Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
Ladyhawke Movie Poster Image
Messy, dated romantic fantasy is dull and violent.
  • PG-13
  • 1985
  • 124 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 2 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 this silly romantic fantasy.

Positive Role Models & Representations

A pickpocket is one of the movie's heroes. The cursed captain has a legitimate beef with the evil bishop, but he is bent only on revenge until the very end. A drunken priest reveals confessed confidences but redeems his bad deeds by helping to right his wrong.


Two men joust. Numerous soldiers shoot arrows at each other; several are seen wounded, although little blood is shown. Soldiers punch and kick each other. Several men are impaled on swords. One bleeds from his mouth in close-up. A man falls through ice into a frigid pond, and people dramatically try to get him out. There are close-ups of an angry wolf growling. A hawk is wounded by an arrow. Someone pulls an arrow out of a woman's chest, and she screams. A spot of blood is seen on her sheet.


A kiss. A bishop is obsessed with a beautiful woman.


"Damn," "hell."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A priest is described as a drunk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ladyhawke is a dopey 1985 romantic fantasy that will probably bore most kids and sorely try the patience of most grown-ups. Expect the slashing and impaling common to cinematic portrayals of medieval violence. Blood drips from a victim's mouth but is otherwise scarce. Several people are stabbed or pierced with arrows. One falls though ice into a wintry pond. There is a drunk priest and some mild profanity ("hell" and "damn").

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 9 and 13-year-old Written by[email protected] March 30, 2019


I loved this throwback to the 80s. Matthew Broderick is at his charming best and I love the Alan parsons project background music. It’s been 35 years and I love... Continue reading
Adult Written byTheresa O. March 30, 2018

An amazing movie full of good taste and great wit

The person named Barbara who critiqued this before me simply has no taste and dull wit. It's a beautiful story and an amazing movie I grew up with. I had t... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old January 15, 2017

80s Medieval Romance is good, ruined by 80s pop music

I literally just watched this, and in my opinion it was kinda entertaining. Ignore the PG-13 rating. There is little blood shown, and the worst is weapons impal... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written by2pennys July 26, 2017

Wow. Common sense media was a little harsh.

I mean 1 star? This movie has some interesting themes and it was one of Matthew Broderick's first movies.

What's the story?

A bishop (John Wood) with passionate designs on Isabeau (Michelle Pfeiffer) curses her and the captain she loves (Rutger Hauer) to lifelong misery: He becomes a wolf every night, she becomes a hawk every day. Unable to be together as a couple, they travel in limbo until Philippe, a nimble pickpocket (Matthew Broderick), stumbles on their plight. With the help of a hermetic monk (Leo McKern), who figures out how to end the curse, they evade the bishop’s murderous soldiers until day and night somehow intermingle and the good guys prevail.

Is it any good?

This overblown, overlong, overacted romantic fantasy is dull and devoid of both wit and good taste. Rock music more suited to an episode of Miami Vice competes with lute melodies without any good reason. In one inexplicable sequence, we view the hawk flying in slow motion to an accompanying heavy rock beat. The characters bear French names, but the accents range from Brooklynese (Broderick says, "I gotta be outta my mind"), faintly Dutch (Hauer), and Californian (Pfeiffer) to legitimately Shakespearean (Wood and McKern). Broderick plays the role with the same ironic detachment as he played Ferris Bueller, a modernity utterly out of place in a tale set during the Middle Ages.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether there is such a thing as a curse. What do you think?

  • The bishop is evil and selfish. How in real life can you fight powerful people who are not doing the right thing?

  • A pickpocket is scheduled to be executed for his crime. What crime, if any, do you think would merit the punishment of death?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy

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