Ghost

Movie review by
Randy White, Common Sense Media
Ghost Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
'90s classic has violence, cursing, sexual references.
  • PG-13
  • 1990
  • 127 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 19 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

No real positive messages. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

No real positive role models. Secondary characters are con artists. 

Violence

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. Blood shown in these deaths. Demonic imagery. Some gun violence. 

Sex

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 alluring shots strongly implying lovemaking. The female lead strips down to her bra and panties as she's being watched by a criminal who has broken into her loft space. 

Language

Occasional profanity, including one use of "f--k." "Bulls--t," "s--t," "son of a bitch," "bastard," "crap," "goddamn," "for Christ's sake." While in a crowded elevator, two characters loudly discuss how one of the character has a very contagious rash on his genitals. 

Consumerism

Some valuables kept in a clearly-marked Reeboks shoebox. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some alcohol drinking. Talk of margarita drinking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ghost is a 1990 movie in which Patrick Swayze is a recently murdered man who remains as a ghost in order to warn the love of his life (Demi Moore) of impending danger. There's no nudity, but plenty of alluring shots and implied lovemaking. One bad guy is squished between two vehicles and the other is pierced through the torso by a jagged sheet of glass. Blood shown in these deaths. Demonic imagery in two scenes. Occasional profanity, including one use of "f--k" and more frequent uses of words like "s--t." In one scene, a practical joke between two characters on a crowded elevator is centered on how one of the characters has a highly contagious genital rash. Families grieving over the loss of a loved one due to senseless criminal violence would be wise to avoid this movie.  

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byHalg P. April 17, 2017
Adult Written bywonder dove September 22, 2012

One of the GREATEST ghost movies ever made!

This one never gets old! I wasn't able to see it when it used to show on TV because I was way too young, under 6, even though I wanted to. It's defini... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byDJ Ninja972 September 23, 2020

"No positive role models"?

Yes, there is tons of graphic imagery, a very hot sex scene and strong language, like CSM said, but they also said there aren't any positive role models. S... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byuser123321user July 10, 2020

Good movie

This movie talked about the afterlife. There are some scary scenes in the movie like the demons. It has a good combination between drama and thriller. Some of t... Continue reading

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 coworker 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 also becomes a major factor. Some teens may enjoy seeing how love can conquer all -- even murder.

Talk to your kids 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 ambiguous ending, would it be as popular? Can you think of movies or other stories that didn't conclude happily? 

  • What are some other examples of movies centered on the afterlife? How is this movie similar and different? 

  • There are some violent deaths in this movie. Did the violence seem necessary to what was happening in the movie, or did it seem gratuitous? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romantic thrills

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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