Sons of Anarchy

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Sons of Anarchy TV Poster Image
Violent biker drama has blood, sex -- and a twisted heart.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 17 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 12 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this tv show.

Positive messages

Although crime and violence are often glorified for shock value on-screen, the show makes it pretty clear that this sort of life doesn't lead to riches or happiness. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Family is a constant theme, and love among the brotherhood is genuine. But there's betrayal, manipulation, and treachery to balance it out.

Positive role models & representations

Jax is loyal to those he cares about and would lay down his life for any of his "brothers" or family members, and he's also a devoted father of two young boys. That said, he's a morally complicated character who runs an illegal operation and has killed a lot of people who may or may not have deserved to die. So, in some ways, it's a case of "the bad guys" killing "the worse guys." Still, Jax's ultimate goal is to get out of the gun business and keep his father's dream alive, building a self-sustaining society based on family and brotherhood.

Violence

The bikers sometimes brawl with each other for fun, but other fight scenes can be extremely graphic and involve a variety of weapons, from guns to bare fists. One episode involves a horrific rape, and another centers on a school shooting. Blood -- and brains -- are shown splattering against walls.

Sex

Sex isn't constant, but scenes that pop up can be graphic, featuring male rear nudity and simulated sex. Some story lines involve pornography -- and, in one case, child pornography. A few female characters dress in skimpy outfits, revealing serious cleavage.

Language

The bikers swear frequently and sometimes use racial epithets to denigrate rivals. Women are called "whores," "bitches," and "gashes," and just about everyone says "s--t," which isn't bleeped.

Consumerism

All the Sons ride customized Harley-Davidson motorcycles, although the brand isn't typically highlighted.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

Social drinking, often to excess, is common, and there are some references to marijuana and methamphetamine, along with scenes of people using drugs and shooting up. But the club actually spends a lot of time and effort keeping illegal drugs out of their town (and, at one point, when the club gets bullied into trafficking, it goes horribly wrong).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sons of Anarchy centers on a tough-talking, hard-living motorcycle gang that runs an illegal gun-running operation and protects its members by any means possible. That translates into violent scenes that often veer into shocking territory, with blood (and guts) shown on-screen, and even some story lines that touch on sexually violent acts such as rape and child pornography. Sexual content can be equally graphic (including simulated sex and some partial nudity), and social drinking is common, with occasional drug references and use. Unbleeped language includes "s--t," along with some sexist and racist insults.

User Reviews

Parent Written byScreenshot47 September 28, 2013

Don't Bother; Garbage in Garbage out!

Truly a terrible show and there is nothing good that comes from it. Full of evil.
Adult Written byBroncosdude September 17, 2012

Great show, but for mature people.

The show is very violent, a lot of sex, a lot of drugs a lot of cursing. For example the first episode of the new season, one of the enemy gangs burn a women al...
Teen, 14 years old Written byEoin1230 August 9, 2014

Amazing

I think its amazing, really enjoyable i watched 5 seaons in a fortnight. I just couldn't stop!!!!! The show can be really gory i have a strong stomach b...
Kid, 11 years old September 24, 2010

good for anybody

i loved it and soo did my kids loved it too

What's the story?

At the heart of SONS OF ANARCHY is Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam), a father of two who questions his outlaw lifestyle and wants to restore the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club to his late father's vision. But Jax's mother, Gemma (Katey Sagal), and stepfather, Clay (Ron Perlman), are threatened by the idea that Jax might be considering a new direction, which could jeopardize the business they've worked -- and killed -- to build.

Is it any good?

Although the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club is headquartered in the town of Charming, Calif., regular viewers know that the town's name is as ironic as it gets. Although the characters are complex and often compelling, "charming" is one thing they're not. They drink, they swear, they kill. But, beneath the crude-talking, murderous exterior, Sons of Anarchy actually does have a heart -- the only catch is, it's kind of twisted.

So, Sons won't be for everyone. But those who don't mind rooting for bad guys who are actually kind of good guys (yet are still, by very definition, bad guys) will find a potentially addicting show fueled by stunning plot twists, critically acclaimed performances (Sagal nabbed a Golden Globe for her work), and loose ties to William Shakespeare's Hamlet -- which could very well foreshadow these characters' fates.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about biker gangs -- how they are in real life and the way they're typically portrayed in movies and television. Does Sons of Anarchy show these gangs in a new light or maintain the general stereotype that bikers are criminals? Why do bikers tend to be demonized?

  • How is an antihero different from a traditional hero? Is it possible to care about a character who isn't sympathetic or likable in the traditional sense? What, if anything, makes Sons of Anarchy's characters worth your time?

  • How closely does Sons of Anarchy adhere to Shakespeare's Hamlet, the timeless tragedy that loosely inspired it? What are the obvious similarities, particularly in terms of plot and character? How often have the writers strayed from the bard's blueprint?

TV details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love drama

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