A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie contains multiple scenes of point-blank gunfire, vicious close-up beatings (including bull-whipping a man's bare back and repeatedly kicking a fallen man in the face), slashing of a woman's face, and a man shot dead while sitting in an outhouse. The language is coarse throughout. The women at the center of this film are prostitutes who are depicted as "property" rather than human beings. One scene shows a sexual act, though the participants are mostly clothed. Other suggestive scenes show the men negotiating for sexual favors. Alcohol is consumed in several sequences.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
When a prostitute is brutally slashed in the face and badly scarred, her assailants are discharged without fitting punishment. To avenge their friend, her co-workers offer $1000 reward to anyone willing to kill the attackers. William Munny (Clint Eastwood), a retired outlaw/killer who's trying to go straight and make ends meet for his children on a ramshackle hog farm, joins with his old partner Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) and The Scofield Kid, a young braggart, as they head for Big Whiskey, Wyoming to kill the slashers and split the reward. But Sheriff Little Bill Taggart (Gene Hackman) runs a tightly-controlled town. The citizens fear their sheriff even as they respect his authority. Munny and his accomplices arrive and the forces of good and evil collide as justice is sought. But which force is good and which is evil? And, is there purity in either?
Is it any good?
Clint Eastwood's career as a filmmaker and director soared with the release of this hauntingly memorable film. Winning Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director, among others, UNFORGIVEN offers an original, thought-provoking, and gritty look at the true nature of violence, morality, and justice. Heroes are flawed; villains are complex. The act of taking a life has seldom been examined in action movies and Westerns. In this one, the consequences of that act override the deed itself: "Killing a man... it don't seem real... how he ain't gonna never breathe again, ever." And, "it's a hell of a thing, killing a man -- you take away all he's got, all he's ever gonna have."
Screenplay, performances, direction, cinematography, and music combine to create a different kind of Western, one that made a significant change in an All-American genre.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this movie is a departure from traditional Westerns (for example: the good guy is an outlaw; the bad guy is the sheriff). What are some of the other Old West myths that are turned upside down here?
How does the story of English Bob help illustrate what the west was really like?
What do you think the filmmakers were trying to say about the consequences of evil and/or violent behavior?
How do the women in this film stand up for themselves?
What other choices do you think they had?
- In theaters: August 7, 1992
- On DVD or streaming: September 24, 2002
- Cast: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman
- Director: Clint Eastwood
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Western
- Run time: 131 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language, violence and for a scene of sexuality
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
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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.
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