Lee Daniels' The Butler (2013) Poster

Parents Guide

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MPAA Rated PG-13 for some violence and disturbing images, language, sexual material, thematic elements and smoking

Sex & Nudity

  • In a bedroom scene, a woman appears to be nude, but has a quilt covering her; her husband is wearing a T-shirt and is covered from the waist down by the quilt (sex is implied).
  • A butler asks a kitchen worker to have sex and that he will put towels down on the kitchen floor for it; she declines.
  • A black velvet painting shows a naked woman in full nudity except for the crotch area.
  • A man in a kitchen begins to tell a sexual joke: "She says to put my whole hand in, then to put my other hand in. Now, clap! I said, I can't'"; then he mouths a few words during loud kitchen noise and the punch line is inaudible.

Violence & Gore

  • Two night scenes show two hanged men dead in closeup with blood seeping from the ropes around their necks.
  • On a plantation worked by sharecroppers, a male owner takes a bi-racial woman into a shed and we hear screams (rape is implied); the woman's young son shouts and the man exits the shed and shoots the boy's father (there's no blood) in front of him; the boy screams and cries as the owner asks who else wants to be shot and walks away; later, we see the boy's mother sitting in front of her cabin, catatonic and we hear that she is crazy.
  • KKK members in a truck topped with a lighted cross stop a bus of Freedom Riders, spit on the windows, break the windows with ball bats, rock the bus and shout unintelligible taunts; men and women on the bus scream while men with torches set fire to the bus; a man wearing a white sheet and hood douses the vehicle with gasoline and the screen goes white; we then see an original photo of the bus in the 1960s, with its top half burned off and the rest charred.
  • We hear gunshots offscreen and the scene cuts to Jackie Kennedy sitting on a sofa with blood covering the skirt of her suit and her lower legs while she cries and howls in anguish; a butler says in the kitchen, "They blew his head off."
  • A couple is shot at three times on the street and they duck into an alley, unharmed.
  • Several violent scenes from the 1950s-1970s Civil Rights Movement show original footage of race riots with African-Americans being beaten by police and dragged away by the feet; in Selma, fire hoses and dogs are turned loose on African-Americans, who scream and cry (no bites are shown) and people are beaten and carried away; in the current time, a man lies in a jailhouse bunk and his face/eyes very swollen and bruised.
  • We hear that Martin Luther King, Jr. is dead and we see streets full of storefronts in Washington, DC smashed in with barrels and bricks; men and women run, screaming and crying and we see footage of inner city rubble and slums.
  • Actual footage of Vietnam warfare is shown with bombs that cause some flames with large amounts of smoke, along with soldiers shooting rifles.
  • African-Americans and supportive whites sit at a Woolworth lunch counter and cannot get service; after several hours, white people come in and slap the seated people in the head, spit in their faces, shake them and slap them while a counter manager tosses hot coffee into an African-American man's face, causing him to scream; the police arrest the people seated at the counter and they receive 30 days in jail.
  • A man and his son argue over politics very loudly in several scenes spanning years and the man finally orders the son and his Black Panther girlfriend out of the house; in one scene, the man slaps the son in the face and in another scene, the mother slaps the son in the face; in a third scene, the mother slaps a younger son in the side of the face and neck.
  • A newspaper shows a black-and-white picture of an African-American man with his head and face smashed in.
  • An African-American man punches through hotel window glass to obtain food and we see his bloody hand; an older man bandages the younger man's hand and slaps him in the face for calling himself a derogatory term for African Americans.
  • A group of people is shown being trained to withstand an attack by providing attacks and verbal abuse to each other in groups seated on chairs in a Civil Rights club meeting.
  • A speaker at a Black Panther meeting tells the group to kill two whites for every African-American that dies in a riot and a woman says that she is ready to do so while a man says that he is not and he quits the group; we hear that two members of the group were shot dead.


  • In one scene a man said 'Son of a Bitch fucked a bee'., 10 scatological terms, 7 anatomical terms, 13 mild obscenities, 24 derogatory terms for African-Americans.
  • One scene used over 35 uses of the word 'nigga'.

Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking

  • A butler takes two prescription bottles from the Dallas assassination and keeps them on his nightstand at home.
  • Glasses of champagne are served at a state dinner at the White House and we see men and women drinking.
  • Men and women drink from bottles of beer on their front porch.
  • Men and women drink short cocktails and bottles of beer.
  • Many open bottles of alcohol sit on a table at a party.
  • Men and women at home drink wine at dinner.
  • A man drinks a cocktail alone.
  • A woman opens a bottle of wine and then closes it without a drink.
  • Butlers serve cocktails and beer in hotel restaurants and to various US Presidents.
  • White House butlers and kitchen staff drink a champagne toast in the kitchen.
  • Men and women smoke cigarettes at home as well as on the street and in restaurants and on television shows and at parties.

Frightening & Intense Scenes

  • The atmosphere of the movie is highly somber and infrequently intense.
  • Scenes revolving around violence and hate crimes, as well as fighting that breaks out at racial protests, are emotional.

See also

Taglines | Plot Summary | Synopsis | Plot Keywords

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