Information for Parents
Common Sense Media says OK for kids 14+
Controversial, bloody 1980s WWIII film with teen heroes.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this controversial what-if war film features much shooting, with frequent bloodshed (though little of what would be considered gore) and explosive mayhem. Many characters die, young heroes as well as the villains. Swearing is occasional, and there is a suggestion that two underage-female characters might have been raped or molested. Hunting and killing of animals, for food as well as a sort of manhood ritual, is shown and seemingly endorsed with great enthusiasm by the filmmakers.
- Families can talk about the 1980s and the Cold War. What do parents remember? What other ways has Hollywood depicted the Cold War? How is it different from the war on terror?
- Do you think Red Dawn realistically depicts what an invasion/occupation is like?
- Red Dawn was made by right-leaning filmmakers, a group that (at least since the 1960s) has not maintained a very high profile. Do you think right and left leaning politics are equally represented in movies?
The good stuff
Positive messages: Surface message of patriotism and fighting for your country/freedom are underscored by more complex lessons, about striving against impossible odds and even taking doomed or hopeless stands for what is correct. War and partisan insurgency are shown not to be a children's game when the Wolverines face having to execute one of their own.
Positive role models: All young characters seem act mature and disciplined, though it's declared that the strongest ones paid a price -- miserable childhoods learning survival skills under a strict dad. Both Communists and Wolverine forces are mixed whites and Latinos; only the Wolverines have a few girls fighting along with them.
What to watch for
Violence: Shooting and explosions in abundance, with spattering blood (but little gore) more often than not. One character (and a deer) shot with an arrow. Inference that the invading Soviet soldiers have raped women and girls.
Sexy stuff: Indistinct glimpse of one Russian looking at a magazine centerfold.
Language: "S--t," "bastard," and "SOB."
Consumerism: Product labels include Coors beer, Chevron gas, Buck knives.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Some beer drinking.