King Kong (1976)

Movie review by
Scott G. Mignola, Common Sense Media
King Kong (1976) Movie Poster Image
'70s remake has violence, language, brief nudity.
  • PG
  • 1976
  • 134 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 12 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

No positive messages in typical 1970s blockbuster "disaster" movie.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Stereotypical ditzy blonde and the men who shamelessly ogle her are worthy of a few winces. While the paleontologist character offers understanding and empathy concerning the islanders who have lived with Kong, this message is likely to be overshadowed by stereotypical depictions of indigenous people on the verge of offering female human sacrifices to Kong.

Violence

Kong tears the jaw off a fake-looking giant snake. The shootout finale goes overboard on squirting blood. Several characters fall to their deaths while trying to walk across the large tree branch between cliffs that Kong starts to twist before they get to the other side. Helicopters crash into the World Trade Center. Kong throws a subway train. Explosions. Machine gun fire. After she is rescued, the oil executive character tells the "damsel in distress" that Kong wanted to rape her. The paleontologist character calls the oil executive character an "environmental rapist." Kong stomps and kills one of the characters.

Sex

Scantily clad natives thrust suggestively during a ritual. A fleeting glimpse of breasts. Kong's in love with his female hostage and, as hard as it is to believe, some of their scenes together are erotically charged. Dwan, the "damsel in distress," informs the crew of the ship that saved her that she was rescued because she chose to be on deck instead of watching an infamous 1970's pornographic movie in the cabin when the ship exploded. While speaking disparagingly of the native islanders and their rituals, the oil executive says that the priest "dresses up like an ape and gets laid."

Language

Occasional profanity, including "a--hole," "s--t," "son of a bitch," "bitching," "goddamn," "candy-asses," "bastards."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Character drinks from a whiskey bottle. Beer drinking. Cocktail drinking. Cigarette smoking. Pipe smoking. During a ritual sacrifice, Dwan appears to be drugged before she's offered to Kong.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that King Kong is a 1976 remake of the classic 1930s movie. This version is part of the "disaster movie" genre that was popular for a time in the 1970s, with an all-star cast (Jeff Bridges, Jessica Lange, Charles Grodin), and bombastic violence and cheesy special effects. Brief nudity -- breasts. Scantily-clad natives thrust suggestively during a ritual. Kong's in love with his female hostage and, as hard as it is to believe, some of their scenes together are erotically charged. Some talk of sex, and sexual references. Mention that Kong intends to rape a woman. Helicopters crash into the World Trade Center. Kong throws a subway train. Men fall to their death while trying to make a perilous crossing between two high cliffs. Some drinking (whiskey, beer), and cigarette and pipe smoking. Some profanity throughout ("a--hole," "s--t," "son of a bitch," "bitching," "goddamn," "candy-asses," "bastards"). Kong tears the jaw off a fake-looking giant snake. The shootout finale goes overboard on squirting blood.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byLebron12James3 January 14, 2021
It’s beautiful
Adult Written bybigmoviefan2020 November 24, 2020

Raunchy film is too much for kids

R: destruction/mild violence, a brief nude scene with a sexual implied moment
Teen, 14 years old Written byCoolpool785 October 11, 2017

Lots of violence CSM missed out on.

Characters are thrown off cliffs, crushed, nearly eaten by Kong. He kills a rubber-looking snake by tearing it's head in half. The "heroine" is i... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old August 2, 2017

Most unrealistic remake ever

If you saw any other film about king kong then you know that there's lots of action, but this movie had no action at all, it had such a slow pace. Anyway t... Continue reading

What's the story?

In KING KONG, an expedition to a mysterious fog-shrouded island turns up not fuel oil as Petrox emissary Fred Wilson (Charles Grodin) had hoped, but a giant ape, which only stowaway Jack Prescott (Jeff Bridges) had anticipated. The ape, who the natives call Kong, falls for the crew's only female, Dwan (Jessica Lange), and stomps off with her. Not wanting to leave the island empty-handed, Wilson comes up with a scheme to capture Kong and use him as a Petrox promotional gimmick. They capture him and ship Kong to New York, where he breaks loose, nabs Dwan again, and shimmies to the top of the World Trade Center for the inevitable final showdown.

Is it any good?

Stars Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange do what they can to keep this film afloat, but a hokey script and uneven effects nearly sink the boat they rode in on. The overblown love angle between Dwan and the giant monkey is laughable, with scenes of Kong leering at his little blonde handful, washing her in a waterfall, and blow-drying her with his hot simian breath. The scene in which Kong's giant unwieldy finger tries to peel her like a banana made the cover of TIME Magazine and helped make the movie a huge success. That Jessica Lange overcame this debut to become a serious actress is a testament to her strength.

By today's standards, the pacing and the effects in Kong Kong are less than dramatic, certainly no match for Disney's Mighty Joe Young (another remake of a classic giant ape movie). Still, there's plenty here for young viewers to enjoy. They won't mind the tacky dialogue, or seeing Charles Grodin inexplicably cast as the unfunny villain who exploits Kong for money. Kids might even come away with an appreciation for the movie's vague environmental message, that rare animals should be treated sensitively, not paraded around in cages.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about monster movies like King Kong. What's the fascination with seeing oversized, threatening monsters on screen? How is this one different from and the same as other monster movies you've seen?

  • Is Kong scary -- or do you feel bad for him? Why or why not?

  • Compare the "native islander" rituals surrounding Kong with the commercialism and fanfare that surrounds Kong when he arrives in the United States. What comments, if any, do you think the filmmakers may have been trying to make here?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love monsters

Themes & Topics

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