By Sierra Filucci,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Influential '70s musical features sex and mature themes.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The messages are complicated, but involve the importance of love and companionship, as well as the incredible human capacity for endurance.
Positive Role Models
Certainly nobody would wish Sally Bowles' life on their loved one since it's an emotionally fragile one aided by sex and alcohol. But Bowles and the other main characters are good at heart. A friend, Fritz, reveals himself as a Jew in order to marry the woman he loves, despite knowing that his admission is dangerous in the Nazi era.
Violence & Scariness
A few violent scenes -- one of a man getting beaten up and left unconscious, one of a crime scene where a man appears dead with blood around him, and one tussle between a main character and some Nazis that results in a bruised face.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Plenty of discussion about sex -- Bowles talks about how she has frequent casual sex, another character describes an aggressive sexual encounter, brief talk about homosexual relations. A few post-coital scenes. Some kissing. The main character has an abortion.
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Moderate frequency of swear words like "bastard," "goddamnit," "screw," and "s--t."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Frequent smoking and drinking, sometimes to excess and sometimes with the express intent to reduce anxiety.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this Academy-Award-winning musical is chock full of sexual innuendo and frank talk about casual sex, both hetero- and homosexual. Main characters smoke and drink throughout the film while living decadent, if impoverished, lives. The movie is set against the backdrop of the Nazis' rise to power in Germany, with a couple scenes of violence related to Nazi conflicts. The main character has an abortion.
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Where to Watch
Based on 5 parent reviews
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What's the Story?
When Brian Roberts (Michael York) arrives in 1931 Berlin he meets Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli), a cabaret singer with an over-the-top personality. She seduces him into her world, connecting him with work and offering herself sexually to him. When he refuses, implying that he is gay, they continue to build a fun-loving friendship that eventually turns into a complicated three-way relationship with a wealthy playboy. All the while, Sally overcompensates for her fragile emotional state by building her hopes for a career as an actress. These hopes are often based on associations with powerful men she meets at the Kit Kat Klub, but usually end in disappointment. When Sally finds out she's pregnant, Brian offers to marry her, but she realizes their fantasy of a conventional life won't work. The film is set against the backdrop of rising Nazi power in Germany, which adds to the tension in the film.
Is It Any Good?
This 1972 film won eight Academy Awards and many other accolades for its dynamic presentation of the heartbreaking tale of an emotionally scarred young woman. This tale is interspersed with drop-dead gorgeous costumes, brilliant choreography, and songs performed by Minnelli and others. The film perfectly captures the anxiety of the pre-WWII era, where desperate times meant living life to the fullest, even if it's an exhausting and emotionally draining spectacle. It's not likely to appeal to most kids, although teens involved in theater may be interested.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Sally Bowles' emotional state. What drives Sally to want to become a star? Why do you think she has adopted such an intense personality? Why does she change her mind about her relationship with Brian?
Talk about what purpose sex serves to the characters in this movie. How do their values compare to yours?
- In theaters: February 13, 1972
- On DVD or streaming: August 19, 2003
- Cast: Joel Grey, Liza Minnelli, Michael York
- Director: Bob Fosse
- Studio: Warner Home Video
- Genre: Musical
- Topics: Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 124 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- Last updated: June 2, 2023
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Where to Watch
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