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The Irishman | 2019 | R | – 1.7.10

content-ratingsWhy is “The Irishman” rated R? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “pervasive language and strong violence.” The evaluation includes a couple of kisses and hugs, jokes about circumcision, and cleavage revealing outfits; many scenes of murder by gunshot and strangling with blood splattering, a few fight scenes with punches and kicks ending with bloody wounds, scenes of property damage, explosions and fires, many scenes of discussions of violent acts, and discussions of crime family activity and unions; and about 130 F-words and other strong language, including derogatory racial terms. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.”

Gangster biopic about real-life criminal and union official Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran (Robert De Niro) told in flashbacks: Deeply entwined with mobster Russel Bufalino (Joe Pesci) he was also close to Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), the President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters who disappeared in 1975. Also with Jesse Plemons, Anna Paquin, Bobby Cannavale, Stephen Graham, Harvey Keitel and Ray Romano. Directed by Martin Scorsese. Several lines of dialogue are spoken in Italian with English subtitles. [Running Time: 3:30]

The Irishman SEX/NUDITY 1

 – A husband and his wife kiss a couple of times. A man admires a woman in a restaurant and we see them walking arm in arm on the street later; we hear that the man left his wife for this woman and they married. A husband and his wife (both are clothed) are shown sleeping in bed.
 Men kiss on the cheeks in greeting in a few scenes. Two men hug in a couple of scenes. A comedian makes jokes about circumcision in a club.
 Several men in public baths are shown wearing robes or wrapped with towels around their waists (we see their bare chests and abdomens). Women onstage wear tight-fitting outfits that reveal bare sides and cleavage while they dance. A woman wears a low-cut nightgown that reveals cleavage. Women wear evening gowns that reveal cleavage, bare backs and shoulders. Women wearing swimsuits are seen around a swimming pool (cleavage, bare abdomens, bare backs and legs to the hips are seen). A man is shown wearing a partially open robe with boxers and a tank T-shirt underneath.

