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Short takes

Not recommended under 8, PG to 14 (Themes, Violence, Substance use).

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Leatherheads
  • a review of Leatherheads completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 2 June 2008.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to themes, violence and frequent drinking and smoking.
Children 8 -13 Parental guidance recommended due to themes, violence and frequent drinking and smoking.
Children 14 and over 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: Leatherheads
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild comedic violence and coarse language
Length: 113 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Leatherheads is set in 1925, when professional football attracted no fans and no money as opposed to college football, which was played in large stadiums and attracted large crowds. Dodge Connolly (George Clooney) is the charismatic 45 year-old owner/captain of the “Bulldogs,” a pro-football team, which along with the entire pro-football league is on the verge of financial collapse. But Dodge has a plan to save his team, and recruits a young college football golden boy named Carter Rutherford (John Krasinski). Carter, who is handsome and dashing, attracts crowds of 40,000 to a game and is also a WW1 hero, who single-handedly forced the surrender of a platoon of German soldiers. Dodge plans to use all of Carter’s qualities to attract fans, pack the stadiums, make lots of money and save pro-football. This is exactly what happens until Lexie Littleton (Renee Zellweger), an attractive hard-nosed reporter for the Tribune enters the picture with plans of digging up dirt on Carter.


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.

Dirty tactics in sport

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.

Leatherheads contains slapstick-like violence, which occurs both on and off the sports field.  For example:

  • Rough play in football games includes players being put into headlocks, pulled to the ground and jumped on by several other players in a “pile-on,” and tackled and slammed to the ground. 
  • A game that is forfeited results in an on-field brawl in which players are punched in the face and bitten. A wooden sign is smashed over the head of one of the players. There are no visible injuries resulting from the violence.
  • During a game a player kicks a football into the groin of another player, and then kicks the ball into a group of spectators, knocking over several of them. During the same game a player is told to knock out anyone that gets in the way and this results in several players and the referee being punched.  
  • Flashback of a WW1 battle scene where soldiers in trenches are shot at with bullets whizzing past. German soldiers stand up and surrender to Americans.
  • Dodge and Lexie are in a speakeasy that is raided by police with people running and scrambling in all directions. Dodge and Lexie run away and are chased by a policeman, who shoots at, and misses, them. Dodge and Lexie reach the roof of the building to find a man about to commit suicide by jumping off of the roof with people on the ground shouting “Johnny please come down.” There are fireman standing on the ground with a jump-net to catch the jumper, Dodge and Lexie jump and are caught in the firemen’s net. There are no injuries.
  • Carter, who appears somewhat intoxicated, confronts Dodge in an antagonistic manner, but before the confrontation progresses too far, Carter’s sleeve catches fire from a burning candle with Carter running around in a frantic attempt to but the flames out.
  • Carter challenges Dodge to a fight over Lexie. Before the fight commences the pair agree  to punch each other only in the face, which they consider to be the only safe area. They punch each other several times in the face until both are knocked to the ground. The fight continues for an extended period of time until both parties are too exhausted to fight. Neither displays any sign of harm or injury.
  • In one bar-room scene a man picks up a young boy (twelve years old) in an aggressive and threatening manner. Dodge challenges the man and he put the boy down with a bar-room brawl erupting in response.
  • A bar room brawl involves punches to the face and stomach, the biting of fingers and bottles being smashed over heads. Following the fight, the perpetrators are shown with cuts and bruises to the face
  • During the game between the Bulldogs and Chicago, Dodge deliberately punches a player in the face knocking the player unconscious. During the same game a player is “piled-on” by other players, and when the players get up he is squashed into the muddy ground to such an extent that he is no longer visible. When the man is finally pulled from the mud he is gasping for breath.

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.

Children in this age group are likely to be scared by many of the violent scenes

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.

Apart from the above-mentioned violent scenes, there is nothing in the film which is likely to disturb children in this age group.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Apart from the above-mentioned violent scenes, there is nothing in the film which is likely to disturb children in this age group.

