BlacKkKlansman Parent Guide
Director Spike Lee walks a fine line in this movie, balancing complex, racially sensitive issues with strong comic elements. Unfortunately, he also includes excessive profanity.
Parent Movie Review
Based (surprisingly) on a true story, BlacKkKlansman follows Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the only African-American police officer in Colorado Springs. Although Stallworth is initially assigned to the records room, where he is subject to racial harassment from other officers, he really wants to work undercover. His big break comes when the department needs someone to blend in at a rally held by the local Black Students Union. His bosses quickly realize his value to the force and Stallworth is permanently reassigned as an undercover officer. While investigating the Ku Klux Klan, Stallworth accidentally uses his real name. Rather than abandon the operation, Stallworth continues to handle the phone calls for the investigation, while his Jewish co-worker Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) handles the in-person meetings. Stallworth and Zimmerman are working against the clock: the Klan seems to be planning something big, but can the detectives maintain their cover long enough to stop them?
Director Spike Lee walks a fine line in this movie, balancing complex, racially sensitive issues with strong comic elements. His success is apparent: the film is in equal measure hysterically funny and deeply chilling.
Although BlacKkKlansman succeeds on its own terms, these are not parameters which will make most parents happy. Its Restricted rating is completely appropriate: this movie should not be watched by children. The violent content is less extreme than could be expected but there is a fair bit of pushing and shoving, footage of war and other violence, and a major explosion. There is no nudity or explicit sexual content, but there are too many jokes which are both vulgar and explicit regarding genitalia and sexual activity. Alcohol and tobacco use are also moderate for a Restricted film, with minor social drinking and historically appropriate smoking. This movie’s biggest flaw is its overwhelming levels of profanity: there are 230 profanities in a 135 minute film which, based on a quick back-of-my-notes calculation, gives an average of 1.7 curse words per minute. And these aren’t minor profanities. The film contains over 70 racial and ethnic slurs – as can be expected in a movie featuring the KKK – with derogatory terms being aimed primarily at African Americans as well as at Jews, Italians, Hispanics, and homosexuals. There is also extensive use of a sexual expletive: it clocks in around six dozen.
The excessive use of profanity in BlacKkKlansman is particularly unfortunate because the film provides positive messages about racism, teamwork, and persistence. It also exposes the vicious ugliness of white nationalism. Had Spike Lee cleaned up the language in this movie, it could have made a greater contribution to the national discussion on race and equality.Directed by Spike Lee. Starring John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier . Running time: 135 minutes. Theatrical release August 10, 2018. Updated February 11, 2019
Rating & Content Info
Why is BlacKkKlansman rated R? BlacKkKlansman is rated R by the MPAA for language throughout, including racial epithets, and for disturbing/violent material and some sexual references.
Violence: Characters are occasionally involved in minor physical altercations, primarily limited to pushing and shoving. Characters are frequently threatened with physical violence. Several individuals are shot at but not hit. A large explosion kills several people. Protestors are shown being beaten by police. A flaming cross is shown. A lynching is described in some detail.
Sexual Content: No sexual content is shown, but there are several crude jokes regarding genitalia and sex.
Profanity: Profanity in all categories is used 230 times. There are approximately six dozen sexual expletives and sexual references, 20 scatological curses, and over 50 other curse words and terms of deity. Racial slurs predominate: there are six dozen racial slurs aimed at African Americans and occasional slurs directed at Jews, Italians, Hispanics, and homosexuals.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Characters are shown drinking socially, and one individual is frequently shown to be inebriated. Many characters are shown smoking cigarettes, as was common at the time.
Page last updated February 11, 2019
BlacKkKlansman Parents' Guide
BlacKkKlansman has been criticized for glamorizing Ron Stallworth’s career, most of which involved helping police investigate black civil rights groups. Do you think that makes Stallworth a villain or a hero? Or something in between?
The film also suggests that the majority of the Colorado Springs police department in the 1970s were in favor of civil rights and rooting out a single racist officer eliminates racism in the force. Do you think this is realistic?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
If you want more about Ron Stallworth’s true story, check out his book, Black Klansman: Race, Hate, and the Undercover Investigation of a Lifetime.
Another true story is told by Daryl Davis in his book, Klan-destine Relationships. Davis, an African American blues musician, has devoted his life to reaching out to Klan members in an attempt to change their views on race.
News About "BlacKkKlansman"
This movie is based on the book Black Klansman: Race, Hate, and the Undercover Investigation of a Lifetime by Ron Stallworth.
Learn more about the real Ron Stallworth.
Learn more about the Ku Klux Klan.
Check the facts of the true story against the movie BlacKkKlansman.
The most recent home video release of BlacKkKlansman movie is November 6, 2018. Here are some details…
Related home video titles:
Mississippi Burning is a searing film about the 1964 deaths of three civil rights activists in a southern town. Willem Dafoe and Gene Hackman star as the FBI agents sent to investigate the murders.
Sidney Poitier stars as a black Philadelphia police officer who is wrongly accused of murder due to his race as he passes through a small town. In the Heat of the Night tells the tale of his work with the local white police chief to determine the actual killer.