The Bucket List parents guide

The Bucket List Parent Guide

Overall B+

What things do you hope to do before you kick the bucket? After two cancer patients (Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman), who are sharing the same hospital room, discover they also share the same prognosis, they decide to spend the last six months of their lives accomplishing as many of those dreams as they can.

Release date December 24, 2007

Violence B+
Sexual Content C+
Profanity C-
Substance Use B+

Why is The Bucket List rated PG-13? The MPAA rated The Bucket List PG-13 for language, including a sexual reference

Run Time: 97 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) makes a good income in the medical industry by using practical economics, such as having two beds per room in the hospitals he owns. It is a profitable policy he’s proud to defend—until he is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Suddenly the pompous man finds himself in one of those cramped double-occupancy rooms, getting a taste of his own fiscal management.

Sharing his space and his fate is Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman), a humble auto mechanic and family man with an active mind. Reacting to his bad news philosophically, Carter begins to create a ‘bucket list,” meaning a compilation of things he wishes to do before he “kicks the bucket.”

When Edward accidentally stumbles upon the sheet of goals, he scoffs over the scrawled notations of “help a complete stranger” and “laugh until I cry.” Yet after a little consideration, his cynical attitude quickly turns into enthusiastic support. Soon the health care tycoon is encouraging the unassuming blue-collar worker to think bigger, and even adds his own items, like “get a tattoo” and “kiss the prettiest girl in the world.”

Having endured weeks of tortuous chemotherapy and presently enjoying a remission, the money-rich, family-poor Edward suggests he bankroll a world tour so the two of them can put some checkmarks on their list. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, however Carter’s wife (Beverly Todd) rejects the invitation. She feels her husband should spend his precious remaining days with her and their children. Despite her objections, Carter ignores these obligations and boards Edward’s private jet.

What follows is not only an adventure, but also a journey of discovery, that moves from the most trivial of pursuits to seeking the profoundest of answers. And considering both protagonists in this film face impending death and the horrors of cancer treatment (depictions include vomiting, incision scars and a bloodstain from a faulty catheter), a surprising amount of comedy is generated from the difficulties and small triumphs encountered by this unlikely pair.

While this title probably won’t attract younger viewers, parents considering sharing this movie with their teen children should be aware that it contains language issues, such as a sexual expletive, finger gesture, and some mild to moderate profanities. Sexual content includes a few references and innuendos, as well as a womanizer who brags about his sexual escapades (without going into details) and a brief scene where sexual activity is implied. Fortunately, other characters in this film balance this cavalier attitude by making far better sexual decisions.

Although few people will ever have the opportunity to spend their last days with a limitless credit card, facing death is a reality for everyone. And as these two capable actors work their way through this occasionally sentimental script, they uncover some universal truths—especially about what things in life are worth treasuring. They may even inspire you to compile your own list of priorities to pursue before your toe hits the pail.

Starring Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman, Sean Hayes. Running time: 97 minutes. Theatrical release December 24, 2007. Updated

The Bucket List
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Bucket List rated PG-13? The Bucket List is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for language, including a sexual reference

This story about two aging men dying from cancer, is unlikely to have huge appeal to young audiences—even though it holds some thoughtful messages about life’s priorities. Content concerns include language (a sexual expletive, finger gesture, as well as infrequent mild and moderate profanities), sexual references and innuendos, the portrayal of woman who is likely a prostitute, and a couple of brief, non-explicit comments about sex outside of marriage. One scene shows a woman exiting a man’s bedroom (suggesting a sexual encounter between them), and another has a woman dressed in a sensual nightgown to catch the interest of her husband. The difficulties of chemotherapy are discussed, and a character is seen and heard vomiting. In two other medically related incidents some blood is shown. A character is briefly seen holding a cigarette (implying this is a contributing factor in his cancer diagnosis). Social drinking is also depicted.

Page last updated

The Bucket List Parents' Guide

If you were to find out you had a short time to live, what choices would you make? What things are you doing now that might not be so important?

You don’t have to be diagnosed with a terminal illness to take account of your priorities. How might writing your own “Bucket List” help you to consider and focus on your life goals?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of The Bucket List movie is June 9, 2008. Here are some details…

DVD Release Date: 10 June 2008

The Bucket List releases to DVD with a featurette (Writing a Bucket List with writer Justin Zackham), a music video (John Mayer ‘s Say), and a DVD ROM link.

The Blu-ray Disc version of The Bucket List offers the aforementioned content, plus the Bucket List Trivia Track and Rob Reiner Interviews the Stars. Audio tracks are available in English, with subtitles in English, Spanish and French.

Related home video titles:

Other movies that portray terminally ill characters deciding how best to use their remaining time include A Walk to Remember and My Life.

Related news about The Bucket List

The Ford Mustang Makes Movie History

The Ford Mustang Makes Movie History

Celebrate Ford Mustang Day on April 17.