Holiday Inn

Movie review by
Scott G. Mignola, Common Sense Media
Holiday Inn Movie Poster Image
Classic musical with some controversial material.
  • NR
  • 1942
  • 101 minutes

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

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
Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Astaire's character weaves through a drunken dance.

What 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!

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 12-year-old Written bymountain mama December 5, 2017

my favorite holiday movie but...

I love this movie and it's definitely my favorite holiday movie. It's funny and romantic and introduced the song White Christmas (the movie of the sam... Continue reading
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 should... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old December 16, 2020

fair movie, some suggestive material

Contains blackface and black people stereotypes
A girl, maybe 5-7 years old, is shown in just underpants, (no bra or shirt) as part of a musical number, as Ba... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byed39 January 11, 2017

Holiday Inn

This movie has been THE Christmas movie in my house for as long as I remember. The blackface in the Lincoln's birthday scene is not as big a deal as others... Continue reading

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?

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.

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love musicals

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