Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

Family movie night? There's an app for that

Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.

Parents' Guide to

Ice Castles

By Heather Boerner, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Schmaltzy classic skating movie for romantics.

Movie PG 1978 108 minutes
Ice Castles Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 18+

Hidden messaging, child exploitation, not for the family.

There are a lot of undertones in this film that normal, relatively innocent hearted people in the '70s might not have picked up on or even things that would be so egregious that the thought would be a nightmare scenero their cognitive dissonance would overlook. First, the relationship with the father looks very, inappropriate. The initial coach, comes off as being very "butch" and unladylike, they go out of their way to demonstrate this. Then the second "coach" from the very moment she is initially shown, is leering at the girl like a predator. The woman repeated traumatizes the girl, she mentioned how much all the training is costing her, then the scene fades, just like in the beginning before something happened with the boyfriend. It literally appeared as though the father and the first coach sold her to this very suspect older woman. It might seem like a stretch. The first thing another young girl says the her when she arrives at the training facility, is a conversation about lesbianism. Knowing what we know about Hollywood now, this is definitely something they would "hide" in their film for people like themselves. I know that to people in a previous time, this movie would just be seen through straight eyes. Sadly it's loaded with the abuse if a minor.
age 13+

Was maybe good when it came out, but...

This incredibly dated movie was one of my favorites growing up, so I shared it with my kids. We were all absolutely mortified by the language - most of it seemingly just gratutitious swearing to 'make' a main character seem harsh. The smoking and drinking, too, is typical for the time - it's everywhere. This is NOT the feel-good movie I remember. It is an incredibly labored movie that drags on and on, until it finally reaches its feel-good conclusion. Meanwhile, your kids are exposed to major profanity, boring character development and a bunch of puppy-love schmaltz. My kids hated it and my fond recollections were tossed right out the window.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (1 ):

With a plot that will engage romantics young and old, this Academy Award-nominated film is an excellent illustration of what happens to a girl when she becomes successful too soon. She's isolated from everyone, and her relationships suffer. The other girls gossip about her, sponsors treat her like a piece of meat, and her coach pressures her to be perfect. A girl could be excused for a drink of wine at a party -- or even a more destructive act. It's an intriguing, and more benign, cautionary tale than those being played out by the successful and self-destructive starlets of today.

For those raised on MTV, prepare yourself for some slow moments here. The pacing does a good job of conveying the sadness and sense of loss in the movie -- the theme song does, too -- but it's overdone; Director Donald Wrye and his actors seem to be from the slow-equals-dramatic school of acting.

Movie Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate