Home Alone, 25 Years Later: Why the Movie Probably Wouldn’t Fly Today

Home Alone was a major box office hit in 1991, but that was a different time.

Today, November 16, is the 25th Anniversary of Home Alone, the 1991 holiday box office smash about an adorable and clever eight-year-old who outwits home intruders after his family leaves for an overseas vacation without him.

It’s also a violent, sadistic movie probably wouldn’t make it much further than a pitch meeting today.

It seems that every new generation is exponentially more protective than the one before it and today’s parents are no different; The last decade has seen a rise in so-called helicopter parenting, a hyper-focused approach to childrearing that involves protecting your budding genius from every potential danger or negative experience. Today’s helicopter parents would likely view Kevin McAllister‘s inadvertent abandonment as far more traumatic than funny, and might hesitate to bring the whole family to a movie based on a nightmare scenario. 

And, really, an eight-year-old kid being left alone for any amount of time is a terrifying prospect for parent and child. Especially when there are guns in the house!

Yep — according to the Internet Movie Firearms Database (which is a real thing that exists) Macaulay Culkin shared the screen with multiple deadly weapons: A Colt 1921 AC Thompson,  a Smith & Wesson Model 10 Revolver, and a 3 Pump Action BB Gun. And while no one gets shot with any more dangerous than a BB, there’s plenty of gruesome violence during Kevin’s standoff with the house burglars, documented by the New York Times 1991 review of Home Alone: “The very awfulness of these antics — a nail through a foot, a face stamped with a red-hot iron, a character’s hair burned off the top of his head — is what makes them so riotous, at least from a small child’s point of view.”

Riotous? Maybe. But also pretty messed up. So maybe we can all blame our anxiety issues on a 25-year-old movie and the parents who let us watch it.