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Coca Cola

Sexual references

Leatherheads contains some mild sexual references and innuendo. For example:

  • Lexie makes the comment, “because I have the best legs in the office,” with a co-workers response being, “no Joe does.”
  • While in a hotel lobby, a man sitting with Lexie tells her that he likes her dress. Lexie realising that the man is making an unwanted romantic pass at her tells the man, “you’re acting like a big baby because your substituting my bosoms for your mother’s.” Lexie goes on to make the man feel uncomfortable about her use of the term “bosoms” until the man becomes totally flustered and walks away.
  • Dodge makes reference to Lexie being like a “cocktail that comes on like sugar and gives a kick in the head.”
  • Dodge finds himself in the same train sleeper carriage as Lexie, with Dodge on the top bunk and Lexie on the bottom. After some verbal banter, Lexie says to Dodge, “You want to play dirty?” With Dodge responding with, “Maybe later I’m a little tired now,” Lexie makes the comment, “It’s my first time,” in reference to sharing the sleeper, with Dodge responding with, “They all say that.”
  • One man makes the comment, “She knows her stuff,” referring to Lexie with a second man commenting, “I say he knows her stuff”, made in reference to a man travelling with Lexie.
  • A man makes the comment “You’re only as young as the woman you feel.”
  • Lexie deliberately mispronounces the name of a woman in Dodge’s company by calling her Miss “Nipplewidth”.
  • In an attempt to insult Lexie by referring to her as a prostitute, Carter tells Dodge “Maybe I should have left twenty bucks on the sideboard.”
  • Lexie tells a man “I’ve got great legs,” the man responds with, “it’s the first thing I noticed.”           
  • When Lexie walks into a press booth containing only male reporters, the other reporters appear surprised to see her with one reporter suggesting that she used her sexual wiles to gain her job. 

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some partial nudity and infrequent very low level sexual activity in this movie. Examples include:

  • In one scene Lexie is shown wearing her slip with the outline of her breasts clearly visible.
  • A man displays his naked torso while dancing in a change-room.
  • Lexie and Dodge hold each other close while dancing.
  • Dodge sensuously touches Lexie’s eyes. In response, Lexie passionately kisses Dodge on the lips and he then passionately kisses Lexie. 

Use of substances

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

  • Lexie smokes cigarettes continuously throughout the film.
  • Men smoke cigars in several scenes.
  • Two 12 year old boys smoke cigarettes.
  • Several footballers smoke cigarettes during warm-ups.
  • Men swig alcohol from hip flasks throughout the film.
  • The film contains scenes in ‘speakeasies’ where both men and women smoke cigarettes and consume alcohol with vigour. People drink spirits poured from jar-like bottles.  In one such scene following a brawl between male patrons, the brawlers are depicted singing in an intoxicated manner with their arms around each other’s shoulders, while swigging down large mugs of beer.  
  • Carter holds an almost empty bottle from which he drinks while staggering as if drunk and behaving in an abusive manner. Later Carter, still in an intoxicated state, challenges Dodge to a fistfight with both men knocking each other to the ground. While sitting on the ground Carter swigs from an almost empty bottle of alcohol.
  • In one bar-room scene, where both men and women are drinking alcohol, a young boy stands on a table holding a large mug of beer.     

Coarse language

Leatherheads contains some infrequent mild coarse language, name calling and putdowns.  Example include:

  • Damn ; oh God; Knuckle-heads; shit; I have to pee; Get the hell off me!; shit for brains; arsehole; Jesus; Christ; What the hell?   

In a nutshell

Leatherhead is a1930s style romantic comedy aimed at adults and older adolescents looking for some light-hearted entertainment. The main messages from this movie are that:

  • Lying or distorting the truth will come back to haunt you later in life
  • Being honest in confessing your lies is the right thing to do.
  • Winning honourably is the important thing.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include Dodge’s concern for the welfare of his players

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

  • the dirty play and tactics used to win games
  • the amount of smoking in the film
  • the consumption of alcohol in the amounts shown