High School Musical

  • Review Date: May 21, 2006
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Musical
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 98 minutes

Common Sense Media says

A modern-day Grease for tweens.
  • Review Date: May 21, 2006
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Musical
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 98 minutes




Common Sense Media Award

What parents need to know

Educational value

No direct educational content, but kids will probably learn lots of song lyrics!

Positive messages

Strong, clear positive messages about being true to yourself and reaching outside your comfort zone.

Positive role models

The female lead is praised and appreciated for her academic ability. One central character tries to cheat but eventually sees the error of her ways. The cast is diverse. Troy and his dad exchange some heated words, but they reach an understanding that works for both of them.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff

Mild flirting, with the teenage leads almost sharing a kiss in the final scene. There's one kiss on the cheek, and Efron is shirtless in one scene.


"Shake your booty" pops up in song lyrics.


Part of a gigantic marketing machine fueled by Disney.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this made-for-TV movie is hugely popular with tweens -- and has spawned its own marketing empire, from CDs to clothes to video games. Its sanitized depiction of high school may not ring true to older teens, but tweens will get strong messages about acceptance and being true to yourself -- as well as about supporting your friends when they want to try something new. A father-son relationship is tested when the boy asserts his independence, and there are some near-kisses between the lead couple, but overall this is tame stuff.

Parents say

What's the story?

Filled with important messages, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL is an upbeat made-for-TV movie about a pair of teens who, after discovering a mutual love of song, overcome pressure from friends to ditch their newfound hobby. Troy (Zac Efron) and Gabriella (Vanessa Anne Hudgens) meet when they are paired for a New Year's Eve karaoke contest while vacationing with their families. Once they return to East High, Troy, captain of the school's basketball team, and studious Gabriella, who has just transferred in, find out that they're in the same homeroom class and become friends. And when auditions are announced for the school's musical, the pair decides to try out. Their duet is impressive enough to earn a callback, which sparks the anger of usual lead performers Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale) and her brother Ryan (Lucas Grabeel). Also unhappy are the members of Gabriella's academic decathlon team, who need her help to win an upcoming match, and Troy's teammates, who have been practicing for an important championship game. Fearful that the pair might choose singing over them, the groups work together to convince Gabriella that Troy is no longer interested in trying out for the play. But once they see how hurtful their actions are, they come clean, and Gabriella and Troy figure out a way to do everything.

Is it any good?


What infuses High School Musical with much of its spunk are Efron's and Hudgens' lively performances; both come across as friendly, well-adjusted, and immensely likeable. During the song-and-dance-filled musical numbers -- including "Breaking Free," "Start of Something New," and "We're All in This Together" (all Billboard 100 hits) -- the movie sometimes feels more like a music video. The only thing that really detracts from the movie is the sugar-coated way that it portrays issues that regularly cause teens angst, such as entrenched cliques, self-esteem, and peer pressure. The world of High School Musical seems to be right next door to Pleasantville, where everything works out and everyone gets along in the end.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about peer pressure and how to resist it. How can teens stand up to friends who belittle their choices or talents?

  • Are the movie's characters good role models? What do you think the filmmakers want kids to take away from watching this movie?

  • Why is it important to try new things?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 23, 2006
DVD release date:May 23, 2006
Cast:Ashley Tisdale, Vanessa Hudgens, Zac Efron
Director:Kenny Ortega
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Run time:98 minutes
MPAA rating:NR
Award:Common Sense Media Award

This review of High School Musical was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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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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Kid, 8 years old February 16, 2010

This movie is dumb!

Yes, I'm an 8-in-a-half-year-old girl, but all of HSM SUCKS! WAY too preppy for me! Too much preppiness. Twilight is MUCH better than this idiotic little girl stuff! DON'T LET YOUR KIDS WATCH THIS, PARENTS!
Adult Written bydont care September 1, 2009

12+ Great Learning Experience

i personally think this movie was GREAT!! I mean ya the dances and singing int the middle of class it the musical part of the movie. I think that it really does give you a glimpse of High School Your going to have jealous girls and a lil bit of heart break but thats just life for you.. I think if anyuthing watching these videos should really help teens cause it teaches you that no matter what friends are forever and if you truely love someone and its meant to be they will be back!
Teen, 13 years old Written byIooba kitty February 11, 2010

stupid movie, bad role models and bad outlook on life

the absolute worse movie i have EVER seen. stupid. too many kids obsess over it. i have always hated this movie... bad role models and bad ways to look at the world. the world is not perfect, and no you can't do what ever you want. but...i can see how 6-8 year olds would like it..so yeah...whatever


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