Box art for Sleepers



A top-notch cast headlines this Oscar-nominated drama about four boys from Hell's Kitchen who grow up in a world where loyalty means everything.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

3 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
5 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Powerful story of child abuse. Not for kids.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie deals with the sexual, physical and emotional abuse of children. Characters drink, smoke, do drugs, steal, have sex, rape children, commit murder, beat one another, and engage in other illegal activities including selling drugs and bribing police officers. Domestic abuse also figures significantly in the film. The main character's Catholic upbringing also figures largely in the plot, and morality in the film is extremely complex. Younger viewers will likely be confused by the concept of right and wrong as presented in the film. And the film is not easy viewing -- particularly for anyone who has endured abuse of any kind.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the concept of revenge. Why does the murder of Sean Nokes seem justified? Is it? Why are some of the characters able to move forward with their lives while others seem to be destroyed by their abuse? The issue of punishing juvenile offenders also comes into play. Is the punishment of the four main characters fair? Why or why not? How does the characters' socioeconomic position figure into this punishment, if at all?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 14
    see all Sleepers reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews


- David Ansen, Newsweek, Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fresh: If audiences aren't bothered by this disturbing subtext, there's a lot to enjoy in this impeccably structured, handsomely produced saga.

- David Stratton, Variety, Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Rotten: Levinson has done nothing to sift the half-truths from the melodrama...

- Derek Adams, Time Out, Thursday, February 9, 2006

Audience Reviews

4 stars

True story or not, its definitely a great one & surely worth a watch. Not that its flawless; it surely does have its share of loose ends. But the loose ends weren't enough to put me off the hook. The movie boasts of a huge cast, & fortunately each one have given their best (or so it seemed to me). As far as the controversy regarding it being based on real events is concerned, IMO its all as much real as The Blair Witch Project. Thankfully unlike TBWP, we had some intriguing story going on here & didn't have to put up with idiotic shaky camera work (that's not as much a problem though, if the proceedings are engaging as in Rec]). Finally, though a bit flawed, it was surely worth my time. Go for it; see if it manages to get deep into your blood!!!

- imrealgod, Friday, April 9, 2010

4 stars

An amazing film that is both perfectly cast and epicly told. Brad Pitt and Jason Patrick led a flawless cast that all gave tremendous performances. Kevin Bacon was especially disturbing. The mood of the film is what makes it so beautiful. All of the visuals reflect a dying city with little hope, much like the lives of the four leads.

- ythelastman89, Sunday, November 22, 2009

3 stars

Good film about a tricky subject. Dealt with very well with good acting. Watch De Niro as he is told about what really happened to the kids in the detention centre, puts a lump in my throat every time!

- SirPant, Thursday, September 24, 2009