• Review Date: October 30, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1984
  • Running Time: 107 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Paranormal '80s classic has some scares, innuendo.
  • Review Date: October 30, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1984
  • Running Time: 107 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

A rare movie where scientists save the day. Friendship is also an important theme, though the friends are far from perfect.

Positive role models

Peter Venkman is shown as a bit of a womanizer for comic effect, but figures out he'll have more chances getting the girl through heroism. The Ghostbusters band together and trust each other in difficult situations.


Plenty of blasting from special ghost-busting lasers. A hotel ballroom is destroyed and another building explodes with the main characters running for their lives. Ghosts take over NYC, some scary-looking (with decomposing skeletal appearances and wicked grins) some not (slimy green blobs who eat a lot). Two characters are possessed by large dog-like creatures. One has arms grab her through a chair and screams as she's hurled through the room. A building crumbles and pieces fall on a crowd below who also almost get smashed by a 50-foot walking marshmallow. Mentions of ancient god worship and sacrifices, as well as judgment day and what it meant according to the Bible and other traditions. A demi-god attacks with lightning bolts coming from her arms.


A fantasy scene implies Ray receives oral pleasure from a ghost; you see his pants mysteriously unzipped down to his underwear and his eyes cross in pleasure. Dana makes bold sexual advances while possessed, writhing around, and showing lots of leg. She even says, "Do you want this body?" "Take me now" and "I want you inside me" to Peter who jokes that she already has more than one person inside her. Plus a few kisses and plenty of innuendo, including a joke about getting the Stay Puft Marshmallow "laid."


"S--t" is said three times, "bitch" once, "ass" and other versions a few times, "pissed," "hell," "mother puss bucket," and jokes about an EPA official having no "d--k."


Coke is seen a few times, a Twinkie is used as a metaphor, and one of the Ghostbusters shouts, "it's Miller time." Cheese-Its and Budweiser are consumed. A montage shows the Ghostbusters on the cover of some prominent magazines like Time and The Atlantic with the voices of Casey Kasem and Larry King in the background.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Lots of smoking, mostly by Peter and Ray who often have a cigarette dangling from their lips while catching ghosts. They also share a bottle of hard alcohol after being fired from their jobs and are seen drinking beer a few times. A ghost chugs wine that goes right through him.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this iconic '80s movie mixes a ton of humor (some of it fairly racy) in with the plotline about catching scary ghosts (a few are skeletal and scary) and the possible end of the world. The scariest part is probably the large dogs with glowing eyes that attack and possess two characters, though the now-dated special effects may not faze older kids. There's some strong language ("s--t" a few times, for starters) and sexually charged scenes, including one in which a character fantasizes briefly about a ghost giving him oral pleasure and another where a possessed woman writhes around and says "I want you inside me" to a male character, who laughs it off. Two Ghostbusters do a lot of smoking, often dangling a cigarette out of their mouths while trying to catch ghosts.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

The hilarious team of Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis fight ghosts and ghouls in their profession of paranormal sanitation workers. With fully charged proton packs strapped to their backs, they venture around New York City exterminating pesky apparitions. Peter Venkman (Murray) falls for Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver), a reserved beauty who unwillingly becomes the gatekeeper for an apocalyptic spiritual dimension. The team, along with newcomer Ernie Hudson, face off against demonic forces with cataclysmic magnitude. One indelible scene involves the eradication of a 50-foot Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

Is it any good?


Director Ivan Reitman's GHOSTBUSTERS succeeds in cleverly combining comedy, action, and some scary stuff. Although the film has some frightening moments, Murray, Aykroyd, and Ramis provide enough comic relief to lighten the fears. Considering its 1984 release date, the film's special effects are superlative (though today's kids may find them eye-roll-inducing). Parents will enjoy watching this movie with their children. But during scary scenes (particularly one involving a hard-nosed librarian), they might have to cover younger kids' eyes.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what defines a hero. What other movies feature scientists and professors who save the day?

  • Talk about how the scares mix with humor. For kids normally scared of things like ghosts, how did the humor help? How did seeing a creature like the 50-foot Stay Puft marshmallow man make you laugh, even though the Ghostbusters were in danger?

