Romance, suspense, gags, and one-liners.
Popular with kids
  • Review Date: September 24, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1990
  • Running Time: 127 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Sam kills his murderers. Puerto Ricans are the bad guys. Although funny, Whoopi Goldberg's character portrays African-American women in a negative light.


Sam is shot and killed in a violent mugging. The bad guys' deaths are gruesome; one is squished between two vehicles and the other is pierced through the torso by a jagged sheet of glass.


A joke about a genital rash. The stars create a phallic object on a pottery wheel and then make passionate love. There's no nudity, but plenty of alluring shots.


The gamut of mild curses to more serious language, including the f-word.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that sexual content, violence, and strong language make this movie highly questionable for kids under 13 and for more sensitive teens. There's no nudity, but plenty of alluring shots. One bad guy is squished between two vehicles and the other is pierced through the torso by a jagged sheet of glass.

What's the story?

When Sam (Patrick Swayze) is killed by a mugger, he's left in some kind of limbo here on earth, able to witness events but unable to communicate with the living. He turns to Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg), a wacky spiritual advisor, to help track down his killer and protect his distraught girlfriend, Molly (Demi Moore). Through Oda Mae, Sam is able to talk to Molly and they even have one last physical encounter through Oda Mae's body. Sam and Oda Mae manage to discover the killer, who turns out to be Sam's embezzling co-worker and former best friend, Carl. In a wild climax, Sam kills Carl, who's then carried away by nasty demons. With Molly watching, Sam ascends in a beautiful, white light.

Is it any good?


Ghost is melodramatic and spiritually simplistic, but the combination of comedy, thrills, and mushy romance will be irresistible to some. While it doesn't explain why bad things happen to good people, it tries to reassure us that good people can find divine justice. Filled with ersatz spirituality, the movie presents a syrupy vision of the afterlife; the good guys ascend to heaven in a beam of light and bad guys are carried to hell by demons.

In the first 40 minutes, the movie plays like a melodrama, chock-a-block with unrestrained passion, gruesome murder, and plenty of suspense. With the introduction of Whoopi Goldberg as a storefront spiritual advisor, the movie radically changes direction to become a comedy. The romance, which he described as "just too much," never really appealed to him. Of course, some teens may enjoy seeing how love can conquer all -- even murder.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's formula. Why do the good guys tend to win in big Hollywood movies? If the movie had a more amibiguous ending, would it be as popular? Can you think of movies or other stories that didn't conclude happily? Did those movies leave you disastified but thinking about the ending? What about this movie?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 13, 1990
DVD release date:April 24, 2001
Cast:Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze, Whoopi Goldberg
Director:Jerry Zucker
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Run time:127 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:Mature Themes

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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, 15 years old Written bykatiemay017 November 28, 2009

great movie

LOVE THIS MOVIE! sad, but funny at parts. demi moore and patrick swayze (R.I.P) are great.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byjorgeal95 March 6, 2011

Intense thematic movie, funny at times

Whoopi gives a HILARIOUS performance. That is definitely a main reason on why to watch this movie. Very intense, violent movie about seeking revenge, putting things back in to the right places, etc. Not such a positive message, but each scene leaves you wanting to know what happens next. You'll be sure to laugh and cry.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 12 years old November 28, 2010

Great Movie!

I know I'm too younge to see the movie, but I like it a lot. It is awesome. The African American lady (I forgot her name) she is sooo funny! The theme is interesting to me, the plot is interesting. The romance is kinda weird. But I like it a lot! Great Movie!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing


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