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Slap Shot Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 15+

Countless profanity penalties in ''70s hockey spoof.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this sports comedy was once the high-scorer for swearing and raunchy humor, with obscene words that had seldom been uttered in mainstream-Hollywood entertainment. There are bare breasts in an (adulterous) bedroom sex scene, rear ends in a "mooning," and a climactic (non-explicit) male striptease. Gutter dialogue includes insults based on homosexuality, lesbianism, masturbation, etc. Practically all marriages shown are bad ones (complete with physical abuse), and divorce is a sunny escape. Sports violence centers on rink fistfights -- with other players and with fans -- many of which spill blood (but never result in serious injury). The attitude of the film toward bad sportsmanship and garbage culture is sardonic, but it can be interpreted as endorsing trashy conduct. One of the direct-to-video sequels to Slap Shot in recent years was, paradoxically, a PG-kiddie movie directed at children. Youngsters were not the intended audience of the original.

  • Families can talk about Reg, a really mixed character, a fatherly coach who yearns for the old-fashioned "clean" hockey he played in his youth, yet who drives his team into being "goons" on the ice. He seems to take both a fatherly and a lustful interest in a young hockey wife in a crumbling marriage. Ask kids what they think of Reg and his choices. Is his wife doing the right thing by leaving him?
  • Discuss the way the movie depicts American sports (and society) as descending into the muck. Has the problem only gotten worse since, with scandal and shockers in boxing, baseball, and football? What about the circus-like spectacle of "pro wrestling?"
  • You can watch (perhaps as an alternative) other hockey movies, ones that teach nobler values, such as Disney's Mighty Ducks series, Youngblood, Miracle, or Mystery Alaska.

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: While the cynical movie ultimately doesn't seem in favor of disgusting behavior, the "heroes" are still rewarded (if bruised a little) for their bad conduct. There's a sense that they're no worse than the heartless corporate-sports machine to whom they've been sold, and that American culture is pretty much rotten anyway; in hockey or in life, one has to play along to thrive.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: No great role models. Reg is a really mixed character, a fatherly coach who yearns for the old-fashioned "clean" hockey of his early career, but plays dirty to win -- though at least part of his agenda is team loyalty and keeping his guys employed, by any means necessary. Reg also sleeps with other (married) women even though his divorce isn't finalized and he wants his estranged wife back. Braden, the one team player who rebels against all the tackiness and bad sportsmanship, is perpetually angry toward his wife. Females seem either cold-hearted types (in bad marriages) or drunken, promiscuous floozies (in bad marriages).

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Hockey brutality spills blood (but never seems to result in hospitalization), and fists and punches are thrown at spectators and players alike.

  • sex false4

    Sex: A topless girl in bed following (adulterous) sex. Talk of homosexuality and lesbianism, oral sex, transvestites, runaway wives, etc. The main character seems to be making a play for a teammate's wife. Backside nudity in a famous mass-"mooning" scene. Masturbation habits of a past player are described. The title of a notorious pornographic movie is seen on a marquee.

  • language false5

    Language: Not a record-setter -- by modern standards -- for profanity, but still the movie was instantly notorious for persistent use of the f-word, the s-word, the a-word, the polysyllabic c-word, profane terms for homosexuals and lesbians, the works.

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: The real-life X-rated movie hit "Deep Throat" (we just see the title) is perversely listed playing at a theater in an all-American-type small town.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false4

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Lots of drinking among the male players. Their wives drink heavily to cope with the lifestyle/infidelities.