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Lords of Dogtown Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Lords of Dogtown is a docudrama, rare in its grit and authenticity, that also strives for the mythical youth-rebel excitement of something like "8 Mile."

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  • 40

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    If Lords of Dogtown accomplishes nothing else, it shows how hard writing a fiction film can be, and what a vast artistic distance can stand between a bad fiction film and the first-rate documentary that inspired it.

  • 60

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Frank Scheck

    Takes a surprisingly gritty approach that gives the material some gravitas but also robs it of some of its fun.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Mike Clark

    The skating scenes are their own reward: It's hard to think of a movie since 1950's "Sunset Boulevard" that has gotten more dramatic impact out of a pool.

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  • See all Lords of Dogtown reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 14+

Portrait of Venice, CA, '70s teen skater culture.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film includes teen smoking, drinking, drug use, foul language, sexual activity, and violence. The heroes are 1970s California rebels who essentially invent freestyle skateboarding, then confront a barrage of commercial contracts and crass promoters, instant celebrity, high stakes competitions, and insecurities among themselves. Some of the kids also deal with money problems at home, single and absent parents, and romantic pressures. One skater learns late that he's suffering from brain cancer, and his post-surgery appearance, surely gallant, may also be distressing for younger viewers.

  • Families can talk about the many ways that kids can rebel against authority and convention and what does and doesn't appeal to them about skater culture. Families can talk about what is and isn't compelling about rebellion. How does the movie alternately celebrate and question the main characters' choices? What does selling out mean to kids? And what are kids willing to sacrifice either to make money or follow their dreams?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Kids misbehave, learn some lessons, misbehave again.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Mostly competitive, between anxious boys.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Teenagers explore their sexuality, though not so explicitly.

  • language false3

    Language: Some strong language.

  • consumerism false5

    Consumerism: A theme in the movie: teenagers are contracted to promote products.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Teenagers drink, smoke, use drugs.