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Bad Day at Black Rock Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 10+

Classic story of prejudice has powerful performances.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film is a thriller, with intense scenes including a scary car chase and a scene in which one person is shot and another is killed with a homemade bomb, but the violence is not graphic. This film has a stellar performance by Spencer Tracy, offers a dark view of how overseas wars affect those on the homefront, and has strong themes of race and prejudice.

  • Families can talk about prejudice -- in terms of both race and the disabled. What does it mean to say, "a man is only as big as what makes him mad?" Think about a time you got mad. How big was the thing that made you mad? How do you measure? The people in the town had different reasons for obeying Reno. What were they? How did MacReedy change? What did he learn about himself?

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Fighting with cars, guns, and karate.

  • sex false1

    Sex: Mild implication that Liz Wirth and Reno are lovers.

  • language false0

    Language: Not an issue

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Some by the bad guys.