  • Do you believe in ghosts, and why or why not?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 1, 1984
DVD release date:September 16, 2014
Cast:Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis
Director:Ivan Reitman
Studio:Sony Pictures
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Friendship, Misfits and underdogs, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Run time:107 minutes
MPAA rating:PG

This review of Ghostbusters 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.


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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Written byAnonymous October 10, 2014

Ghostbusters review

========================================================= Sex/Nudity: After ending his experiment and being interrupted by Ray when trying to pick up on Jennifer, Venkman tells her that he'd like to work with her some more and asks her if she could come back in the evening and before he can give a time, Jennifer asks, "8 o'clock?" Venkman tells Ray and Egon that they can stay and work on their investigations and, "I'll take Miss Barrett back to her apartment and check her out." Venkman comments on the space in Dana's apartment and when he asks her if it's just her and she replies, "Yes," he says "Good." Venkman then goes into Dana's bedroom and she tells him that "nothing ever happened in there," referencing the incident, and Venkman responds, "What a crime," referencing the obvious. Venkman imagines out loud to Dana how she would react if he caught this monster that she believes is in her fridge: "I wonder if he'd be interested in knowing what makes me tick." Ray dreams about a female ghost who floats above him and then disappears, his pants being invisibly unbuckled and unzipped, his underwear showing, and then there's a shot of him becoming cross-eyed, and he falls back to the bed. Dana asks Venkman if he has any information for her and he replies, "Well sure, but I'd prefer to give it to you in private," and then just after, says, "If we could get together Thursday night, I'm thinking 9-ish, you know, we could exchange information." Walter is called "d*ckless" by one of the Ghostbusters and when the Mayor asks if it's true that Walter's actions caused havoc, Venkman responds, "Yes, it's true. This man has no d*ck." Zuul-as-Dana asks Venkman, "Do you want this body?" He responds, "Is this a trick question?" Zuul-as-Dana commands Venkman to "take me now?.sub-creature," throws him down on the bed, and straddles him, to which Venkman's reaction is, "Easy. I make it a rule never to get involved with possessed people." Then Zuul-as-Dana tells Venkman, "I want you inside me," prompting him to reply that it sounds like she has at least two or three people in there already (referring to being possessed). Zuul-as-Dana kisses Louis, who's been taken over by a monster and in another shot, they are shown mussed up from having presumably made love. Lying on a bench, Zuul-as-Dana shows a lot of leg. Gozer, as a woman, is in a body suit and shows some cleavage. Venkman engages in slang describing the penis, though it's commands for the men to fire up their weapons for an attack against Gozer, such as when he yells at the men, "Got your stick?!" and they respond, "Holding it!" Then he shouts, "Make them hard!" the cue for the men to get them ready, after which time they respond with, "Ready!" 5.5/10. ========================================================= Violence: Venkman presides over a study that he labels "the effect of negative reinforcement on ESP ability," but seems only an excuse to shock people when they guess wrong on what shape is on a card. This is especially true of the male participant who is shocked three times, the second time jolting the gum out of his mouth. Peeved at Ray interrupting his attempt to pick up on Jennifer, the female participant, Venkman jumps up and slaps Ray on the head, exclaiming, "I'm right in the middle of something, Ray!" Egon is already at the library by the time Venkman and Ray arrive, listening to a wooden table for any clues. Venkman tricks him by knocking lightly a few times on the table and then raising a book and banging it down hard, making him jump. While walking through the underside of the New York Public Library, Venkman remarks to Egon that "this reminds me of the time you tried to drill a hole through your head." A bookcase mysteriously falls over, nearly hitting Egon and Venkman. In a hotel hallway, with nuclear accelerators on their backs, the men fire multi-colored streams at what they think is a ghost, and sparks fly everywhere, but it turns out to just be a maid with a cart, who emerges unharmed. Burnt toilet paper rolls and other destroyed material are strewn about. The nuclear accelerator causes walls to catch on fire as well. After Slimer rushes through a wall, a room service cart with champagne bucket and champagne bottle, and many dishes, crashes into the wall and the bucket and broken dishes fall to the floor. In a ballroom at the same hotel, the men fire at Slimer who flies away quickly, and their streams hit the chandelier, causing it to spark and