Sleepers (1996) Poster


Parents Guide

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MPAA Rated R for language, graphic violence and two scenes of strong sexual content

Sex & Nudity

  • The protagonist is shown being sexually abused in a flashback. Not Graphic, No nudity
  • Even though the show is centered around boys, later in a boys home - the only nudity is female breast.
  • A thirteen year old boy shown wearing only his underwear.
  • One of the child characters is asked by a guard to take off his underwear, which he does where only the guard can see. Offscreen Nudity.
  • A montage occurs as the boys sit in prison; the narrator describes the screams of the boys who are being raped and assaulted in the night.
  • There are several references to sexual abuse throughout the film and scenes where it is obvious that sexual abuse is about to take place
  • A group of boys spy on women through a peephole. Most women are shown in their underwear and a woman is shown topless both times.

Violence & Gore

  • A young boy is shown severely beaten, almost beyond recognition. He is put into solitary confinement. His appearance is gruesome. A rat crawls on him as he lays on the floor.
  • There are only rare occasions violence is shown in this movie but most of these scenes involve children and can be intense.
  • We see the body of a man hanging from a lamppost.
  • There are a few scenes of domestic abuse (they are mostly heard).
  • In a flashback, we see a man shoot a guy in both kneecaps several times (the sound is muted).
  • An elderly man points a gun at two young men. He tells a third young man to run (we hear the sound of gunshots and it is assumed that the elderly man killed the two).
  • After one of the boys are put in the hospital by his stepfather, Father Bobby pays the stepfather a visit, telling him that next time he touches one of the boys, "he will need a priest to pray over his body".
  • After a joke goes awry, a hot-dog stand is pushed down some stairs and hits a man (he lives and we briefly see his unconscious body behind the stand).
  • A fight breaks out at a mess hall at an institution. The two boys fight until they are seperated by a guard.
  • A leading guard then hits a boy in the chest with his night-stick and forces him and his friends to eat food off the floor.
  • Scenes brutality involving children are shown, nothing too graphic though.
  • A football-match shows the boys and the guards violently tussle.
  • Several young boys are beaten by guards, sometimes onscreen. We hear one of them was beaten to death.
  • A man is shot several times, including a shot to the groin. He is left to suffer for a few moments until he's finished off by a shot to the head (blood sprays from the wounds)
  • A man is shot in the head (blood sprays)
  • We see the bloody corpses of two young men in black-and-white photos


  • About 35 or so uses of "fuck", along with quite a bit milder language as well. The second half of the movie doesn't have as much swearing as the first half.

Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking

  • Several characters smoke a lot of times.
  • Several characters are known to suffer from alcoholism and/or drug abuse/addiction. No scenes of illicit drug use.
  • References to alcohol use, and several scenes of adults drinking at a pub.

Frightening & Intense Scenes

  • While most of the physical and sexual abuse of the children is not shown in graphic detail, the scenes are still incredibly intense. The narrator describing the childrens' inner feelings adds to the feeling of despair and terror. At one point the boys are gang-raped by four guards - even though none of it is shown, the narrator's description still conveys the horror. The child abuse overall is VERY upsetting.
  • A man attempts to pray in church, but he begins to experience traumatic flashbacks to being raped with a baton in prison, as guards told him to pray and mocked him when he did so. The portrayal of PTSD is intense.
  • The scenes at the home for boys are intense, and strong violence and sexual abuse against children play a major role in the plot throughout the film.


The Parents Guide items below may give away important plot points.

Sex & Nudity

  • In a flashback scene a young boy is taunted by four men, as one of them rapes him with a baton. He is told to pray out loud, and when he does the men mock him. Nothing below the waist is ever shown but the scene is extremely disturbing and upsetting. We do hear the sound of the baton entering the boy's anus, for a moment.
  • While it is not shown, it is implied that four adult men gang rape four young boys. We only see them being walked to the basement where the assault occurs, but the narrator describes the horror of the night. It's very upsetting even without the visuals.

See also

Taglines | Plot Summary | Synopsis | Plot Keywords

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