Year One

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Short takes

Not recommended under 15 (Themes and sexual references)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Year One
  • a review of Year One completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 18 June 2009.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 15 Not recommended due to themes and frequent sexual references.

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: Year One
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Sexual references and coarse language
Length: 97 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Zed (Jack Black) and Oh (Michael Cera) live in a primitive hunter-gatherer community where neither excels at his task. Zed is in love with Maya (June Diane Raphael) who wants a big strong man who can protect and provide for her, someone who is the exact opposite of Zed. Oh is desperately in love with Eema (Juno Temple) who barely seems to notice his existence. When Zed eats the forbidden fruit he is cast out of the village and Oh joins him on an adventure to see the world and begin a new community. Instead they stumble upon Cain (David Cross) and Abel (Paul Rudd), who are fighting in a field. After Cain murders Abel they find themselves at the mercy of a mad man who will do whatever it takes to save himself, including selling Zed and Oh as slaves.
It is in a slave market that Zed and Oh see Maya and Eema again. They have been captured by a neighbouring tribe and have also been sold as slaves. Zed promises that he will find a way to free them all. When their caravan is attacked by soldiers Zed and Oh manage to escape into the desert and, in an attempt to follow the caravan, find themselves in a Hebrew village as guests of Abraham (Hank Azaria) who is obsessed with circumcising his son Isaac (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and any other males he can find.


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.

Incest, slavery; parodies of biblical characters

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:

  • Zed accidentally shoots another hunter with a spear.
  • The head hunter breaks Zed’s spear and puts him in a head lock.
  • Oh whacks Eema on the head with a large stick. She hits him back.
  • The head hunter chases Zed through the forest screaming “I will gut you alive!”
  • Oh is attacked by a cougar.
  • We are told that Maya’s parents are attacked and killed by wild dogs. Zed makes a joke out of it.
  • Zed attempts to kill a yak, but is bucked off after his arrows fail.
  • Cain and Abel fight. They punch each other in the face and then wrestle to the ground.
  • Cain smashes Abel’s head with a rock until he is dead.
  • Cain is hit by lightening, the impact leaves a smoking hole and red scar on his forehead.
  • The slave caravan is attacked by soldiers. Men are killed with arrows and swords. In the fighting one man is decapitated and another has his neck broken.
  • Zed is punched by a soldier and Oh’s nipples are squeezed until he screams.
  • Zed and Oh join the Sodom army and are told that if they catch anyone stealing they must chop off a finger or a nose.
  • Zed and Oh are whipped.
  • People are crushed by falling scaffolding.
  • In a fight scene Maya is punched in the stomach, people are hit and kicked in the face and Oh knocks a man unconscious with a shield.
  • Oh tells Isaac to get away from Eema or he will kill him where he stands.

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:

  • Zed is cast out of the community by a witch doctor like person with a blackened, scarily painted face, wild hair and tusks. The image would likely frighten small children.
  • The King of Sodom sacrifices virgins in a fire that comes out of the mouth of a giant wild boar. The image and the fire that roars out of it could be disturbing to young viewers.
  • Abraham has tied Isaac by the wrists and is about to sacrifice his son to the gods with a large dagger when Zed and Oh interrupt him.

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.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes

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.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes

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.

Children over 13 are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Oh says that he wants to lay with Eema.
  • Oh reminds Zed that he lay with his mother. Zed remembers how awkward it was in the morning.
  • Cain’s sister tells Zed that she is only attracted to women. Zed asks her to explain that again as all his brain blood has gone into his boner.
  • Abraham tells Zed and Oh how God wants him to ‘cut the tip off of the penis.’
  • Isaac tries to enter the city by banging on the door and calling out “Ladies! Let us in! We have no foreskins!”
  • A woman watches Zed as he walks through the city. She seductively peels a banana and then licks and sucks it while maintaining eye contact with him. He does the same with a piece of kabob.
  • A high priest is brought in to predict the future using sheep entrails. He observes how the genitals are enormous and the anus is pulverized.
  • The people of Sodom are said to enjoy sodomy. They claim it is the best part of Sodom.
  • A eunuch has cut off his genitals and carries them in a little sack so that they are always close at hand.
  • Maya tells Zed, as she leads him to a royal orgy, that the princess has crabs.
  • A soldier grabs Eema and asks “What’s up your skirt?”
  • A high priest instructs Oh to rub oil onto his body with his nut sack. He tells him “dance with it all, suck it all, lets be ashamed of ourselves in the morning.”
  • The princess tells Zed that she wants him to enter “the holy of holies.” Zed assumes she is making a sexual reference and says “That’s good because I want you to sit on the poley of polies.”
  • Oh shows Zed that his hands are full of hair and infers that some belongs to the High Priest’s pubic region.
  • Oh breaks the gigantic penis off a statue in the temple.
  • Oh and Eema come out of a temple and announce that they are no longer virgins.
  • Oh, against his will, takes a bath with the high priest.
  • Abram comes to Sodom and says to his followers as though leading them into battle: “Let’s cut some foreskins!”
  • Oh asks Eema as they slip to the floor of the temple: “Should I take off my under cloth?”
  • Isaac suggestively tells Eema that: “They cut off a little, but there’s plenty more where that came from.”

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • Zed does a sexy, pelvic thrusting, dance for Maya and asks her: “Can you say no to this?”
  • The cave people wear costumes which are rather skimpy, exposing torsos, thighs and cleavage.
  • Women passionately kiss each other in the streets of Sodom.
  • Maya and Zed kiss passionately with open mouths and Zed says that he is thinking of adding the tongue. They promise to work on it. Later he is seen exploring her face with his tongue, even poking it up her nose.
  • Eema rubs the spear of a hunter in a very provocative manner.
  • Oh shares a bed with a man who likes to “multiply with sheep.”
  • Zed dangles his loincloth over his head and sucks the tip of it as he gets into bed with Cain’s sister.

Use of substances

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

  • There is frequent drinking in the city of Sodom,
  • The virgins are given a special drink before they are thrown into a sacrificial fire. They are told that they won’t feel a thing. Maya licks the goblet after drinking every drop and walks toward the temple as if she were happily drunk.


Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Shit, fucked, ass-hole, lying bitch, and ass.

In a nutshell

Year One is a crude and silly comedy which may have appeal for older adolescents and fans of Jack Black.
The main messages from this movie are that you have choices in life and that it is through your choices and actions that you make our own destiny.
Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with older children include:

  • optimism and persistence
  • the quest for knowledge and wisdom