crash down onto a table. Venkman then yells at Ray to fire and he does, and once again, Slimer barely flies out of the way, and Ray's stream hits the buffet table. Egon fires next and his stream explodes a wedding cake and collapses a banquet table. Before a table is upturned to make room for the trap, Venkman tries to yank the tablecloth out from under glasses and dishes and succeeds in only the flowers remaining intact. Egon and Venkman fire streams at Slimer to hold him in and bring him down into the trap. An alien arm bursts up through a couch arm next to Dana and muffles her. Another bursts up through the front of the couch, holding her down and a third does the same. Her recliner then spins around and goes toward the kitchen door, sending her to the waiting monster. A roar is heard from Louis's bedroom, with a monster bursting through the door after and flying onto a table, scaring his guests. Louis runs across from his apartment building to nearby, trying to escape the monster, but no luck. Walter's insistence that the ghost-containing equipment be shut down leads to the top of the Ghostbusters building come off and apparitions escaping, terrorizing citizens, such as one apparition having a time with subway passengers coming from underground, a taxicab driven by a decrepit skeleton, and Slimer having a gastronomical time at a hot dog cart. Walter then states that this is the fault of the Ghostbusters and Egon exclaims, "Your mother!" and tries to attack him. Zuul-as-Dana looks out the window at the flying apparitions and after they pass by, the windows explode and so does a lot else. Gozer fires bolts from her hands at the Ghostbusters, knocking them backwards. A huge monster stalks through the city, causing people to scramble, and it soon scales the troublesome apartment building. Despite it being more dangerous than it could possibly be worth, the Ghostbusters cross the streams of their nuclear accelerators to attack a temple-like structure and the apparition it belongs to. An explosion sends white goo everywhere, splashing down mostly on one man on the street. 5/10. ========================================================= Blood/Gore: Clear goo drips from card catalog drawers in the basement of the New York Public Library, "ectoplasmic residue" according to Ray. Countering Egon's request for a sample of that goo, Venkman asks, "Somebody blows their nose and you want to keep it?" After collecting some but getting it on his hand, Venkman wipes it on shelves of books behind him. He then re-joins the others and hands over a plastic shell-type case, saying, "Egon, your mucus." Slimer rushes through a wall, leaving small streams of goo sliding down the wall. Slimer rushes towards Venkman and when Ray gets to him, we see that Venkman's been heavily slimed, goo all over him. White goo goes everywhere after a very large monster is destroyed, and a deluge of it showers down on someone on the street. 4/10. ========================================================= Profanity: At least 5 "s" words, 3 slang terms for male genitals (2 "d*ck," 1 "p*cker"), 4 asses (1 used with "hole"), 3 hells (1 spray painted on a door), 1 bitch, and 3 uses of "Oh my God, 2 uses of "Oh God" and "God," and 1 use each of "G-damn," and "Jesus" as exclamations. 5/10. ========================================================= Alcohol/Drugs: Venkman asks the shaken librarian if she's "habitually using drugs, stimulants, alcohol." At the university campus, Venkman puts down a bottle of alcohol to talk to Ray more closely, and after, Ray takes a swig from the bottle and so does Venkman. At dinner, the men toast to their first customer and Ray and Venkman drink from their Budweiser cans. A room service cart crashes into a wall in a hotel hallway, and a champagne bucket with a bottle falls to the floor along with broken dishes. The ghost Slimer goes straight for the booze in a ballroom, chugging the contents of a bottle. 4/10. ========================================================= Smoking: Ray smokes at least seven times, Venkman smokes once, and Winston smokes once. 6/10. ========================================================= Ghostbusters is an absolutely hilarious horror-comedy film, I definitely recommend it to fans of the genre. I give it 8/10. =========================================================
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 8 and 10 year old Written byLuaith September 11, 2009
The implied oral sex from a spirit was way too graphic for my kids. This is the first time I have found a common sense rating to be off the mark.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Kid, 12 years old October 1, 2009
Hilarious movie, my favourite line being "Shhh! Can you smell that?" Great movie, pehaps the sex could have been cut. Oral ghost sex?! No thanks.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Parent of a 9 and 11 year old Written byjesscat October 27, 2010

I'd say 12 and up.

Love this movie but I don't think the implied oral sex scene is for kids of this age.
What other families should know
Too much sex


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