Parent reviews for E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial

Common Sense says

Spielberg's family classic is still one of the best.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 54 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 115 reviews
Adult Written byJenPete November 7, 2010

TERRIBLE foul language makes this otherwise fantastic family film inappropriate

We had great memories of this film and hoped to share it with our 8 and 10 year olds. WOW! I'm sure glad we previewed it. The use of foul language is absolutely inappropriate for what would otherwise be a fantastic family film. There are, of course, tense moments, and some discussion should be had with young children about e.t., his origins and his appearance. Spielberg did a great job building tension visually and with the help of John WIlliams' score. We'll save this for when the kids are older.

This title contains:

Language
Consumerism
Educator and Parent Written byMsResearch November 11, 2014

Heed My Words!

Dear parents, As a three-year-old, I was summoned by my parents to the living room of our little apartment. They told me to look at the TV. I watched a boy offer Reese's Pieces to a figure shrouded in darkness. When the terrible head and neck were revealed, I was paralyzed in fear. I could not move. I could not speak. I wanted to scream and cry, but I couldn't. Finally, I forced myself to turn to my parents. Still unable to form words, I began to cry and ran to my room. Thus was the beginning of my terrible fear of E.T. For years, I was plagued with nightmares and anxiety. Any silhouette with the same shape reduced me to tears. When I reached fourth grade, I began to obsessively cover or change any shapes that would transform into his frightening appearance when the light were turned out. Night lights didn't help much; the light would produce new shadows. I constantly looked over my shoulder in terror, for fear that he would suddenly appear behind me. The slightest suggestion of him would send chills down my spine, and trigger an all-too-familiar lump in my throat. To this day, when I enter an F.Y.E. in the mall, my friends must block his likeness in the action-figure section, for fear that I will scream and leave a MsResearch-shaped-whole in the wall. So many stories...but I digress. Caution, parents! You may look upon this figure with affection or even love! You may yearn to introduce your children to this award-winning film! However, I insist you resist! Spare your child from the pain I was caused! This is the testimony of one who knows! DO NOT SHOW YOUR PRESCHOOLER THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL!!! THEY TOLD ME HE WAS AN ACTOR IN A SUIT, NO DIFFERENT FROM MY TEDDY BEAR!! I THEN COULD NOT TOUCH MY TEDDY BEAR! THEY TOLD ME THAT HE IS ACTUALLY A LOVABLE CHARACTER WHO I MISUNDERSTOOD!! I WAS POSSESSED WITH IMAGES OF HIM TRYING TO CATCH ME TO MAKE ME UNDERSTAND!! UNDERSTAND THIS: IF YOU SHOW A LITTLE KID E.T., SHE WILL BE SCARRED FOR LIFE! Love, MsResearch P.S. Sorry for shouting. As you can see, this is a very sensitive subject which I felt compelled to share with the world. P.P.S. I said "Really good" because my inner Spock thinks it's likely that humans awarded it for a reason.
Adult Written bysmog April 9, 2008

Great movie, just not for anyone under at least 10

I love this movie, I really do. I was excited to show it to my son who's five and loves anything about aliens, monsters etc. So we watched it. I was SHOCKED at the language! I mean aside from the sh*t there was p#nis head, d*&#he bag etc. Thankfully he didn't catch it the first time around but he won't be watching this for quite a while. It's too bad too, it's a really cute movie aside from the language.
Parent Written byBobMarley112 March 27, 2011

Should go in your 80's movies collection

Very good movie about a loveable, curious and freindly alien who is accidentaly left behind on earth during a visit. The little guy meets up with Elliot his human equivalent, who does everything he can to get his friend back home. Heart touching movie good for young kids, but not too young because it might scare them. Be sure if you buy it, to see which edition it is, through the years the movie was changed, one was changed to an R rating

This title contains:

Educational value
Positive messages
Positive role models
Privacy & safety
Adult Written bylillybaby April 9, 2008

I might have enjoyed it if I was older

My parents showed me this movie when I was about 4-5 years old. It is one of my first life memories as well, just not in a good way! The ET character freaked me out, my parents kept trying to reassure me it was "friendly" but I wasn't buying it. Anyways, I was hiding behind a bunch of pillows on the couch the entire movie and I had nightmares about him for years after. I have never been able to force myself to watch it again, and probably never will. Even as an adult, the sight of it gives me the creeps. Maybe I was an overly sensitive 5 year old, but I would wait a few more years to show it to a child.
Educator Written bymjlCT November 22, 2012

Still a good flick after all these years...

