Information for Parents
Common Sense Media says OK for kids 11+
Suspenseful Cold War tale with teen gamer in control.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that WarGames is a suspense-filled drama that will appeal to older kids, teens, and grownups. While there’s no violent action and the film delivers a sound message, it's a race against time -- nuclear weapons are about to be launched. Young heroes face off against the FBI and the military; war and peace hang in the balance. There's frequent swearing and use of some obscenities, as well as product placement throughout.
- Families can talk about Cold War history. Also, while the movie is dated, it might be provide a way to talk about the current war and to ask your kids about their own fears.
The good stuff
Positive messages: Strongly promotes that idea that there are no winners in a nuclear war. Along with that, the story shows the consequences of putting too much power into the hands of machines, without the fail safe of human wisdom and compassion.
Positive role models: A brilliantly obsessive high school student is never punished for infractions such as hacking into a computer to change a grade or rigging the system to fool his parents and school officials. He’s a boy without a moral compass until he learns a hard lesson. Lots of ethnic diversity among law enforcement and authorities, portrayed as basically honest, hardworking and doing their best. David has relatively clueless but well-meaning parents.
What to watch for
Violence: Heightened suspense as missiles are nearly launched to set off a nuclear war. One character holds a gun to another man's head; a speeding car crashes through a gate. The young hero is taken into custody and narrowly escapes in time to save the day.
Sexy stuff: A couple of teen kisses.
Language: Considerable amount of swearing and obscenities: "bulls--t," "hell," "Goddamn," "a--hole," "bastard," "piss," "screwed," "Jesus Christ," "pr--k."
Consumerism: Lots of products seen, mostly in background: Century 21, Tab, 7-Eleven, State Farm insurance, Chevrolet, Budweiser, Coors, Horizon Air, Exxon, Pepsi, Sega.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Several characters smoke cigarettes.