The Old Man & the Gun Parent Guide
This crime caper is a superb, lighthearted, little bit of fun.
Parent Movie Review
Despite a limited theatrical release, The Old Man & the Gun doesn’t hold back on the fun. Robert Redford stars as Forrest Tucker, a real life 70 year-old bank robber and serial prison escapee. Aided by his confederates Teddy Green (Danny Glover) and Waller (Tom Waits), Tucker goes on a massive interstate crime spree, robbing dozens of banks not to make a living, but as he says: “to just be living”. Tucker is addicted to the rush of the robbery: will the new woman (Sissy Spacek) in his life be enough to reign in his desire for the thrill of the heist?
Basically, this movie is Catch Me if You Can on sedatives, and that’s not a criticism! It has all the rakish charm and character of that classic thriller, but at a more leisurely, introspective pace. The details of the robberies are largely unimportant except insofar as they explain Tucker’s character. Events happen slowly and calmly and even when things go wrong, the characters seem to take them in stride. This may be the most relaxing crime movie ever made. I realize that “relaxing” could sound like a step down the path to “boring”, but the film is anything but. The characters are so quirky and captivating that the plot can afford to be a little slower and calmer without sacrificing the audience’s attention.
As Robert Redford’s self-declared final film, The Old Man & the Gun is sending him out on a high note, winning smile undiminished. Much like Harrison Ford and his roguish likeability, Redford’s easy, graceful charm remains intact. His acting is likewise unaffected by age. Though, admittedly, his character doesn’t require any dramatic stunts, Redford manages to project Tucker’s energetic affability without any apparent strain. The supporting cast doesn’t shirk either, helping to keep things rolling along with similar cool and collected, but still personable performances.
Parents considering this movie for family viewing will obviously be concerned with Tucker’s lighthearted attitude towards his criminal activities. However, it is worth noting that he does go to prison for his crimes, so there are real world consequences for his behavior. Aside from this issue, parents can be reassured that there are few other content issues. Although the protagonist is a career criminal, he is gracious, polite, and gentlemanly to everyone from the police to the people he robs. He is generally cheerful and not physically violent, despite his titular armament. You might reasonably expect a crime-centered film to involve a few shootouts, and while several do occur, they take place off-screen, with only the bullet holes and injuries as a testament that they happened at all.
At only 93 minutes in length, The Old Man & the Gun is a superb little bit of fun. It has avoided being too serious or dramatic and has sidestepped the dangers of being silly or satirical. It is a challenge to pigeonhole it into a genre – drama, crime, comedy – when the best descriptor for this film is “charming”.Directed by David Lowery. Starring Robert Redford, Casey Affleck, and Sissy Spacek. Running time: 93 minutes. Theatrical release October 19, 2018. Updated October 25, 2021
Watch the trailer for The Old Man & the Gun
The Old Man & the Gun
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Old Man & the Gun rated PG-13? The Old Man & the Gun is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for brief strong language
Violence: A man is seen holding (but not using or pointing) a gun. Several police officers are seen aiming and heard firing guns. Two characters receive non-graphic gunshot wounds, indicated only by small amounts of blood on their clothes.
Sexual Content: None
Profanity: One sexual expletive in a non-sexual context, four uses of moderate expletives, and one term of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are shown having small amounts of alcohol socially. Some characters smoke cigarettes infrequently.
Page last updated October 25, 2021
The Old Man & the Gun Parents' Guide
Why does Tucker keep returning to a life of crime? What stereotypes do we have of illegal behavior, and how does Tucker subvert them? Do you think more people may fall outside of your perception of lawbreakers?
This film takes a lighthearted view of bank robbery. Is this accurate? What do you think are the real consequences of these crimes on people who are affected by them?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman tells the story of a group of senior citizens who rob banks in an effort to escape their seniors’ home and fund a more comfortable lifestyle. Suitable for older teens – but probably will be enjoyed more by their parents or grandparents.
Frank Abagnale’s biography, Catch Me If You Can, tells the story of his youthful career as a forger, con man, and imposter.
Another retrospective about a career in bank robbery has been written by John E. Swanger. Entitled Shackled: Confessions of a Teenage Bank Robber, the book is suitable for older teens.
The most recent home video release of The Old Man & the Gun movie is January 15, 2019. Here are some details…
Related home video titles:
If you are looking for films about clever criminals, Catch Me If You Can tells the true story of expert forger and later FBI consultant, Frank Abagnale.
Oscar-winner The Sting features Robert Redford and Paul Newman as they concoct an elaborate “sting” to avenge the death of a friend.
Robert Redford directed Quiz Show, a film which focuses on issues of honesty and ethics.