Although there are things in this film that we normally don't let our kids watch, we thought after today's holiday feast, we'd settle on the couch to share a happy memory from our own childhoods. We unsealed the ET VHS tape I've had since 1988 when my dad bought it for me and I was too cool to watch it and both our daughters (4.5 and nearly 7 years old) enjoyed it. The product placement is overt, but so dated the brands are less-than recognizable. The insults and language was the most shocking thing when I saw this as an eight year old, and still found it so today (I never forgot hearing "pen** breath" and trying to figure out what the heck that meant as a kid). There are a couple of scenes with guns in this version (I have heard that the re-release modified this postproduction?? Again, we have the original VHS so I don't know). There is high drama and it is as exciting and emotional a film as I would recommend to parents with youngish kids. However, being that we have a couple of family friends who live far away now, I felt my kids would connect with this in a positive way, and that seems to be the case. Overall, for our family, a movie where kids have deep insight and are the primary agents of change is a positive thing and in this case, youth-matters as a message is stronger than any negative messages. Even the "bad guy" is really on ET and Eliott's side. And I LOVE how the siblings all work together, even if there are some moments of not-the-best-choices-making. Of course, this would all be solved today because at least one of those kids would have had a cell phone... Still, this is so preferable to the cheesy CG carp that is marketed to kids today that is void of any useful messages at all.

This title contains:

Positive messages
Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking
Parent of a 4 and 6 year old Written byAnthony_LA September 26, 2010

Probably best for 8 and over if you don't feel like reassuring the kids every 5 minutes

My 6-year old boy and 4-year old girl got scared during certain scene - we needed to explain it was just a movie. Once they got over their initial fear, the really enjoyed the moved. The film has potent messages and is a real tear-jerker.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Language
Positive messages
Parent of a 6 and 6 year old Written bymom2twins July 5, 2010

Maybe one more year ...

In a fit of nostaglia, my husband and I broke out the old VHS tape of "E.T.," thinking that the time would be good for our 6-year-old twins to watch it for the first time. (They are currently in love with the "baby aliens" in "Toy Story" and also seem highly intrigued by space and space travel.) My main concern going in was that there would be too much "talking" to hold their attention. In the end, that wasn't the problem. While at first both seemed to love the movie and even started playing out scenes afterward, they later seemed fixated on why E.T.'s fellow aliens would have "left" him behind and why the "mad scientists" were so intent on catching and/or hurting him. Most telling was the alternate plot they then made up. In their version, E.T. had made it to his ship on time, right at the beginning of the movie, got into his seat and was strapped in with a seat belt, to fly home safely with his friends. Wouldn't have made much of a movie, but they seemed to like it. (I also wasn't thrilled by some of the swearing by the kids, which I thought was really gratuitous -- but that's probably another review.)

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Drinking, drugs & smoking
Positive messages
Parent of a 4 and 7 year old Written byBigTex5 September 28, 2013

Not suitable for Age 7

Age 7 is not appropriate given the drinking, language, and scary scenes.

This title contains:

Positive role models
Drinking, drugs & smoking
Parent of a 5 year old Written byElliott and Gwen April 26, 2016

Too sad for our 5 year old

My husband was so excited to watch this with our son. Its his favorite movie all time. My son, at 5 years old, thought it was very, very sad. Wasn't quite the reaction we had expected - he was probably too young for it. I also found the language surprisingly inappropriate.
Adult Written bySirenStar November 4, 2011

Terrific movie with mild language

I first saw this movie when I was about 3 at my Grandmama's house. The opening scene where you hear E.T. breathing and see his hand and also the part where Elliot finds E.T. in the cornfield and they both scream scared me to tears. I was about 6 when I watched it again and LOVED it!! I know there is some bad language in the movie, but I honestly didn't remember or understand it when I was a child; I only noticed it when I watched it again as a teenager. It's a wonderful movie that every child, at the right age, will love!!

This title contains:

Educational value
Positive messages
Language
Parent of a 6 and 10 year old Written byDoublesharp July 10, 2014

Take out the offensive language and it is a really good movie. Maybe better than that.

A movie made for kids and the whole family, but with too much profanity. Seems like the writers thought it was cute to speak like that just like when "They" were younger and immature . Too bad they never grew up. Otherwise a great flick.

This title contains:

Language
Adult Written byTeenager Kod April 12, 2016

Good movie

This title contains:

Positive messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 4 and 9 year old Written bymichugalug August 13, 2009

Perfect for 9- or 10-year-olds and up

Although there is some language "P--is breath", dammit, s--t, son of a b--ch, the movie is a classic. It really captures the perspective and feelings of a 10-year-old boy. This an awesome, emotionally and imaginatively engaging movie. The "p--is breath" went right past my son as he said he didn't quite catch what they said. Thank goodness! The drunkeness went past him too.

