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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Lots of kid-themed debauchery, including a bootleg sarsaparilla racket, stealing, and breaking the law.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of comic violence with guns filled with cream. Instead of being shot with bullets, kids are "killed" with the help of semiautomatic "splurge guns." Scenes with these guns include a massacre at a speakeasy and pies in the face. Bugsy gets beaten up and robbed. Leroy boxes and punches someone out in the ring.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lots of tween girls wearing sexy outfits, but no sexual behavior. Tallulah kisses Bugsy on the forehead.
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One use of "hell."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Only if you count bootleg root beer.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that while all the violence here involves cream pies and cream-loaded "splurge guns," there's still menace behind it and characters do "die" of their cream-filled wounds. There are cream massacres and cream-pie hits. There's also a great deal of sexualization of tween girls, with young girls saying that they watch their figures and dancing suggestively. Jodie Foster's character sings about how the men in the audience "don't have to be lonely." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
As a spoof of serious mobster movies like The Godfather, Bugsy Malone is a delight, with some excellent performances by child actors. Sure, the plot is silly, but it's meant to be. After all, what could be less scary and threatening than a gun that shoots what looks like spit balls? And it's fun to watch the whole cast degenerate into the equivalent of a food fight at the end. These are just kids, the film makes clear.
Where the film seems less clear about the age of its stars is in its treatment of the tween girls in the film. Girls who have yet to develop any curves say they're "watching their weight," chorus girls perform slightly sexy dance moves, and Tallulah sings to the men that they "don't have to be lonely." Yikes. Kids watching it may not be aware of what that means, but parents may want to talk to their young children about it.
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.
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Our Editors Recommend
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