Unforgiven

  • Review Date: June 19, 2009
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Western
  • Release Year: 1992
  • Running Time: 131 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Violent Oscar winner shatters myths of the Old West.
  • Review Date: June 19, 2009
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Western
  • Release Year: 1992
  • Running Time: 131 minutes

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

An effort is made here to de-romanticize violence as it is usually shown in Western movies. Killing is seen to take a toll on the perpetrator as well as the victim. The message is that it's not easy to shoot and kill another living being "unless you have no conscience." There is also a solid effort to illustrate moral ambiguity: the sheriff, who believes in upholding justice and fairness, is also sadistic and evil when he loses his temper. On the other hand, the ferocious, violent gunslinger has a softer, moral side and fights to be a better person. The women are prostitutes, but are shown working together to fight for their safety and a semblance of dignity and respect.

Violence

Graphic killings, beatings, knifings, and mayhem throughout. Opening sequence shows a prostitute being slashed in the face. Men are ambushed, shot at point-blank range, beaten ferociously, kicked, and whipped. Men and women are hit with fists, knocked to the ground. A man is shot multiple times while sitting in an outhouse. A dead man is shown hanging on a sign. A sheriff loses his temper and is seen as violently out of control on several occasions.

Sex

Primary female roles in the film are prostitutes. The action is precipitated by an angry "client" graphically slashing one of these prostitutes during a sexual encounter. Several scenes show the women negotiating for and in the early or late stages of sexual activity with randy cowboys. These women are treated as "property" and have few rights as citizens. They live in fear and are greatly disrespected, but strive to find some dignity and worth. There is no nudity.

Language

Harsh swearing and cursing throughout: many forms of "f--k," "ass," "piss," "hell," "bitch," "dick," "hump," "whore," "pecker," "for Christ's sake," "goddamn it," "Jesus," and more.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Numerous occasions in which men swig liquor directly from a bottle; drinking whiskey is seen as an integral part of the culture of the Old West. There is much discussion of drunkenness and the resulting immoral, often violent behavior.

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?

QUALITY
 

Clint Eastwood's career as a filmmaker and director soared with the release of this movie. 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.

Families can talk 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?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 7, 1992
DVD release date: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:for language, violence and for a scene of sexuality

This review of Unforgiven was written by

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  • 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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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written bySinfoniarc August 7, 2010
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

The Evil Of William Munny

I'm going to attempt to review this movie as if I'm writing to adults, since I'm assuming that no parent in their right mind would allow a child under the age of 13 to view this picture. If you haven't seen the film, let me say that Eastwood announced in 1992 when the movie was released, that this movie would be his last western. And what a way to go out--with his boots on, so to speak. First and foremost, there are no good characters in this movie. Every character in this movie is a bad person of some sorts, whether it be a murderer, prostitute, corrupt sheriff, pimp, etc. Eastwood has not portrayed a more evil man in any other film he's been in--including Gran Torino or The Outlaw Josey Wales. William Munny, an ex-outlaw and "man of intemperate disposition", attempts to make a better life for his kids after his Christian wife dies of small pox in 1878. In order to do that, he joins up with The Scofield Kid and Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) to chase out of a group of prostitute-assaulting cowboys. Although the movie is not sexually graphic, nearly every female lead is a prostitute looking for revenge on the brutal cowboys. This is a fine film and at the age of 12-13 years old, I first saw this in the theaters with my own father. But it's not a movie for kids younger than teen age. Even some teens may not be able to fully grasp the evil of the people in this movie. It's one of my favorite films of all time and eons above Bronco Billy and Pale Rider (which I'm also fond of). I would not hesitate to put it in the same category (or above) as the Segio Leone films. Teens and adults enjoy the best picture of 1992. But if you're going to let someone younger than that view it in order to avoid paying for a babysitter, think twice.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written bybananalover March 23, 2011
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

unforgiven

i asolutly love movie, i saw it at the midnight pemere and it was so awesome
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Teen, 17 years old Written byJasonMovie August 21, 2014
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

deserves the Oscar although violence and strong language

long story short, this movie is extremely violent and contains lots of strong language most teens might want to say off
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing

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