Box art for The Sweeney

The Sweeney

  • Rated R
  • HD and SD formats available

action & adventure

Tearing up the streets of London, THE SWEENEY is a stylish, exhilarating action thriller proving sometimes you have to act like a criminal to catch a criminal.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

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

Brutal but effective crime drama based on '70s UK TV series.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Sweeney is an English crime drama about an elite police squad that's based on a 1970s UK TV series (so it doesn't have much of a built-in U.S. audience). There's tons of strong language, with "f--k" used almost constantly, as well as brutal violence (fighting, shooting/guns, blood, car chases, etc.). The main character is having an affair; consequently, there are several sex scenes and sexual innuendoes, though no actual nudity is shown. Characters drink, the main character regularly smokes cigarettes, and it's suggested that a child is about to smoke a cigarette (not shown). It's also worth noting that the characters speak with very strong, hard-edged English accents, which may be difficult for some Americans to follow.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about The Sweeney's violence. Does it justify the use of brutal police force to capture criminals? Is it entirely acceptable, or are there questions? Can the ends ever justify the means?
  • Is it OK to use unorthodox methods to achieve something? Or is it better to follow the rules, even if those rules make it more difficult?
  • What makes the main character smoke cigarettes? How does the movie portray smoking overall? Drinking?
  • Do you think viewers need to be familiar with the show that inspired the movie to enjoy it?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 12
    see all The Sweeney reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: It's Winstone who keeps 'The Sweeney' on the right side of duff.

- Dave Calhoun, Time Out, Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Rotten: Regardless of whether you're a longtime devotee or not, you'll be left saying, "This is The Sweeney? I've been rooked."

- David Fear, Time Out New York, Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fresh: Mr. Winstone chews on this Cockney cops-and-robbers caper with foulmouthed glee.

- Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times, Thursday, February 28, 2013

Audience Reviews

3 stars

Pretty damn good, maybe not as good as the original series but well worth a watch.

- stuartb1234, Wednesday, January 9, 2013

3 stars

Absolute, cracking stuff, Guv'nor!

- Lemure, Thursday, April 11, 2013

3 stars

I've never really watched the original British TV series so I can't compare it to that. I realise that Love has tried to update the original premise and kept the two main characters (Regan and Carter) but apart from that I suspect that not much else is the same. However as a stand alone British crime thriller there are some good things here, not least a great shoot out/chase sequence through Trafalgar Square. Winstone is, as always, a very watchable screen presence as Regan (although I didn't buy his relationship with Atwell) and Drew is fine as Carter but there was nothing here I hadn't seen before and I wasn't particularly keen on the tactics and attitude of the Sweeney team. Love seems to suggest that we need coppers like this to get the job done but that doesn't sit well with me. If I just few it as a straightforward thriller though I found it quite enjoyable.

- sayers1977, Saturday, December 15, 2012