The Irishman VIOLENCE/GORE 7

 – A man with two guns enters a restaurant and shoots two men seated at a table with women and children; one man limps toward the door and out to the sidewalk where he is shot two more times (we see blood on his back) and he lies dead on the ground. We hear a gunshot in a crowd of people and see that a man is shot in the head (blood sprays) before the gunman is tackled by police and other people in the crowd. A man is shot in the head and blood splatters on a wall. A man is shot twice in the head and we hear him yelp as blood splatters on the wall and he falls to the floor dead. A man shoots another man in the head twice (blood sprays on the wall) and dumps the gun in a river; we see a series of scenes with the man dumping a variety of guns into the river, presumably after killing people (we see a large pile of guns on the riverbed). Two men shoot a man several times on a sidewalk and we see bloody bullet holes on his face and body and blood pooling on the sidewalk. A man in the backseat of a car wraps a rope around the neck of a man in the front passenger seat and strangles him; we then see bloody chunks being thrown out of a tree chipper and we understand that the man’s body was put in the chipper.
 A flashback shows a soldier holding two other soldiers at gunpoint while they dig a ditch and when they are finished the man with the gun shoots them both (blood sprays) and they fall dead in the ditch. Two men enter a crowded barbershop and we hear loud gunfire and screaming off-screen; we then see a newspaper photo of a dead man on the floor partially covered with a sheet. A man’s car is shot up as he backs out of his garage and we see it riddled with bullet holes (he is unharmed). A man in a courtroom approaches a defendant and shoots at him (it’s a cap gun and the man is not injured); the defendant punches the gunman and another man punches and kicks the gunman repeatedly while he is on the floor (we see his bloody face).
 A man is told that his young daughter’s boss yelled at her and shoved her; the man goes to the other man, punches him, throws him through glass doors onto a sidewalk, kicks him several times and stomps on his hand (we see a bloody, twisted hand as the beaten man screams). A man talks to another man about the second man’s son causing some kind of trouble and that he needs to be controlled; the second man hits his adult son in the back of the head and yells at him after the first man leaves. A man carrying a gun in a paper bag approaches another man on a sidewalk and tells him to get in his car, threatening him with the gun and at their destination, the gunman punches the other man in the stomach several times before shoving him outside. Two men argue in a prison cafeteria: one lunges at the other while yelling, “I’ll kill you,” and they fight on the floor before they are pulled apart by guards. Two men argue in a meeting; one man threatens the other man’s granddaughter and the second man tackles him out of his chair and they punch each other and wrestle on the floor before being separated (we see one man with a bruised eye later).
 Two men carry a body wrapped in a rug and put it in a car trunk; they place it in a box and wheel it into a crematory where the box is pushed into an incinerator and ignites (we see flames burning the body). A man comes into his house with bloodstains on his shirt and his wife tells him to take his shirt off and that she will get rid of it.
 A car explodes on a street and we hear that a man inside it died. A yacht explodes as a man and a woman approach it on a dock. A car explodes as two men approach it in a street. A woman is fired from her job and when she goes to her car, she starts it tentatively fearing an explosion. Men are shown pushing taxicabs into a body of water; they then lay explosives among many more cabs in a parking lot and blow them up (no one is harmed). A man drives around a laundry facility and we see him drain gasoline from his car and his trunk is full of explosives (he is interrupted before causing any damage). A man drives a truck to a cement plant where it is unloaded and we see a lot of arms and ammunition when the truck is opened.
 A man gives another man a gun and tells him not to use it, but to “show it to him.” A man puts a gun in his pocket and his young daughter sees him. A man puts a gun in his pocket and his young daughter asks where he is going late at night, and he says, “To work.”
 A man driving a delivery truck arrives at his destination and we see the truck is completely empty; the receiving manager yells at the driver and we hear that he was charged with stealing but the charges were dismissed. A man drives a delivery truck on a highway and it breaks down; another man helps him get it started again. A man tells his wife that he doesn’t want her to smoke in the car; she lights a cigarette and they pull over (we see her and another passenger smoking on the side of the road). After President John F. Kennedy is assassinated, a man orders the flag on the top of his office building to be raised from half-staff.
 Two men argue over the phone and one hangs up on the other. Two men argue about where they are going to sit in a car. A man calls a woman after she hears that her husband is missing and he tries to reassure her. A man pleads to speak to his daughter, who refuses. A man talks about someone trying to “pipe” someone and that the threatened man beat them up. A man talks about making somebody disappear. A man talks about his plan to assassinate someone. A man talks about competition among taxi drivers and plans to stop a group from encroaching on his business. A man yells about having given money to former President Richard Nixon. A man says, “I got a message from a higher power to shoot Jimmy Hoffa.” A man talks about someone having a fear of flying. We hear that a vote for President of the US (for JFK) was fixed in Chicago by a crime family and we see men voting several times using different names. People look for ways to manipulate jury members in a trial in Tennessee. There are discussions of crime family involvement in casinos in Las Vegas. A man says that he made a vow not to smoke anymore. Two men talk about the WWII and one man’s service; one man asks the other, “Were you afraid of dying?” A man says, “We’re going to war with these people” (referring to the Kennedys). A man says, “You can’t trust a millionaire’s kids” (referring to RFK). We hear about people’s phones being tapped. A reference is made to a “Get Hoffa Squad” put in place by the Chicago Attorney General. A man talks about wanting to be surrounded by people that “Won’t knife you in the back.” We hear that a man used pension funds to bankroll casinos in Las Vegas. A man talks about another man kidnapping his bosses. A man talks about another man setting a record for arrests on a picket line. There are many references to planning murders and other criminal activity using euphemisms. A man says that he transported a fish in his car and another man complains that the seat is wet and it smells of fish.
 We hear news reports of the shooting of President Kennedy and that he eventually died from his injuries and Vice President Lyndon Johnson assumed the presidency. We hear news reportage of the Bay of Pigs debacle. We see news reports of Fidel Castro in Cuba after the failed invasion. We hear discussions of the nuclear capabilities of Cuba. We hear news reports of Jimmy Hoffa disappearing. We read several captions about how men were killed (we do not see the action) throughout the movie, including: “Shot in the head outside his house,” “Blown up by a nail bomb,” “Shot three times,” “Shot 8 times in a Chicago parking lot,” “Shot three times,” “Died of natural causes,” “Sentenced to 100 years in prison,” “Shot in the head in a kitchen,” and “Prostate cancer.” We hear that Joseph Kennedy died after a long illness. We hear that a woman died of lung cancer (we see that she had been a heavy smoker) and we see a funeral with many mourners. A man chooses his own casket and burial place.
 Six elderly men are shown in a prison yard playing bocce ball (a couple are in wheelchairs and others are stooped and gray). A man is handcuffed and arrested for extortion. A man is shown handcuffed, riding in a prison bus and being fingerprinted in prison. A few scenes show people in a care home sitting in wheelchairs, using walkers and dragging oxygen tanks with them; one scene shows a man seated in a wheelchair with an IV. A man is shown lying on his side on an exam table and we hear that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. A man walks with a cane and collapses on the floor, unable to get back up.
 A man picks up a live chicken out of a cage (presumably in a butcher shop) and slits its throat with a razor (off-screen); the man’s face is splattered with blood and we hear that his nickname is “Razor.” Several scenes show sides of beef hanging in the back of a delivery truck and also in a meat locker. A man syphons gas from his car and spits some out after it gets in his mouth.

