Adventures in Babysitting

Movie review by
Teresa Talerico, Common Sense Media
Adventures in Babysitting Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
'80s comedy has lots of profanity, peril, innuendos.
  • PG-13
  • 1987
  • 102 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 12 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 22 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The overriding message is that teenagers have terrible judgment but somehow they will also be extremely lucky and avoid the consequences of their seemingly lethal errors. Not only can you survive such risky situations, but they will add up to constitute the greatest night of your life. Don't take rides with strangers. Strangers can be kind and helpful.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Chris makes one bad decision after another, oblivious to the fact that her actions jeopardize the safety of her charges. Nevertheless, when facing the perilous consequences of her decisions, she unfailingly (however late) puts the safety of the kids she's babysitting first. Joe, who steals cars for the bad guys, admires Chris and comes to her rescue several times. A threatening-looking mechanic turns out to be kind and helpful. A tow truck driver kindly helps the kids out. A college student lends Chris money to bail out her damaged car. A high school senior runs away from home but gets no further than a scary bus station.


A lot of peril comes out of incorrect assumptions made by teenagers. An innocent suburban high school senior encounters harmless but scary homeless people at a downtown Chicago bus station. A homeless woman steals her glasses, and she steals them back. A high school girl jokingly threatens to spike her stepmother's soda with Drano. A 7-year-old girl sits in the front seat of a car. Chris gets a flat tire on the highway and discovers there's no spare in the trunk. A scary tow truck driver offers to give Chris and her crew a ride, and they take it; he drives recklessly. A jealous husband fires shots at a man two-timing him. One shot hits Chris' mom's windshield. The kids are captured by bad men running a car theft ring. A child running from a bad guy clings to the outside of a glass skyscraper until she's rescued. People get punched. Kids jump subway turnstiles. Two street gangs get ready to rumble in a subway car. A knife is wielded and hits someone in the toe; no blood is seen. The babysitter's scary story about a murderer with a hook for a hand makes the kids scared stiff of a tow truck driver they meet with a hook for a hand. A man reveals a gun under his coat to a teen girl.


A college-age man dating a 17-year-old girl complains that her "legs are locked together at the knees." A man jumps out the window of the home of another man's wife with his pants open. A 15-year-old boy refers to a Playboy model's "humongous … " but is interrupted before he can finish. He makes frequent references to sex, including asking if someone got "her clothes off." A 15-year-old boy encounters a 17-year-old prostitute. A high school senior looks like she's about to kiss a college-age boy. A 15-year-old boy is kissed by a drunk college-age girl who says, "Wanna go to bed?" (They don't.) A running gag involves a female character's resemblance to a Playboy centerfold. An exchange between a hot dog vendor and his customer is played for laughs, with the word "wiener" having a sexual connotation.


"F--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "homo," "idiot," "bitch," "scum sucker," "penis," "goddamn," and "Jesus."


Visible products include Cap'n Crunch cereal, a Coke machine, and a Nestlé Crunch chocolate bar. References are also made to Häagen-Dazs and Clearasil.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adult characters drink cocktails at a swanky party. College students drink alcohol and play drinking games at a frat party.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Adventures in Babysitting is a 1987 comedy. It includes some violent scenes, but they're mostly fodder for jokes that center on the vivid imaginations of kids from the 'burbs. A "stab wound" results in only one stitch; criminals chase the kids through the city but not for the sinister reason they think. You'll also see some guns, fistfights, and one scary moment where a little girl tries to escape a high-rise building by climbing out a window. The movie is also a little racy, with talk of Playboy magazine and a surprising number of sexual innuendos, including a college-age man dating a 17-year-old girl complaining that her "legs are locked together at the knees" and scenes with a prostitute. Profanity includes "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "homo," "idiot," "bitch," "scum sucker," "penis," "goddamn," and "Jesus."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bywonder dove October 22, 2013

FUN, Hilarious Movie for Older Kids!!

I watched Adventures in Babysitting plenty of times as a kid but most of the "bad stuff" was dubbed on TV. When I watched the actual movie, VHS and DV... Continue reading
Parent of a 5 and 11-year-old Written byMrsElizabeth January 28, 2021

Language and some sexual content

Quite a bit of profanity and light sexual content.
Kid, 10 years old August 11, 2018

Hilarious, action-packed film, but definitely geared toward older teens

Adventures in Babysitting, is, as I often tell my dad, rated by 80's standards, so movies that were released in that decade usually would have been given a... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byreal_reviews December 2, 2020

Really well done, amazing! *read this!*

Besides beginning when they used the word “homo” as a put down, (I mean it was the 80s) this movie was brilliant! It was so engaging, and funny at times! It mak... Continue reading

What's the story?

ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING gets rolling when suburban high school senior Chris Parker (Elisabeth Shue) takes a last-minute babysitting gig. Shortly after the parents leave, Chris gets a frantic call from her best friend, who is stuck at the bus station with no money. Chris loads her young charges into her station wagon and heads for the big city. They quickly get into one scrape after another, starting with a tire blowout that leaves them stranded on a busy freeway. By the time the car is fixed, they have been held hostage in a chop shop, performed onstage at a blues bar, been pursued by criminals, and narrowly escaped street gangs on the subway. Although they seem to be magnets for mishaps, Chris and the kids manage to keep outwitting the bad guys -- with a little help along the way.

Is it any good?

As perky as its heroine, ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING is a madcap dash through the mean streets of Chicago. This frothy, utterly '80s comedy manages to remain lighthearted and breezy despite several potentially dangerous situations that the main characters face.

Shue is especially fun to watch, and the film features a number of other actors who went on to bigger and better things, including Penelope Ann Miller, Vincent D'Onofrio, Lolita Davidovitch, The West Wing's Bradley Whitford, and red-haired Anthony Rapp of the Broadway and screen versions of Rent. Parents may not remember how racy the language and sexual content is, though, so think twice before sharing with your tweens.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether Chris made the right decision by taking the children into the city. What could she have done differently when her friend called her from the bus station? What would have been the sensible, "grown-up" thing to do?

  • How do you think this movie has aged? Is it still relevant?

  • What would have been the real-life consequences of this adventure?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love the '80s

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate