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Is 'The Dark Knight' OK For Kids?

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Some moms wonder if the movie is too violent.


Although The Dark Knight broke the all-time weekend box office record with $155 million (beating out Spider-Man 3's previous record of $151.1 million), reviews were decidedly mixed among moms who wondered if the movie was too violent for their kids.

Mom of two Dani Klein Modisett said, "If there was profanity in Dark Knight, I have no memory of it. Or nudity. Whatever there may be is completely overshadowed for me by the violence. PG-13, my ass!"

Time magazine also questioned the PG-13 rating: "The mayhem and torture wreaked here, by saint or scum, are so vivid and persistent that it's a wonder, and a puzzle, why The Dark Knight snagged a PG-13 rating. (Don't take your 9-year-old son unless you think he'd enjoy seeing a kid just like him tremble in fear while a gun is held to his head by a previously sympathetic character.) But kids would have trouble following the movie, let alone understanding it."

The MPAA's reasons for Knight's PG-13: "intense sequences of violence and some menace" -- but they aren't required to detail the intensely violent scenes (such as a man being impaled with a pencil).

Mom of three Samantha Bailey says all the ratings hoopla is much ado about nothing: "My kids loved it. It was no more violent than any other superhero movie in my opinion. My 8-year-old wants to see it again!"

We'd love to hear from moms who saw the movie. Do you think The Dark Knight is appropriate for kids?

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47 comments so far | Post a comment now
Vase July 21, 2008, 9:23 PM

This is a far cry from the old batman,these movies are now Realistic and very dark

at my showing of Dark Knight,all the kids found the violence to not be a bother

not sure about Other Parents though

Anonymous July 21, 2008, 10:36 PM

Of course kids will say it isn’t too violent. They also say candy and soda pop won’t hurt their teeth. It is up to the parents to decide, based on the parents judgment. I found it too violent for me and I would not let my 7 year old see it. PG-13 means over 13.

Jen July 22, 2008, 10:51 AM

I know that my 5 and 7 year old kids would NOT be able to watch this movie. I have seen it 2 times, and so have my 15 and 17 yr old teens. W all love the movie, but the gruesome violent acts are far too twisted and evil for the little ones to deal with. Also, it is quite gorey with 2 face in the end of the film. I know that my own 2 kids (younger ones) would have nightmares from just that alone. Actually, just the make up on Heath Ledger would probably cause them to have nightmares. It was an awesome movie, but in my opinion, it is not meant to be seen by kids under 13. I guess each parent needs to see it first and judge if they think their kid could handle it.

Anonymous July 22, 2008, 11:28 AM

I saw this masterpiece this weekend, myself, and agree that it might be too much for most kids under 13. I remember hearing small children in the audience and thinking, “wow, there’s a therapy bill in the making.”

Angie July 22, 2008, 1:24 PM

I just saw this movie last night and I would say it is not a movie for kids. I actually saw a probably 4 year old there and really wondered where his supervision was- this is not the old Batman movies and even they were kind of “violent” but nothing like the realness of this movie. I even jumped a few times- good movie though!

Cynthia July 22, 2008, 2:27 PM

To be brutally honest, I saw no redeeming quality of this film save Ledger’s performance as an actor. I feel that it is inappropriate for adults as well as kids. Another dark, violent film to underscore what is happening in our real world.

shanna July 22, 2008, 2:29 PM

I think it’s frightening the way our kids are being desensitized to violence by movie makers. this movie should be R!!!

Stacey Wyler July 22, 2008, 3:56 PM

Of course it’s too violent for kids!!! It’s rated PG-13 meaning it’s not suggested for children under the age of 13. How much easier could they make it.

Anonymous July 22, 2008, 4:24 PM

There were several young children in the audience when I went last weekend, and they all came out happy and excited when the film finished. I even heard one of them mention that it was his second time, and he couldn’t have been more than 7-years-old. I think it depends on what your kids already watch as to whether or not they can handle it.

jaycee July 22, 2008, 5:25 PM

the movie has its violent parts but over all isnt voilent this movie is more of a dark view of the joker and batman

Marcia July 24, 2008, 1:52 AM

There is no way this movie should have been rated PG-13. Waaaay too much violence and psychological trauma. I mean a gun pointed at the head of a child…more than once? A freaky joker describing how daddy cut him up? Dozens dead and burned? I want to know who got paid off for this rating so that the movie maker could rake in more of his own piles of money. And I’m not joking!!!

Amelia July 24, 2008, 2:19 AM

I am 11 years old. We just saw The Dark Knight and it was really good! However, I closed my eyes MANY times during this movie, and sometimes even plugged my ears. Of course, I do not admit this to all of my friends. This movie is far too violent and disturbing for PG-13! MANY factors in this movie were absolutley R level, but the scariest part for me was when he was going to cut the people’s lips like his, and all the stories he told. Parents, you may choose to take your children to this movie, but be ready for crying, and sleepless nights from them!

Ari Estrada July 24, 2008, 5:37 PM

Wow. You write like an adult. All of these comments has me thinking that I shouldn’t take my 4 year old son who is obsessed with Superheros. He has seen all of the Spiderman’s and Superman. It really seems that this movie may be too hardcore for him. Thanks for the comments.