The Irishman LANGUAGE 10

 – About 130 F-words and its derivatives, 20 scatological terms, 12 anatomical terms, 18 mild obscenities, 5 derogatory reference to Jewish people, 2 derogatory terms for homosexuals, 5 derogatory term for Italians, 1 derogatory term for women, a comedian makes racial jokes at club, name-calling (working stiffs, Nazi collaborators, too emotional, moron, stupidly, dumb, bum, gangster, stupid, crazy, fat [F-word deleted] Sicilian head, Booby Kennedy, bastard, fiasco, garbage, knucklehead, Little Guy, Crazy Joe, you people, hothead, psycho, nobody, rats), exclamations (I swear, I’m not kiddin’), 5 religious profanities (GD), 8 religious exclamations (e.g. Please God, I Swear To God, Oh My God, Jesus, Jesus Christ). | profanity glossary |


 – A man is shown organizing many prescription pills into a pillbox and he spills one vial. Men drink shots of liquor and beer in a bar, two men in a restaurant drink wine, a man pours an entire bottle of liquor into a watermelon and he and another man eat the melon while in a meeting with a man that does not drink, a man talks about another man not drinking alcohol, a woman has a glass of wine with dinner, people drink wine In several restaurant scenes, two men drink whisky at a restaurant table, people in a bar drink beers, people drink wine at a Christmas celebration, people in a restaurant drink wine and smoke cigarettes, we see a street vendor steaming hot dogs in beer, people drink and smoke at celebration for a man, and men drink beer and smoke cigars while playing poker. Two women smoke outside a house, two women smoke outside a car, a woman lights a cigarette in a car, two women smoke outside a car on the side of a road in a few scenes, a man in a restaurant smokes a cigar, men in a bar smoke cigars, a man smokes a cigar on a golf course, a man smokes in a courtroom, and a woman smokes while bowling.


 – The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, gangsters, crime families, trust, friendship, trucking, solidarity, celebrity, justice, vendettas, voter fraud, resentment, infidelity, divorce, estranged families, remorse, showing appreciation, presidential pardon, parenting, arms sales, assassination, humiliation, racketeering, Jimmy Hoffa, Fidel Castro, Bay of Pigs, Watergate, Richard Nixon, John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald, the Twin Towers, FBI, NAACP, survival, money laundering, bribery, fraud, extortion, military service, WWII.

The Irishman MESSAGE

 – Unwavering devotion to any group will lead to corruption and violence.


Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.

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