Adventures in Babysitting

  • Review Date: October 19, 2007
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1987
  • Running Time: 102 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Sitter's misadventures are mostly light fun.
  • Review Date: October 19, 2007
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1987
  • Running Time: 102 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Overall, the movie's teens and children are portrayed as good, although a babysitter demonstrates rather poor judgment by taking kids into the city. A teen boy repeatedly makes sex jokes; he and a friend also look at a Playboy magazine. Some adult characters are involved in criminal activities, such as car theft. A little girl wanders away in the city and narrowly escapes danger.


Jokes center on the vivid imaginations of kids from the 'burbs. A "stab wound" results in just one stitch; criminals chase the kids through the city, but not for the sinister reason they think. 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 -- he does pull a shot gun, but on his wife's lover as he runs from his house. Men punch each other in various fistfights. A little girl tries to escape a high-rise building by climbing out a window. A man reveals a gun under his coat to a teen girl.


Some kissing, including a teen boy and an older college girl making out at a party. 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. A prostitute propositions a teen boy. A drunk college girl asks a teen boy, "Wanna go to bed?"


Some profanity, such as "f--k," "s--t" "son of a bitch," "goddamn," and "Jesus." A teenage boy refers to a comic book superhero as a "homo."


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 are shown drinking alcohol and playing drinking games at a frat party.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie does include 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 just one stitch; criminals chase the kids through the city, but not for the sinister reason they think. You'll also find 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.

Parents say

Kids say

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 in 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 light-hearted 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.

Families can talk 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 calls her from the bus station? What would have been the sensible, "grown-up" thing to do?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 1, 1987
DVD release date:January 18, 2000
Cast:Anthony Rapp, Elisabeth Shue, Penelope Ann Ann Miller
Director:Chris Columbus
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Run time:102 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13

This review of Adventures in Babysitting was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 8 year old Written bybobsax April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Really bad Language and sexual themes

The TV version of this is fine to watch with kids as young as 8. I wish that version was available on DVD For some reason movies of this era thought it necessary to include profanity and this one will teach your little ones all the worst ones. I was really shocked and embarrassed when I watched this with my 7 year-old. By the way at the time there was no review on CSM.
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 DVD, I was highly surprised at the language throughout. It definitely deserves the PG-13 rating! Elisabeth Shue plays Chris Parker, a 17 year old that takes an evening babysitting job when her boyfriend cancels their anniversary dinner. Her best friend Brenda is troubled and runs away from home. Brenda frantically calls Chris from a payphone at a bus station in down-town Chicago in desperate need of money, from there she is terrorized by creepy characters and even one with a gun. Chris has no choice but to pick up Brenda but she must take the kids along for the ride - Sara, her older brother Brad and his best friend Daryl. On the way, they get a flat tire and run into a freaky man in a giant tow truck with a hook for a hand who offers to tow Chris' station wagon and get it fixed. But that's only beginning, Chris and the kids must go through a series of hilarious events (like being chased all night by a group of men, being held hostage, singing on stage at a blues bar, kid hangs from a rope outside a large building, running into thugs on a subway, taking Brad to the hospital, running into Brad & Sara's parents at a dinner party, Chris spotting and confronting her boyfriend with another woman...and much more!) In the end, they must find their car, pick up Brenda (if she's still alive) and get home fast before the parents get back! Such a fun movie full of endless adventures!!! Language is a concern and includes the f-word at least 3 times, several uses of sh*t, b*tch, Godd@mn, Jesus. Violence includes a shooting that hits Chris's car window, a stabbing to the foot on a subway, creepy tough-guy criminals chasing the kids all night, Chris tells a story about a murderer with a hook for a hand - they later meet a man with a hook for his hand, gun shown, couple of funny fist fighting scenes, punching, a kid hangs from a rope outside a high-rise building, Brenda picks up a rat when she thinks it's a bunny (without her glasses) and later freaks out, some threatening words. Sexual content includes glimpses of a playboy magazine throughout the film (no nudity), some sex references like a college girl asks a boy to go to bed with her, quick passionate kissing scene at a party, a boy calls someone a penis, a boy comments that a girl has large breasts, a prostitute talks to a boy, a boy refers a superhero as a H0m0. There's social drinking. Okay for mature 13+ viewers!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent of a 12 year old Written bylittleone522 February 6, 2011

Not for kids under 13

I was quite surprised at the language in this movie. All swear words are found in this movie that I thought was "safe" for kids. "son of a b" is found at least five times, "Sh_t" is found at least three times, "as_hole" is found twice and "as_" is also said a couple of times, "bast_rd" is found at least once and the "F" word is used at least twice. Other words that are a concern for younger kids would be "H0m0" found 3 times, "r_pe" found once, "sex fiend" is also mentioned. "Jes_s" and "Chr_st" are also said many times throughout this movie. There are many conversations in this movie that are sex related and not for younger veiwers.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing


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