Cabaret

  • Review Date: December 16, 2009
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Musical
  • Release Year: 1972
  • Running Time: 124 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Influential '70s musical features sex and mature themes.
  • Review Date: December 16, 2009
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Musical
  • Release Year: 1972
  • Running Time: 124 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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

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.

Sex

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.

Language

Moderate frequency of swear words like "bastard," "goddamnit," "screw," and "s--t."

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Frequent smoking and drinking, sometimes to excess and sometimes with the express intent to reduce anxiety.

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 13, 1972
DVD release date: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

This review of Cabaret 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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Quality

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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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byDoctor Who Lover March 13, 2012
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Cabaret: a great musical for teens and up

Cabaret is a great musical. But first, you have to understand the story a bit to really get into it. There is quite a bit of sex talk, smoking/drinking, and some violence. But overall, it's a great musical, and I hope that anyone who sees it will enjoy it as much as I did and still do.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byWhitcomb T Johnstone October 22, 2011
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

Thought provoking musical to watch with your kids.

We listened to the soundtrack of this musical on the tape player in my Dad's car on the way to Grandma's house when I was a kid (6-7, I think)! The songs led to some good discussions about the rise of Naziism and parallels with political extremism in the US. I've loved the music all my life, though I didn't see the film itself until I was an adult. I think that either the soundtrack or the movie itself are wonderful for watching/listening to and discussing with your kids, but this is not a movie for kids to view on their own.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written bybwayboy February 2, 2011
AGE
12
QUALITY
 
Liza Minelli and Joel Grey complete create the lead roles and do it well. It is not like the musical at all and the story is completely rewritten, personally I would recommend watching the musical on youtube, but this movie is still good. There is a small amount of fights, some being bloody. There are sexy scenes and it is talked about frequently. There's some language. The main character almost always has a cigarette or glass of gin in her hand. The music and actors are amazing. The message is you can't live "life is a cabaret"is very powerful.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages

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