Anonymous July 24, 2008, 7:25 PM


Anonymous July 25, 2008, 3:04 AM

I saw the movie the other day, and I personally didn’t think it was that bad. I am fifteen years old, and the most disturbing thing in the film, in my opinion, was the scene where the Joker was video taping his interrogation of the copy-cat batman. It just reminded me of Iraq, and that really made me mad. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone under the age of nine or ten, but it definitely shouldn’t be rated R. The movie wasn’t gory, or extremely violent, in my opinion. Quite frankly I didn’t find the Joker scary at all, the only emotion that came out of me when I was watching his performance was anger. Heath Ledger is an amazing actor, and his acting in the film was sublime. To the person that posted above me, your rules are a little strict. I played my first rated M game at the age of seven, and watched my first rated R film at the age of eight, and I turned out fine. The only difference between me, and my friends is that I’m less affected by violence, and on the street, thats going to help you out a lot. You can’t just keep your kids locked up, and tell them theres no evil in this world.

Anonymous July 25, 2008, 10:14 AM

After reading the comments on this site I almost didn’t take my 9-year-old son to see the movie. Thank goodness I did because he loved it. When it came to the pencil scene that I’d read was so horrible, everyone in the theater laughed, including my son. My son found the scene were a major character holds a gun to a child’s head suspensful, but he won’t have nightmares about it because he knows it’s just a movie. Basically you have to know your own child’s tolerance for violence, suspence, and creepy characters. That’s why it’s called Parental Guidance! If your child was okay with the Pirates of the Caribbean and Harry Potter movies, then he or she can handle The Dark Knight. It’s no worse than they are.

Will July 25, 2008, 9:37 PM

I’m 14, and I believe that a PG-13 is a good rating for The Dark Knight. True, The Joker was sometimes creepy, but sometimes he’s darkly funny (the pencil scene comes to mind). This film has nothing that couldn’t be accomodated at PG-13 these days. The violent content isn’t all that bloody, and when blood is shown, it’s usually fleeting. This is refreshing compared to films like, say, Beowulf (which had extremely graphic animated violence that is a far cry from The Dark Knight’s near-bloodless violent conflict). But still, it does say “PARENTS STRONGLY CAUTIONED: Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13”. Compare that to “RESTRICTED: Under 17 Requires Parent or Adult Guardian”. The Dark Knight is not a kiddie flick. It is for TEENS, not young children, or even preteens. This film is for those aged 13 and older ONLY, and that’s that.

Anonymous July 27, 2008, 11:05 PM

I saw it with my husband, and I would NOT let my 11 year old watch it. It was very dark and even made me uncomfortable. I usually don’t mind her watching PG-13 or even some R rated movies, but this movie is not for kids. I couldn’t believe how many very young (5-6 year old) children there were in the theater.
There wasn’t any bad language or any sexual content (besides kissing)but there was plenty of bombing and shooting and psychological type torturing (by the Joker).

Claudia Goswitz July 28, 2008, 2:37 AM

As a therapist and child development specialist, I have to share what I have always thought deep down. ANYONE, even a hair stylist needs a license to cut your hair yet idiots all over the planet, sadly, can have children left and right. What’s sad is that they’re so devoid of any common sense in how to provide the appropriate social-emotional tools for children to become well adjusted adults that it’s no wonder more than half of marriages end up in divorce, that there’s no work ethic in the work place and that the next generation of children are as callous and indifferent about things that should make their skin crawl.
I’m sorry but Dark Knight is not only an extremely inappropriate movie for a child, it is for most adults. If most of you find ‘entertainment” in being a witness to endless acts of physical and psychological unwarranted violence towards men, women and children alike, you should really question your values and turn off the tube and video-games. Do your kids a favor and restrict the gaming time as well. Your kids are becoming stupider by the minute from lack of any activity that requires a genuine original thought.
Shame on you all.

Anonymous July 28, 2008, 2:03 PM

Claudia, you are a self-righteous (something that rhymes with bunt). It makes perfect sense that you are a psychologist. Always ready to dish out your psycho-babble b.s. from on high. As a psychologist I’m sure you’re aware of a little thing called a God Complex. We’re attracted to movies because of escapism. We can’t all be Psychologists, you know. Paid $120k or more per year to talk and draw stick figures on college ruled notepads we paid too much for because some sap paid YOU too much for what basically amounts to an hour with a friend. The movie is rated PG-13, not intended for children under 13. So, even though I agree, the film isn’t for kids under that age, a parent taking their kids to this film doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a bad parent (btw, I’m NOT a parent and am not trying to morally justify myself for taking a kid to this flick if that’s where your built-in Freudian easy reference dictionary was taking you).

I agree that some people should not be allowed to reproduce. However, not all your time should be spent outside (UV Rays, Smog, Pedophiles). Sometimes a kid needs to see $hit blow up. It fulfills our most basic of desires. We are, after all, animals as any psychologist would know. That’s why Homer Simpson (and me) foam at the mouth over the thought of Krispy Kreme doughnuts just like Pavlov’s dogs.

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