Box art for Gangster Squad

  Gangster Squad

action & adventure, drama

Los Angeles, 1949. Ruthless, Brooklyn-born mob king Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) runs the show in this town that is until a crew of LAPD officers led by Sgt. John O'Mara (Josh Brolin) and Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling) wage war on his empire.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
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common sense

PAUSE for kids age 16
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
4 out of 5
Positive messages
2 out of 5
Positive role models
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
5 out of 5

Very violent tale of LAPD's real-life war against the mob.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that Gangster Squad is based on the real-life exploits of crime boss Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn), who -- with his gangster pals -- brazenly runs brothels, casinos, drug dens, and betting operations under the protection of corrupt cops, judges, and politicians ... until a secret crew of cops bands together to take Cohen out. Expect nonstop brutal violence, including several huge gunfights that result in dozens dead or wounded, as well as intense fistfights (with wince-inducing sound effects) that leave participants beaten to a pulp, a harrowing near-rape, and several episodes of torture (a character is pulled apart by two vehicles, another is pounded with a mallet-like device, and one is killed with a power drill). Many scenes also feature people drinking and smoking cigarettes, and language includes various permutations of "f--k." The star-studded cast also features Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, and Nick Nolte as the police chief who makes it his mission to run the mob out of town.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the gangster squad's methods. Do the ends justify the means? Is it OK for them to basically wage war against the mob on the city streets, instead of using legal means such as warrants and due process?
  • How does the violence in Gangster Squad compare to what you might see in a horror movie? Which has more impact? Why?
  • Gangster Squad is based on real-life events. What do you think about a town that's as brazenly corrupt as this version of Los Angeles in 1949?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

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    reviews counted: 0
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Audience Reviews

2 stars


- spielberg00, Friday, November 22, 2013

3 stars

A hard-nosed cop sick of the apathetic and corrupt police department is selected to head a special team charged with driving an underworld boss out of business and out of town. Gangster Squad was not particularly well received upon its release, but I suspect that the post war setting and visual style of Film Noir meant that many critics were expecting another Chinatown or L.A. Confidential. But it's called "Gangster Squad" for god's sake! If you watch it for what it is, namely a comic strip action movie with some nice vintage fashions, it's a pretty entertaining gangster flick that's more Dick Tracy than Sam Spade. In fact the whole feel of the film is more that of a western than a cop film and seems in places to be trying to be The Magnificent Seven with Tommy guns. It never addresses the morality of the squad's dubious methods so can hardly be considered as gritty and realistic and it does get a little mawkish in places, but it's a fast-paced, action packed and visually appealing slice of Pulp Fiction that consistently entertains. True it's no L.A. Confidential, but it never pretends to be and it's a lot better than Brian DePalma's absurdly over-rated The Untouchables.

- garyX, Tuesday, June 17, 2014

4 stars

2013, just started out with a Bang. An explosive knockout. It's The Untouchables for the twenty first century. A highly stylized, ultra-cool and wickedly entertaining action-packed crime-drama. It's big, thrilling, funny and tremendously enjoyable from start to finish. A spectacular and hard-edged adrenaline-rush. A vintage, cops vs. criminals movie that delves right in the territory of a barrels blazing instant classic, with a energetic director and a gifted cast, Gangster Squad is definitely on the money and in the action. Director, Ruben Fleischer possibly crafts his masterpiece. A bold, explosive, a well character developed and exhilarating thrill-ride that's packed with non-stop action and awesome performances. The all-star cast all have great chemistry together. Josh Brolin is outstanding. Ryan Gosling is sensational. Sean Penn is magnificent, he is clearly having a great time playing this villain and him and Brolin square off against each other nicely. Emma Stone is terrific. Nick Nolte is wonderful. Brolin, Gosling, Robert Patrick, Anthony Mackie, Michael Pena and Giovanni Ribisi are all great together and are the team to route for. An excellent movie. I loved it. They don't get any better than this. This is the type of film that the just dont make anymore and is a huge welcome back in a stylish and fun way.

- allan913, Monday, February 25, 2013