Bad Guys, The

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Not suitable under 5; parental guidance to 9 (violence, scary scene, themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Bad Guys, The
  • a review of Bad Guys, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 31 March 2022.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not suitable due to violence, a scary scene and themes.
Children aged 5–9 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and themes.
Children over the age of 9 Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Bad Guys, The
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes, animated violence and crude humour
Length: 100 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Wolves have always been given a bad rap. They are the villains in every story and Wolf (voice of Sam Rockwell) is seen as no exception. Why be good when everyone always sees you as bad? Together with his friends: Snake (voice of Marc Maron), Shark (voice of Craig Robinson), Piranha (voice of Anthony Ramos), and Miss Tarantula (voice of Awkwafina) they make a highly skilled and successful team responsible for countless robberies and notorious thefts. Believing that they are invincible and wanting to show the new Mayor Diane Foxington (voice of Zazie Beetz) that they are not insecure and unhappy like she describes them in a news broadcast, they set about attempting to steal a highly coveted golden trophy that has never been stolen before. Caught in the act and unable to escape, the friends are offered the chance to take part in a social experiment run by the highly honoured, good Samaritan, Professor Marmalade (voice of Richard Ayoade). If he is able to show that 'The Bad Guys' have learned to become good, then he will get the golden prize and they will get their freedom. For 'The Bad Guys', changing who they are certainly seems thankless and impossible but they soon learn that there is far more at stake than changing people’s perception of them or even their chance of freedom.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Crime; Negative stereotypes; Corruption; Mind control; Betrayal; Animal testing.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie, including:

  • Bank customers scream and flee as Wolf and Snake hold up a bank. They blast through a wall to get money and some people crash through a window.
  • There are numerous car crashes throughout a wild police chase.
  • A police chief is nearly hit and killed by a bus.
  • Shark attacks Snake, trying to strangle him for an ice pop.
  • Armed security guns shoot at a statue while The Bad Guys are trying to steal something.
  • Piranha attacks the gala security guards.
  • Shark grabs and strangles Snake before eating him. He is later regurgitated.
  • Wolf is hit by a speeding bus and falls out of the sky.
  • A scared kitty cat, that The Bad Guys try to rescue from a tree, scratches Wolf in the face.
  • Snake smashes into a window repeatedly.
  • Snake eats about a thousand guineas pigs instead of rescuing them. They are then expelled from the snake’s mouth as he is swung around and around until all of them have been regurgitated.
  • A character’s face is stepped on.
  • Professor Marmalade makes it look like Wolf is attacking him.
  • Prison guards are attacked by a ninja. They are thrown, kicked, punched and teeth are knocked out.
  • As The Bad Guys escape the jail, numerous explosions are detonated in the distance.
  • Trucks run over some of the guinea pigs.
  • Possessed guinea pigs attack truck drivers, throwing them out of their vehicles, causing cars to smash around them and stealing all the money they contain.
  • An army of possessed guinea pigs try to stop The Bad Guys from returning a meteorite.
  • Professor Marmalade kicks Snake in the face so that he falls out of a helicopter.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Professor Marmalade turns from a sweet-looking guinea pig into a crazed, evil, scientist who harnesses the power of a meteorite to zombify thousands of little guinea pigs. The cute little creatures are possessed, they have glowing blue eyes and they violently attack the charity vans attempting to deliver funds to schools, leaving trails of sobbing children in their wake. They soon change course and try to stop The Bad Guys in an intense chase scene through the city. The loud, dramatic music and creepy eyes, in addition to the content of the scenes, may disturb some young viewers.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Wolf has a wardrobe malfunction while trying to escape from a gala event and he winds up in his underwear in front of all the guests.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Martinis are served at a party and Shark downs two very quickly.
  • Champagne is also served and consumed at a gala event.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • There is no coarse language in the film but one character calls himself a scary, good-for-nothing, monster and there is some crude humour involving repeated farts and butts.

In a nutshell

The Bad Guys is an animated adventure with a fast paced, predictable plot and a positive message about the power of second chances and how everyone has something good inside them. The film will appeal to kids of all ages and can be enjoyed as a family film with all but the youngest of viewers.

The main messages from this movie are that change is possible; that stereotypes don’t have to stick; and that being good brings greater happiness and riches than stealing ever could.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Friendship
  • Loyalty
  • Helpfulness
  • Compassion
  • Ingenuity.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Stealing what doesn’t belong to you.
  • Using animals as test subjects.
  • Making poor choices as opposed to good ones.
  • Betraying those you love.
  • Allowing society’s perception of who you are determine the course of your life.
  • Believing what the media tells you regardless of what the truth might be.