Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

Movie review by
Kelly Kessler, Common Sense Media
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Civil rights, love, and family drama in '60s classic.
  • NR
  • 1967
  • 112 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Includes excellent examples of both men and women who choose to fight the prevailing norms regarding interracial relationships. Though released at a time of great cultural conflict in the United States, the main characters stick by their convictions and emotions rather than bending to social pressures.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The two characters who have quickly fallen in love refuse to let prejudice, hate, and bigotry dictate their decision to get married. The father of the woman, a newspaperman who espouses liberal opinions, sees how he might be falling short of his own professed ideals as he confronts his own reluctance to approve of his daughter's marriage, and grows to understand the error in his ways. 


A minor fender bender in the parking lot of a drive-in ice cream shop. 


Reference made to the changes in men when they get older and their sexual desire fades. 


One use of the "N" word by the African-American maid to the African-American groom-to-be. Use of now-outdated terms for African Americans such as "Negro" and "colored." Occasional profanity: "bitch," "son of a bitch," "bastard," "ass," "hell."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Sherry and bourbon drinking. A monsignor drinks a little bit more than the other characters, but doesn't act drunk. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? is a classic 1967 that addresses the complexities of prejudice, racism, and bigotry as it pertains to a young interracial couple approaching their parents for the first time to discuss their impending (and hotly contested) marriage. The main conflict revolves around disagreements between parents and their children about interracial marriage and the generation gap in general. There is one use of the "N" word, spoken in the heat of a passionate diatribe delivered by an African-American maid to the groom-to-be. Outdated terms for African Americans such as "Negro" and "colored" are used. There is occasional profanity such as "bitch" and "hell." Overall, this movie remains relevant as it shows the simplicity and beauty of love amidst the complexities and ugliness of prejudice and bigotry in American society. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byahmed aiman 99 February 28, 2019

An Essential '60s Classic!

It would be completely understandable if anyone criticized this movie for playing it very safe after taking some severe risks at the beginning, and that in doin... Continue reading
Adult Written byMy L. January 8, 2017

Great classic, but some swearing

They say A**, N*****, & B**** in it, but only once. The maid in it is kind of rude and she is the one that says the N word. There is drinking in it, bu... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byHikingmountain October 21, 2020

Great movie with a good story

This movie was great! There is however some swearing, such as “b*tch”, “id*ot”, “b*stard”, “d*mn”, “h*ll”, “a*s”, the N-word (once) and other racial slurs, such... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byLukeCon September 30, 2020

Engaging yet talky 60's classic centers on civil rights

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? is simply a conversation that still keeps you intrigued into the conflict. We the audience never feel detached from the chara... Continue reading

What's the story?

In GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER, two young people fall in love. The glitch comes when one is the handsome African-American doctor John Prentice (Sidney Poitier) and the other is the idealistic white Joanna Drayton (Katharine Houghton). The upper-class liberal Draytons (Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy) and working class Prentices (Beah Richards and Roy Glenn) are thrown into a tizzy, but everyone must figure out what to do during an impromptu dinner at the Drayton's fancy home. Eventually, ultimatums are cast, the mothers function as fonts of wisdom, and everyone must figure out how to live and love in a changing world.

Is it any good?

It may seem a bit dated due to its 1960s jive lingo and its dominant feelings regarding race, but this film still presents a funny and relevant tale of parent-child quarreling and social conflict. It combines big-name stars and contemporary themes to create a meaningful tale questioning family, love, and social norms. Hepburn delivers a hilariously understated scene as she calmly (yet insultingly) fires her racist assistant.

The film also marks the last onscreen pairing of longtime lovers and costars Hepburn and Tracy. Hepburn would nurse Tracy through his final battle with poor health; he succumbed to a heart attack just weeks after filming. Pay attention and you'll catch a funny and biting appearance by Isabel Sanford, the family maid who quips, "Civil rights is one thing. This here is somethin' else!" Kids who saw the 2005 remake, Guess Who, starring Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher, might be interested in seeing this film with a little parental encouragement.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about parent-child relationships and issues of tolerance. Are families more tolerant of interracial relationships today? Why or why not?

  • What are the ways in which the movie feels firmly dated in its 1967 release, and what are the ways in which the movie feels relevant to the present? 

  • Each of the main characters delivers an extended monologue in which they present their views on love, race, marriage, family, and aging. What purposes do these monologues serve in both the film's story and underlying message? 

Movie details

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