American Beauty

1999 R 2h 2m Blu-ray / DVD

American Beauty

1999 R 2h 2m Blu-ray / DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
While struggling to endure his tightly wound wife, an unfulfilling job and a sullen teenage daughter, suburbanite Lester Burnham falls deep into a midlife crisis and becomes infatuated with one of his daughter's friends.
Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley, Mena Suvari, Chris Cooper, Peter Gallagher, Allison Janney, Scott Bakula, Sam Robards, Ara Celi, John Cho, Sue Casey, Amber Smith, Matthew Kimbrough
Sam Mendes
Blu-ray DVD
Widescreen Anamorphic 2.35:1
English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround, English: Dolby Digital 5.1, English: DTS 5.1 Surround
Widescreen 2.35:1
English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish (Neutral)
English: DTS-HD Master Audio, French: Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish (Neutral): Dolby Digital 5.1
R - Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them. R - Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them.
age 17+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 17+
age 17+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that this relentlessly dark picture of America and its values at the turn of the 21st century may have won a Best Picture Oscar, but it definitely isn't for kids. The film takes a hard, often bleakly comic look at the dissolution of the family and is full of sex, drugs, bigotry, and hypocrisy. Graphically sexual images include an adult fantasizing about his young daughter's seductive friend, an adulterous relationship in a motel, masturbation, and partial nudity on several occasions. Homosexuality and homophobia are addressed. A young man is brutally beaten by his father more than once, and there are disturbing, bloody images of the violent death of a leading character. Language is coarse and explicit throughout, with constant use of sexual dialogue, swearing (including "f--k" and "s--t"), and terms disparaging to women and homosexuals. Kids and adults smoke pot in many scenes, and "getting high" is seen as a release from daily despair.

Sexual Content

From the opening frames of this film -- in which a man is seen masturbating through the frosted glass of a shower -- to its final scenes, sexual fantasy, extramarital sex, teen sexual activity, and sexual dysfunction are prime subjects and are graphically illustrated. There's frequent undressing, partial nudity, and foreplay (breasts, men and women naked -- shown from behind). The male lead frequently and obsessively fantasizes about a seductive young girl.


In two scenes, an out-of-control father beats his teen son, causing injury and bloody cuts on the boy's face and head. A mother forcefully slaps her teen daughter. A gunshot to the back of a character's head has grisly results: blood splattered on the wall, on clothing, and the victim lying wide-eyed in death, blood still pouring from his head. Firing a gun at a shooting range is equated with "stress release."


Constant sexual language and harsh swearing throughout. Multiple usage of "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," and "whore," as well as numerous euphemisms for masturbation. "Fags," "faggot," and other derogatory language is heard frequently, as are disparaging references to female body parts and female behavior.

Social Behavior

According to this movie, there's no limit to the damage and destruction that humans can cause to one another, to their children, and to themselves. Materialism, hypocrisy, inappropriate behavior, and a crucial devaluing of relationships threaten middle-class American families. The only hope of redemption lies in the ability of its younger members to speak the truth, turn their backs on the demeaning values of their parents, and find strength in one another.


Visible products/brands include Coca-Cola, Sheraton, Miller Lite, and TNT.

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Lots of teen and adult pot smoking throughout. One young man is a marijuana dealer. Adults drink champagne at a party and wine with dinner, and one man offers beer to a teen. "Getting high" and being high are the topics of many conversations.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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