This title contains:

Positive messages
Adult Written byAshnak April 9, 2008

Good Family Movie

This is a very good movie that is entertaining, funny, and sad all in one.
Parent Written byEmily R April 9, 2008

A great movie with a few iffy scenes.

My mother-in-law let my 4 year old watch this movie (I confess I didn't object and could have) and I'm sorry she did. Although he absolutely loves it and wants to buy it to watch all the time, at night when he's trying to sleep he says he is "scared of ET." There are no shots fired, but cocked rifles are shown. Aside from the scariness factor, there are two sex-related scenes. One in which one of the adolescents points at Eliot's mother's butt and is admonished by Eliot's older brother to stop (this was lost on my son, at least), and a second where Eliot ogles and kisses a girl in his class. ET also drinks beer and gets drunk (along with Eliot) and my son wanted an explanation of that phenomenon. I think the movie is fine; I just wish we'd waited a few years for the experience.
Adult Written byCyndi M. January 3, 2017

Fantastic for Families

I remember this movie so well. Just showed it to my seven year old daughter. I'd prepared her ahead of time that there was a very tragic scene towards the end of the movie that could be very upsetting. We held hands during the most emotional moments. There ARE two swear words in the movie...but she didn't even notice them as they were during action-packed scenes. I've already told her about "foul words" and how we may hear them from time to time but should not repeat them. (Hello? A part of parenting, right?) The overall message of the meaning of friendship, learning how to let go, the value of memory and what it TRULY is to be human makes this a movie that will be enjoyed by all. The movie DOES open up with a cigarette scene and a teen boy about gesturing towards his friend's mom's tushie. Also, the whole COKE and REECES PIECES bothered me. However, the movie also shows never to judge a book by its cover: ET is kind, wise and has healing powers despite his appearance and the scientist proves to be sympathetic and caring, not cold-hearted. My advice is to sit down with your kids before and after movies to talk about what was good about it and what they'd wished had been left out of the movie. It's a great way to share views and teach children about what is appropriate and what is not. Fantastic flick ... a true family classic.

This title contains:

Positive messages
Positive role models
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking
Parent of a 11 year old Written bySternAndFair February 23, 2014

Be Warned- there IS disobedience and potty-talk

Yet again, Stephen Speilberg happens to pollute the air with a message about a "Penis breath" said by a child. Also, may I add that young Eliot WAS disobeying his parents and the law by harbouring a fugitive aliens who was so carelessly portrayed as the protagonist. There is also a smoking cigarette and frequent reference to the drugs known only as "mollys" and is sold at discount. Now as for the parents' attitude in the film it was very much a one of carefree indulgence which begs the question. "Shall my children expect me to be as like the parent of the child of which the film they are watching to be?" And the answer, Yes of course. For it is known to be so. And so I can only say this movie is innappropritate for youngsters and does not belogn upon the shelves. In the defense, there happened not to be much sexy-talk although some was not so sexy and more potty-talk. Even though this was the "penis" word in the context of which it was said happened to not be one of sexy.

This title contains:

Positive messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking
Parent Written bycjland January 20, 2013

Subtle Inappropriate Language

17 minutes in, Elliot says to his brother "Penis Breath". This was about the time I turned it off. Also..during their game at the beginning, there is a ton of "smoke" and just kids in the scene. You do not see the cigarettes...but it is implied.

This title contains:

Language
Adult Written byLowe's man September 24, 2014

essential viewing for those who are ready

Several parents have said that either they or their children were frightened by the movie when they were younger or their young children are frightened by the movie now. I understand this. But do let me say that we watched it in the theater as a family when my youngest sister had just started kindergarten. She wasn't frightened. (Neither were the rest of us for that matter.) I agree with you that E.T. deserves a red light for 4 and under, a yellow light for 5 and 6, and a green light for 7 and up. The reason why E.T. gives his famous line, "E.T., phone home", is because he's homesick, a feeling that many young children get when they're away from home for the first time. Elliot helps him get used to his temporary "shelter". Soon Elliot's siblings form a bond with E.T. as well. This is a movie about friendship. It's both happy and sad. Those who are "ready" for this movie should watch it. Since the language was only brief and went by so fast, I never noticed it. Most kids won't either. Since the scene where he briefly sipped beer went over my head when I was a kid, I assume that it'll go over the heads of most kids.

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