23 user 14 critic

Devil's Playground (2002)

Amish teenagers experience and embrace the modern world as a rite-of-passage before deciding which life they will choose.


2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

As the world succumbs to a zombie apocalypse, Cole, a hardened mercenary, is chasing the one person who can provide a cure. In his way aren't only the flesh-eating, super-athletic cannibals... See full summary »

Director: Mark McQueen
Stars: Craig Fairbrass, Danny Dyer, MyAnna Buring
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A profile of homeless Romanian children who were born victims of the nation's reckless population growth policy during its communist era.

Director: Edet Belzberg
Stars: Cristina Ionescu, Mihai Alexandre Tudose, Violeta 'Macarena' Rosu
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A year in the life of the White family, well known for Jesco White, the star of the "Dancing Outlaw" documentary.

Director: Julien Nitzberg
Stars: J. Parker Bazzle II, Big & Rich, Ponty's Camper
Dark Days (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A cinematic portrait of the homeless population who live permanently in the underground tunnels of New York City.

Director: Marc Singer
Stars: Marc Singer
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A man confronts the trauma of past sexual abuse as a boy by a Catholic priest only to find his decision shatters his relationships with his family, community and faith.

Director: Kirby Dick
Stars: Jeff Anderson, Barbara Blaine, David Clohessy
Oxyana (2013)
Documentary | News
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Tucked in the Appalachian mountains of Southern West Virginia, Oceana, is a small, once thriving coal-mining town that has fallen victim to the fast spreading scourge of prescription ... See full summary »

Director: Sean Dunne
Streetwise (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Gritty documentary looks at the life and lives of teenagers living on the streets of Seattle.

Director: Martin Bell
Stars: Roberta Joseph Hayes, Baby Gramps, Erin Blackwell
Marjoe (1972)
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Part documentary, part expose, this film follows one-time child evangelist Marjoe Gortner on the "church tent" Revivalist circuit, commenting on the showmanship of Evangelism and "the ... See full summary »

Directors: Sarah Kernochan, Howard Smith
Stars: Marjoe Gortner, Sarah Kernochan
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

This documentary follows the lives of a number of heroin addicts in the U.S.A. It shows their heroin life stories.

Director: Steven Okazaki
Stars: Malice McMunn
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An in-depth look at the director James Ronald Whitney's family history of incest spanning at least three generations and the devastating consequences that include drug abuse and alcoholism.

Director: James Ronald Whitney
Stars: James Ronald Whitney, Melvin Just
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Survivors in the areas hardest hit by Japan's recent tsunami find the courage to revive and rebuild as cherry blossom season begins.

Director: Lucy Walker
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Fred Schepisi's film, 'The Devil's Playground' is an intimate portrait of Tom, a thirteen-year-old struggling in spirit and body with the constraints of living in a Catholic seminary. It is... See full summary »

Director: Fred Schepisi
Stars: Charles McCallum, John Frawley, Arthur Dignam


Cast overview, first billed only:
Velda Bontrager ...
Mark Bontrager ...
Dewayne Chupp ...
Dylan Cole ...
Matt Eash ...
Sally Fisher ...
Marty Fry ...
John Groff ...
Himself (as John)
Lisa Groff ...
Andy Herschberger ...
Joann Hochstetler ...
Jesse Kaufman ...
Carol Lambright ...
Dale Lambright ...
Ervin Lambright ...


Amish teenagers experience and embrace the modern world as a rite-of-passage before deciding which life they will choose.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Which path will they choose?




See all certifications »





Release Date:

11 January 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Djævelens legeplads  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



See  »

Did You Know?


Appeared on Entertainment Weekly's list of The 50 Best Movies You've Never Seen in the Jul 16, 2012 issue. See more »


Featured in The 2003 IFP Independent Spirit Awards (2003) See more »


Written by Rich Panciera
Performed by Lloop
Published by Copyright Control
Courtesy of Rich Panciera a.k.a. Lloop
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Informative Yet Disturbing
20 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Sex, drugs, heavy metal/rap music, Nintendo. These are not things one would normally associate with the Amish, but there you go, it's time to learn about DEVIL'S PLAYGROUND Most of us probably view the Amish as isolationists and backward thinkers. They don't use electricity or modern conveniences. They travel by horse and carriage. They dedicate themselves to their church and community for life or are banished if they give up the church and head out into the "English" world. This is mostly true, except for one period in an Amish person's life.

At age 16, all children of Amish parents are given the option of Rumspringa (Pennsylvania Dutch for "running around"). Rumspringa can last minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even years, depending on the individual. During this time they are allowed to do whatever they like, which includes drinking, sexual relations, smoking, driving (cars), and doing illicit drugs.

One such person is Faron, an 18-year-old son of an Amish minister. He's been out of his parents' house for almost two years and gets involved with crystal meth dealers in order to support his own drug habit. His life spirals out of control, but his parents are helpless to do anything about it because of the Rumspringa tradition. Faron has to choose his own path. But with peer pressures so high, the decision is not an easy one for kids who want to explore a world beyond the Amish communities they grew up in. You can't help but cringe with fear as Faron drops in and out of the drug culture, nearly gets himself killed in a car accident, and eventually finds love and a decent job many miles away from his parents.

Other kids have similar issues, but battle more with internal conflicts than external pleasures and material things. One is Velda, a pretty Amish girl who left her community and found depression nesting within her. Trying to discover who she was without the help of her family and her church leads her down some dark paths but she eventually succeeds in life by finding a job and going to college; quite a surprise considering the Amish don't educate their young beyond the 8th grade level.

This documentary certainly was an eye-opener. Who would've thought that the Amish deal with similar problems that non-Amish parents are forced to deal with? The information gathered by the film makers is impressive but limited, as the Amish become reclusive once they join the church. But the kids have no such qualms about being filmed since they have yet to take their oath.

I am disturbed mostly by the fact that the Amish don't educate their young beyond a certain grade level because they feel it causes too much "pride" (one of the seven deadly sins). But this also creates an interesting paradox. If you don't educate your kids, they are destined for menial jobs. The upside (I guess) is that this makes it difficult to support themselves if they decide to try and make a go at living in the outside world. Not surprisingly, the return rate from Rumspringa back to the church is 90 percent.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Uneducated jiffyxpop
Doc's lightthesky
smoking and drinking... calikidd2k
Cast Update? TaBre215
Soundtrack Question thomphillabaum
what does this docu support? artistic_kitty
Discuss Devil's Playground (2002) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page