The Pistol: The Birth of a Legend

1991 G 1h 44m DVD

The Pistol: The Birth of a Legend

1991 G 1h 44m DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
"Pistol" Pete Maravich (Adam Guier) pushes himself to the limit in this stirring biopic recounting the National Basketball Association all-star's adolescence and first year on his high school's varsity squad. Promoted to the team when he was only in eighth grade, Maravich gets support from his dad (a former college and professional coach) and witnesses the 1950s' racial boundaries while striving to become the greatest cager of all time.
Millie Perkins, Nick Benedict, Adam Guier, Murrell Garland, Tom Lester, Buddy Petrie, Darrel Campbell, Wendy Leblanc, John Richardson, Rodney Stone
Frank C. Schroder
Full Screen 1.33:1
English: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish (Neutral): Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
G - All ages admitted. Nothing that would offend parents for viewing by children.
age 10+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 10+
age 10+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that The Pistol: The Birth of a Legend is based on a true sports story and is full of inspirational messages. Through words and example, the film shows the importance of patience, persistence, and dedication as the keys to victory, not only in basketball, but in life. There are a few instances of bullying between an older player and the lead character, but these scenes serve the higher message of not letting anything stand in the way of your dreams. Since the movie is set in 1959 South Carolina, one of the basketball coaches is never seen without a cigar, but more troubling for some will be the occasional racial slurs. While the "N" word is not used, other slurs (like "jungle bunny") are, as a way to show prevailing racial attitudes at the time.

Sexual Content

Not applicable


Taunting and bullying. An older high school basketball player shoves a younger player against a gym wall and orders him to quit the team. Later, this same older player knocks a basketball out of the hands of the younger player in a high school hallway. At a malt shop, this same older player shoves the younger player, knocking him to the floor. During a game, an opposing player deliberately runs into "Pistol" Pete and sends him to the floor, unconscious.


The movie is set in South Carolina in 1959: some of the characters use racial slurs like "jungle bunnies" and "nigras," and use outdated terms like "colored." A young boy calls the older boy who bullies him, "butthead." While teaching his son a basketball drill, a father tells his son to stick his chest out, adding, "You don't want people to think you're light in your loafers."

Social Behavior

Patience, persistence, and confidence are the keys to success, not only on the basketball court, but in life. Through words and example, this movie shows the hard work and reward inherent in dedicating one's self to being the best.


Not applicable

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

A high school basketball coach smokes a cigar frequently. A coach holds a cigarette at a kitchen table.

  • 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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