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Repo Man Review

Other Critics provided by

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

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 70

    out of 100

    Time Richard Schickel

    No wonder adolescents have taken Repo Man for their own. Lifting its hood is like peering into a teen-ager's mind: miswired and noisy, Repo Man is capable of fast starts and amazing cornering. [4 Feb 1985]

  • 70

    out of 100

    The New Yorker Pauline Kael

    The attraction of the movie is its friendly, light tone, its affectlessness, and its total lack of humanity. [6 Aug 1984, p.72]

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    This is the kind of movie that baffles Hollywood, because it isn't made from any known formula and doesn't follow the rules.

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  • 90

    out of 100


    Repo Man has the type of unerring energy that leaves audiences breathless and entertained.

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  • 90

    out of 100

    The New York Times Vincent Canby

    The real thing. It's a sneakily rude, truly zany farce that treats its lunatic characters with a solemnity that perfectly matches the way in which they see themselves.

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  • See all Repo Man reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 16+

Defiant, antisocial 'tude in '80s punk sci-fi satire.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this cult satire is not to be confused with the later sci-fi action flick Repo Men, starring Jude Law. Here there is a nihilistic view of the world, with hardly any person or institution worth respecting. Young "hero" Otto is not much of a good guy -- he's into booze, drugs, and sex (though he mostly gets rejected in this last case) and only acts in his own self-interest. Violence includes bloody, fatal shootings, and a few characters vaporized by a kind of death ray. Swearing is at R-level. The government is untrustworthy and not above torturing citizens. Love and organized religion are made to look pretty stupid, too. Bad-behavior stuff includes horseplay with guns and drug/alcohol use. There's nasty, outlandish sex gossip about John Wayne.

  • Families can talk about what makes a film like this a "cult" movie. Ask teens what they like (or didn't) about Repo Man. Does its humor work as well now as it did in the Reagan-era 1980s?
  • Talk about the punk music that infuses the film. What does punk music have to say that makes it different from rap/hip-hop, grunge, or emo?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Otto is initially in awe of the repo man lifestyle. But in the end the callow kid isn't impressed by it or much anything else in daily LA life.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Hardly any good role models, and Otto is a self-defined "white punk from the suburbs." Characters are painted in broad racial tones (feral blacks, greasy Latinos), though a black female secretary suddenly turns into a most assertive action-heroine (she might be a secret agent; hard to tell). Otto's parents are useless -- their idiocy indicated by their giving all their money to a greedy TV evangelist, incidentally summing up the film's view of Christianity.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: The ET force in the car trunk vaporizes people, leaving just the boots standing. People die in a bloody holdup and a gunfight. Otto and other characters get beaten up, usually by gangs. Kung-fu style combat. Hot coffee thrown in one character's face. Otto is tortured with electric shocks by government agents. A corpse is set on fire.

  • sex false2

    Sex: Otto looks for easy sex (unsuccessfully), including oral sex, from various females. Possible homosexuality and sexual perversions of a certain Hollywood icon are discussed. A few women in sexy outfits shown briefly. The use of the words "dildo" and "fag" to refer to unsavory people.

  • language false4

    Language: The f-word repeatedly, the s-word,"a-hole," "dickhead," "douchebags." An obscene gesture and some racial slurs.

  • consumerism false2

    Consumerism: Names of car models are prominent, of course. One minor character sings a 7-Up jingle, and liquor signs light up the night.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false4

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Otto and Buddy share cocaine. The repo men are stated to be on "speed" to keep their long hours. Beer drinking (possibly underage) and drunkenness. One character accused of "doing acid." Cigarette smoking.