Kind Hearts and Coronets



A comedic gem featuring the incomparable Sir Alec Guinness.
  • Review Date: September 30, 2005
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1950
  • Running Time: 106 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable

Although a half dozen people are killed, there's no on-screen mayhem.


Adultery is a discreet but obvious theme.


The politically incorrect version of "Eeny Meeny Miney Moe" is recited.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this story revolves around murder and relies heavily on dialogue. Adultery is also a discreet, but obvious theme and a racially-insensitive version of a children's chant is recited. But what makes the movie particularly unsuited to younger kids is its verbosity. Even teens may find that all the talking taxes their patience, but those who can absorb all the dialogue (and understated, dry English wit) will be rewarded with a classic black comedy.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

When she marries for love, a woman is disinherited by her titled family. After her husband's death, she struggles to raise her son Louis (Dennis Price), always reminding him that he has been cheated out of a dukedom. The death of Louis's mother, an insult from a cousin, and rejection by his sweetheart Sibella all lead Louis to plan to kill the rival heirs to the title (all played by Sir Alec Guinness. He sets about his mission carefully, getting to know each of his relatives (who don't know who he really is) before murdering them.

Is it any good?


A film like KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS could only come from England. Of course, this is partly because the plot depends on a peerage system that doesn't exist many other places. But more important, the stodgy system of ancient families provides a perfect backdrop for the ironic humor. The comedy is delightfully dry and understated, and the various murders are depicted with a touch of silliness. Each of the victims is played by the wonderful Sir Alec Guinness, who proves that he can convincing create characters wordlessly. He's especially funny as a doddering old parson and as Lady Agatha, the family's suffragette.

Of course, none of these qualities makes Kind Hearts and Coronets interesting or appropriate for children. Carried almost completely by dialogue, the black-and-white film is occasionally underlit, lacks music, and is paced slowly. Teen anglophiles may enjoy it; otherwise, this is a pleasure best left for adulthood.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about black comedy. What is black comedy? How can murder and mayhem be funny? How does having one actor play all eight of the murderer's victims contribute to the comedy?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 14, 1950
DVD release date:September 10, 2002
Cast:Alec Guinness, Dennis Price, Valerie Hobson
Director:Robert Hamer
Studio:Anchor Bay Entertainment
Run time:106 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Kind Hearts and Coronets was written by

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


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

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.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008

Nice Movie

This is a good movie. It's funny.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide