Twilight Zone: The Movie

  • Review Date: May 22, 2010
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 1983
  • Running Time: 101 minutes

Common Sense Media says

TV show is much better; some mature themes, violence.
  • Review Date: May 22, 2010
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 1983
  • Running Time: 101 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Racism is bad, sums up the first segment. The second segment teaches that age (or youth) is really a state a mind. In the third segment, we see that vast superpowers can make an innocent boy into a menace -- but not necessarily an evil menace.

Positive role models

There is an obnoxious racist-loudmouth white protagonist in the first segment, straightaway and brutally punished for his outlook. A black man in the second segment symbolizes wisdom and kindness, especially in matters of old age. Anthony, the boy with all-powerful and dangerous psychic mojo, is shown to be a nice kid who just needs some guidance.

Violence

Lots of gunfire, blood when a character is shot and wounded. An attempted hanging, a grenade explosion. A character wished into "cartoon land" is devoured, apparently fatally, by an animated monster. Hand-to-hand scuffling and the worst sort of "air rage" on a plane.

Sex

A rejuvenated senior citizen excitedly mentions "sex," with no details.

Language

The s-word once, "Jesus," "Goddammit," "pissed," "bastard," "nuts," a collection of racial epithets, heavy on the n-word and "gooks."

Consumerism

A Nike sweatshirt. A trivia game involves various old TV shows, and there are glimpses of the quiz show Jeopardy! and classic Warner Brothers cartoons. A vintage Polaroid instant camera figures in the plot.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Smoking, social drinking, ingestion of sedatives.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that certain segments in this fantasy anthology contain acts of violence. In the first narrative in particular, racially-tinged acts of brutality and intimidation (and verbal racist slurs) get to be practically nonstop. Horrific elements include a sneering, demon-like monster and some grotesque creatures inspired by cartoon characters. There is some light swearing, smoking and drinking, and taking of sedative pills. There's also some don't-try-this-at-home reckless driving.

Parents say

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Kids say

What's the story?

The revered TV half-hour The Twilight Zone, which originally aired 1959-65 and told different sci-fi and fantasy-tinged morality plays each week, inspired this big-budget movie anthology. Three parts remake favorite TZ episodes, but the first is original, about a bigoted businessman (Vic Morrow), ranting about losing a job promotion to a Jew, who instantly finds himself knocked about the whole 20th century, suffering the same persecutions as blacks in the Jim Crow South, Jews in the Holocaust, and Indochinese during the Vietnam War. The second story has a magical visitor (Scatman Crothers) to an old-folks home, giving the seniors a chance to start life over as six-year-olds -- if they want to. In the third tale a stranger stumbles into the captive household of Anthony (Jeremy Licht), a cartoon-crazed kid with awesome psychic powers to make his every whim come true, but who isn't truly happy. In the finale, a computer scientist (John Lithgow) with a crippling fear of flying is on a storm-tossed airliner when he sees a sadistic monster outside, seemingly tearing up the wing.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Despite Hollywood's biggest directors involved, TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE mainly is sad trivia: the feature in which Vic Morrow (and two child actors) died in a freak accident, perishing beneath a crashing helicopter while filming the Vietnam section. None of that appears in the disappointing segment itself, a one-note bashing of a nasty guy. Episodes seem to have arranged to get better as they go along (which was smart). Steven Spielberg's gentle but so-so episode of golden-agers turning young is unusually modest for the spectacle-inclined filmmaker, but this would be done so much better in Cocoon. Joe Dante's quirky take on the poor-little-all-powerful-boy Anthony (actually a re-filming of a famed short story "It's a Good  Life") is clever, if a little fixated on f/x. The gangbusters last story, done by George Miller, is the best (though never likely to be shown as an in-flight movie), but an awkward framing device (guest starring Dan Aykroyd) recurs to remind what a haphazard construct the whole feature is.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about which stories they liked best and why.

  • Discuss Anthony, the little boy who is all-powerful. Ask kids what they would be like if they could make anything happen.

  • Video compilations of the original Twilight Zone exist, and some episodes got big-budget remakes here. Treat this as an opportunity to get kids to watch the black-and-white classic.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 23, 1983
DVD release date:October 9, 2007
Cast:Albert Brooks, Burgess Meredith, Dan Aykroyd, John Laroquette, John Lithgow, Kathleen Quinlan, Kevin McCarthy, Nancy Cartwright, Scatman Crothers, Vic Morrow
Directors:George Miller, Joe Dante, John Landis, Steven Spielberg
Studio:Warner Home Video
Genre:Fantasy
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Run time:101 minutes
MPAA rating:PG

This review of Twilight Zone: The Movie was written by

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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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Quality

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; OK 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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Teen, 17 years old Written byChristopherGraham January 3, 2015
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Twilight Zone: The Movie by Christopher Graham

I thought that this film was a pretty decent and surprising movie to sit through. I loved the premise, the cast, and the direction of each segment. The first two segments (directed by John Landis and Steven Spielberg) were so predictable and so boring that I feel that these two don't strongly agree to us that we have really entered into another world like the television show did by its incredible writing and purposes. The last two segments (directed by Joe Dante and George Miller) were so pointed and so much better than the other two because these two fully describe to us that we have entered into the 5th dimension, the right way. Overall, I thought this movie was really good thanks to the last two segments and of course the prologue with Dan Aykroyd and Albert Brooks. I believe that this particular movie is not for little kids based on its scary moments but I strongly recommend this movie for older teens and even adults, if they are fans of the original show.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byRydog2013 October 12, 2013
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Twilight Zone The Movie

I am 12 and when I watched this movie I wasn't really scared, the only part that was a bit freaky was when you could see the gremlin really up close in segment 4. I am not a Twilight Zone fan (yet) but I thought this movie is pretty good (this is coming from someone that has nightmares when he watches the trailer of nightmare on elm street) but I think this movie would be fine for kids 12 and up.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 9 years old March 9, 2013
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

The Twilight Zone: A review for parents

I saw The Twilight Zone with Rod Serling with my mom, and this movie was a great accomplishment. Personally, I loved this film and everything in it. Although this film's first segment, titled "Time Out", is loaded with racist slurs against blacks, Jews, Arabs and Asians, the rest of the film is spectacular. My favorite segment is "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", where John Valentine, an author flying to Los Angeles, spots a sadistic gremlin tearing apart the wing of the jet he's flying in. The plane crew writes Valentine off as insane and straitjackets him when the jet lands. Overall, this film was great, Joe Dante was great, George Miller was great, Steven Spielberg was great and John Landis was great. The four directors made an awesome terror flick and I'm glad I watched this.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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