A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Dated themes. Annie Oakley, to win the heart of Frank, is encouraged to lose at the climactic shooting contest so Frank's manhood doesn't feel challenged and thus, they can be together. Native Americans are depicted as ignorant savages who waste their money and have rituals judged to be primitive and bizarre by the whites around them.
Positive Role Models
Frank is unable to cope with the idea that a woman, even Annie Oakley, could be a better shooter than him. Annie deliberately loses shooting contests against Frank, because she realizes it's the only way to win his heart.
Violence & Scariness
Plenty of gunfire, but no live targets.
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Outdated terms for Native Americans, such as "squaws," "Injuns," "Indians."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Talk of drinking liquor in song. Champagne drinking. Cigar smoking. Talk in a song of an uncle on a drinking spree.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Annie Get Your Gun is a 1950 musical about Annie Oakley. Viewed through the lens of the 21st century, the movie's depictions of Native Americans are extraordinarily dated at best and outright racist at worst -- Native Americans are depicted as ignorant savages who frivolously spend money on things like eclairs and speak broken English, and make Annie an honorary Native American during a cringeworthy song called "I'm an Indian, Too." Furthermore, the movie's resolution is extremely dated: Annie is told that if she wants to be with Frank, she must deliberately lose the climactic shooting contest so Frank's male ego isn't crushed, and he can go on being a man, and Annie can do more "feminine" duties. However, there are some classic Irving Berlin songs in this movie, such as "There's No Business Like Show Business" and "Anything I Can Do (I Can Do Better)." Families who watch this film may want to use it to encourage their kids to explore the true history of the West by reading books and watching other historical fiction. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
There's something to be said for a bit of healthy competition, but director George Sidney heaps on more than you might be bargaining for in this slow but entertaining 1950 musical. Annie's so determined to make her beau proud that their love turns to bitter rivalry, as evidenced by the song "Anything You Can Do," in which the two exhaust themselves trying to one-up each other. It's presented as comedy, but there's an underlying message there for kids about knowing when to give in.
Parents may also want to discuss Annie's profound sacrifice at the end of the movie. The conclusion may not have ruffled many feathers half a century ago, but by modern standards Annie's compromise feels like a cop-out. Still, it's pleasing to watch her evolve from a dirty, illiterate bumpkin into a world-renowned star. Betty Hutton, who replaced Judy Garland partway into the shoot, makes the transformation believable, even if she and costar Howard Keel fail to summon up any real chemistry. If nothing else, the two make a swell excuse for some good old Irving Berlin tunes, including "There's No Business Like Show Business" and "You Can't Get a Man with a Gun."
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.