutes

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Sometimes being honest takes great courage. It's important to admit mistakes and learn from them. Being eager for adventure and disobeying rules can lead to unexpected danger.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Despite seeming naughty and reckless and even lying on the witness stand, Tom proves himself honest, brave, and resourceful. Tom and Huck are young teens who make their own rules and, in doing so, often find trouble; they become experts at narrow escapes and getting out of bad situations. Primary villain is "Injun Joe," an evil, cruel Native American.

Violence

Tom and Huck endure lots of scares and danger: They watch from the shadows as a man is stabbed to death; are chased by a vengeful villain on foot and on horseback; get lost in a cave; are held at gunpoint. Tom is choked in a dream, attacked by bats, and sees a villain throw a knife and shoot a man. Bodies and skeletons appear, sometimes startling the heroes. 

Sex

Tom has a crush on Becky Thatcher, hesitantly kisses her.

Language

"Hell," "damn," "dammit."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Young teen Huck smokes a corncob pipe in several scenes; Tom takes a puff once. References are made to several adult males as "drunks." A man referred to as a drunk is accused of murder. A celebratory scene shows townsfolk drinking and being drunk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn (2014) is a live-action reimagining of Mark Twain's classic novel. After witnessing a murder in the town graveyard one late night, young teens Tom and Huck embark on a series of adventures and misadventures as they protect themselves from the killer, find a buried treasure, and fall in love (well, one of them does). Suspense and violence accompany the intrepid boys' odyssey: a shooting, a stabbing, chases, narrow escapes, and more. Though the boys are fearless, dishonest mischief-makers at the onset, they learn important lessons about integrity, responsibility, and justice. There is some adult drinking and drunkenness, and Huck smokes a corncob pipe. Filmmakers have made an effort to avoid controversy by leaving out racial epithets found in Twain's spirited novel. There is mild profanity ("hell" and "damn").

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 3, 6, and 8 year old Written byelisabetht July 15, 2016

Don't waster your time...

From the start the movie was very stilted and unprofessional-feeling. Val Kilmer's accent was seriously over the top (though it did seem to somewhat impro... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bymacyj025 September 22, 2018

This is such a good movie!

I never really loved reading the book, but after reading it I saw that there was a movie. I love this movie so much and I watch it all the time! It is so intere... Continue reading

What's the story?

Val Kilmer as Mark Twain spins his classic 1876 tale to two young kids eager to hear about the legendary TOM SAWYER & HUCKLEBERRY FINN and learn about the wondrousness of the Mississippi River. Orphan Tom (Joel Courtney in a natural, warmhearted performance) sneaks out one night with Huck, his best friend and co-troublemaker. Testing their courage at the town's dark cemetery, the boys are witness to a cruel murder, narrowly escape detection, and vow never to reveal what they've seen. Their promise to one another is tested when the boys find out that the deadly Injun Joe has blamed the killing on an innocent man. Before the boys can make things right, a series of events finds them on the trail of buried treasure and in increasing danger from the villainous Joe. It's a wild ride with Tom and Huck. 

Is it any good?

Writer-director Jo Kastner is earnest in his efforts to bring this classic to life. The narration by Val Kilmer as Mark Twain adds heart and insight to the story. Many of the book's iconic moments have been retained: whitewashing Aunt Polly's fence, Tom attending his own funeral, his budding romance with Becky Thatcher. The Mississippi River is captured as the lifeblood of the surrounding country. Unfortunately, too many aspects of the production are amateurish and clumsy. With the exception of Kilmer, most of the adult actors are weak and stilted. Though the river shots evoke Twain's vision, other sets and action pieces reveal the film's budgetary restraints. Twain's book is deserving of a great movie; sadly, this one doesn't fill the bill. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the pact between Tom and Huck when they swear not to tell what they've seen. What reasons did they have for making the agreement? What reasons did Tom have for breaking it? Did you agree with his decision?

  • Some have been critical of this story because Injun Joe, a Native American character, is depicted as evil; others are more accepting of the story and its potential racism because the tale was written in 1876 when the U.S. was different. What is your opinion? Do standards and ethics change over time? Can racism ever be thought of as acceptable because it was a product of a particular time and place?  

  • Read Mark Twain's classic The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Do you think the filmmakers captured the spirit and intent of the original? Why, or why not?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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

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 and learning potential.

Learn how we rate