Paranormal '80s classic has some scares, innuendo.
Based on 75 reviews
Based on 161 reviews
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ghostbusters is an iconic '80s movie that mixes a ton of humor -- some of the jokes holding up poorly over time -- in with its story about catching scary ghosts 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 (including "s--t" a few times) and some 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. Keep an eye out for two male characters who aggressively pursue women and cross professional and physical boundaries; their behavior is played for laughs and even presented as romantic, at least for the main character. Two Ghostbusters do a lot of smoking, often dangling a cigarette out of their mouths while trying to catch ghosts.
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I watched it at a young age, and I can’t say Ghostbusters inspired me to curse or smoke
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What's the Story?
In GHOSTBUSTERS, the comedic team of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis fight ghosts and ghouls as 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 professional musician who unwillingly becomes the gatekeeper for an apocalyptic spiritual dimension. The team, along with a late-hire Ghostbuster played by 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 movie succeeds in combining comedy, action, and some scary stuff. Although Ghostbusters has some frightening moments -- and its "boys will be boys" handling of romance holds up extremely poorly -- Murray, Aykroyd, and Ramis provide enough comic relief to lighten the fears. Considering its 1984 release date, the film's special effects are impressive, though today's kids may find them eye-roll-inducing. Younger kids might need their eyes covered during scary moments, and post-viewing conversations about what constitutes sexual harassment would not go amiss.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about what defines a hero. Besides Ghostbusters, 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?
In what ways do Peter Venkman and Dana's neighbor Louis demonstrate unacceptable behavior toward women? What other ways are there to express interest in someone without crossing personal and professional boundaries?
Do you believe in ghosts? Why, or why not?
How do the characters in Ghostbusters demonstrate curiosity and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?
- In theaters: June 1, 1984
- On DVD or streaming: September 16, 2014
- Cast: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis
- Director: Ivan Reitman
- Studio: Sony Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Friendship, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Character Strengths: Curiosity, Teamwork
- Run time: 107 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- Last updated: January 5, 2023
Our Editors Recommend
Fun update on classic has lots of ghosts + girl power.
Men in Black
Lots of fun, but too scary for some kids.
Tim Burton tale is creepy fun; has violence, language.
Comic horror classic is still scary; some profanity.
For kids who love sci-fi and comedies
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