Dracula

  • Review Date: October 24, 2011
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 1931
  • Running Time: 75 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Classic vampire movie is more creepy than violent.
  • Review Date: October 24, 2011
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 1931
  • Running Time: 75 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 main message is "beware of vampires." But while some would succumb to Dracula's charms, others, like Van Helsing, continually look for ways to solve the problem of exposing and defeating the monster.

Positive role models

The chilly Van Helsing is probably the movie's best role model, an analytical fellow who does not appear to get rattled in the face of horror. He takes responsibility, looking for ways to outsmart and defeat the vampire and restore things to normal.

Violence

Blood is shown in one scene, when Renfield cuts his finger in Dracula's castle. Blood is mentioned and discussed many other times, and there are small puncture wounds in the necks of Dracula's victims. There is persistent talk of death, and some threats. Much of the violence is only suggested, but some of it is still chilling, such as spiders and bats; the shadow of a dead sea captain, tied to the helm; a mad, giggling Renfield slowly approaching the camera. Dracula is destroyed (offscreen) with a stake to the chest.

Sex

Dracula is shown to have three wives, though they are not seen again after he arrives in London. There's some very subtle, almost imperceptable innuendo as Dracula seduces Mina away from John Harker.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Renfield enjoys a glass of wine in Dracula's castle. (Dracula does not partake, since he never drinks...wine.)

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this classic black and white Dracula contains some mild, but frank talk about death and blood, and some blood is shown. There are some subtle, but still creepy images, though most of the horror is suggested or offscreen. Sexuality has always been part of the Dracula legend, and some almost imperceptible innuendo is present in this movie. Some young viewers may find the movie a bit stiff, but as one of the most iconic movies of all time, they'll likely appreciate it's chilling imagery, if nothing else.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Solicitor Renfield (Dwight Frye) arrives in Transylvania, and despite grim warnings from the locals, arrives at DRACULA's castle so that the Count (Bela Lugosi) can sign the papers on his new abbey in London. Later, Renfield has become Dracula's insane servant, and the count insinuates himself into London society, befriending Jonathan Harker (David Manners), his pretty financee Mina (Helen Chandler), and their friend Lucy (Frances Dade). After Lucy meets a strange fate, the suspicious Professor Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan) begins to investigate; he wants to prove that Dracula is indeed a vampire. But even if he can do this, can he stop the horrible creature?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Today, some claim that Dracula is a bit stiff and stagy, and indeed it was adapted from the successful stage play of the time, rather than directly from Bram Stoker's famous book. Often, actions are described rather than shown. Moreover, director Tod Browning was forced to cast the star of the play, Bela Lugosi, rather than his first choice, actor Lon Chaney (who had recently died). Now, however, it's difficult to picture any other actor in the role, and almost all of today's vampire lore can be traced back to Lugosi.

Browning was more familiar with and adept at macabre material than any other director, and he instills the movie with a creepy, sinister mood that's hard to shake. Part of this is thanks to the master cinematographer Karl Freund (who would go on to direct the equally creepy The Mummy the following year), and part of it is thanks to some purely unsettling imagery. Perhaps best of all is the dialogue, which yielded many memorable lines. All in all, it's a chilling classic.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence. Which scenes were the scariest, or most vivid? What was shown and what was kept offscreen? Is the scariest stuff always the most explicit?

  • What kind of character is Dracula? He's not the hero -- so what role does he play? What makes him so timelessly appealing?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 14, 1931
DVD release date:September 26, 2006
Cast:Bela Lugosi, David Manners, Helen Chandler
Director:Tod Browning
Studio:Universal Pictures
Genre:Horror
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Run time:75 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Dracula was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • 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.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

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.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 10 years old March 31, 2012
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

Dracula owns!!!!

Dracula is a classic horror movie that would be good of kids 9+ very great movie Renfield is a bit scary though Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula
What other families should know
Great role models
Kid, 11 years old November 4, 2011
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

One of the greatest movies ever

This movie is great. It can be creepy but just enough that young kids don't have nightmares after they watch it. It is my favourite movie ever by far. Irecomend it to anyone. 10/10. Oh, and people who don't like this movie just because its black and white GET A LIFE!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byFILMCRITIC500 February 15, 2013
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

old times horror flick delivers scares; ok for young kids

Bela Lugosi stars as the titular character in this ultra-classic horror film from 1931. and with its classiness comes 3 great things: epic acting, crisp cinematography, and plenty of intricate chills. but the creepy atmosphere and the killing make this timeless flick better for older kids. the movie has a low body count and most of the deaths occur offscreen, but its still sometimes scary. 3 women are bitten (offscreen) a man is killed (offscreen, but we see his body roll down stairs) there are images of a rotten corpse and the shadow of a dead sailor. Dracula is staked offscreen and Reinfeld cuts his finger (we see blood) creepy animals are seen
What other families should know
Too much violence

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass