Holiday Inn



Classic musical with some controversial material.
  • Review Date: September 19, 2005
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Classic
  • Release Year: 1942
  • Running Time: 101 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The movie is lighthearted and well-meant overall, but modern audiences are likely to be very taken aback by the Lincoln's Birthday number, which is performed in blackface and is decidedly not politically correct. Plus, Astaire's character tries -- twice! -- to seduce a girl away from his supposed friend.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Astaire's character weaves through a drunken dance.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that kids will see a musical number performed in blackface. Crosby tries to lure his so-called friend's girlfriend away -- twice! And Astaire dances drunk -- literally!

Kids say

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What's the story?

When singer Jim Hardy (Bing Crosby) finds out that his fiancée is in love with smooth-talking dancer Ted Hanover (Fred Astaire), he skulks off to milk cows and lick his wounds on the farm he now owns. While his pride heals, a swell idea occurs to him: Why not turn the farm into an inn that's only open on holidays, with live entertainment and a homemade breakfast in the morning? A girl (Marjorie Reynolds) looking for her big show business break helps Hardy bring his daydream to fruition. Not only is his Holiday Inn a success thanks to her singing and dancing, he's falling in love to boot. But trouble's right around the corner. Hanover's girl has dropped him, it seems, and his search for a new dance partner has him once again courting Hardy's girl.

Is it any good?


Thirteen Irving Berlin numbers. Exploding peach preserves. Fred Astaire dancing drunk -- and not faking it! Yes, HOLIDAY INN has it all, including a lamentable scene in which Bing Crosby, in blackface and stovepipe hat, performs a tribute to Abraham Lincoln. My, oh my, things have certainly changed since 1942.

In spite of a few awkward numbers and a meager plot, Crosby and Astaire slap plenty of life into this black-and-white classic. In one number, Astaire spins across the stage with firecrackers popping at his feet. Seeing him maneuver clumsily across the dance floor with Marjorie Reynolds is another treat -- to play it convincingly drunk, Astaire took a hefty belt between each take. Crosby is the real charmer, though, as a decent, easygoing fellow whose idyllic life is threatened not just by a girl-stealing cad, but by his own awkwardness in expressing love. Worry not. As with most musicals, in the end it all works out for the best.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the blackface performance, both before and after the show. Why didn't white people consider black face performances to be offensive in the 1940s? Do you think African Americans were offended? Why or why not? How have attitudes changed since then? Why?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 4, 1942
DVD release date:November 9, 1999
Cast:Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Marjorie Reynolds
Director:Mark Sandrich
Studio:Universal Pictures
Run time:101 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

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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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Parent Written byImjustsaying December 17, 2011

Love this movie

I love this movie and watched it many times as a child with my father. I watched it last night and the black face dance scene was left out. What???? They shouldn't do that these days, take out scene just because someone might get offend. It's part of the movie and it was a OK thing to do back in that time.


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