Guys and Dolls

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Guys and Dolls Movie Poster Image
Classic Sinatra/Brando musical is a whole lot of fun.
  • NR
  • 1955
  • 150 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 7 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Role Models & Representations

Portrayal of Adelaide as hopelessly waiting to marry Nathan would earn her a spot on the Sally Jesse Raphael show today.

Violence
Sex

Very oblique reference to the face of the hotel clerk when an unmarried couple checks in; "Take Back Your Mink" song about a girl who accepts a lot of gifts from a man but is not "one of those girls."

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Sky gets Sarah drunk in Havana by arranging for her drink to be spiked with liquor.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that overall this is a family-friendly classic movie musical, but characters do lie and gamble. Also, Sky gets Sarah drunk by telling her that her frothy rum drink is "sweet milk."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bysarahkay89 November 17, 2010

Great classic. Tweens and up will enjoy.

I have always loved old movies...especially musicals. This is an excellent production. The messages for kids are a little iffy...alcohol use (one character gets... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byDoctor Who Lover March 14, 2012

Great Musical

Great movie, not as good as the play, I'm in the play. Pet me papa is an inapropriate song, along with Take Back Your Mink. Nathon and Adelade are not marr... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old July 9, 2012

Good, Classic Movie

I happen to be performing this play, and it's very good, but you have to know your kid.

What's the story?

The musical GUYS AND DOLLS takes place among the small-time underworld characters of New York. Nathan Detroit (Frank Sinatra) runs a "floating crap game." But he doesn't have enough money to book the next location. And, his (very) long- term fianceé, showgirl Adelaide (Vivian Blaine), is so distressed over his failure to marry her that she has developed a psychosomatic cold. Trying to get the money he needs, Nathan makes a bet with Sky Masterson (Marlon Brando). After Sky brags that he can get any "doll" to go out with him, Nathan challenges him to ask Sarah Brown (Jean Simmons), the local mission worker. Sky persuades Sarah to go to Havana for dinner, and, after he spikes her drink with liquor, they have a wonderful time and she starts to fall for him. When they get back, however, she finds that the crap game was held in the mission, and feels betrayed. In order to persuade her that his intentions are honorable, Sky rolls the dice in the crap game against the "souls" of the other players, and when he wins, they must all go to a meeting at the mission, the two couples get married, and everyone lives happily ever after.

Is it any good?

This musical classic, based on the stories of Damon Runyon, is a lot of fun, despite the fact that two of the leads are not singers and none of them can dance. But Brando and Simmons do surprisingly well, especially in the scenes set in Havana, and the movie is brash and splashy enough to be thoroughly entertaining.

Themes worth discussing include honesty in relationships and in competition (Harry the Horse cheats and threatens the other players) and how people decide whether to align themselves with (or between) the two extremes presented by the mission workers and the grifters and gamblers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Adelaide says she has developed a cold from waiting for Nathan to marry her. How do people get physically sick from unhappiness or worry? What is the meaning of Sky's father's advice about the deck of cards? Is that good advice? Who changes the most in this movie? How can you tell?

Movie details

For kids who love musicals

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