Parents' Guide to

Live from New York!

By Betsy Bozdech, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Docu underlines Saturday Night Live's cultural impact.

Movie NR 2015 90 minutes
Live from New York! Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

It's impossible to fully capture the breadth of SNL's 40 seasons in an hour and a half, but Live from New York! is still an interesting look at what has become a true cultural institution. It covers the show's impact on popular music, politics, and much more. And the filmmakers rounded up an impressive list of talent to interview, from early cast members like Chevy Chase and Jane Curtin to more recent stand-outs like Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Andy Samberg, as well as politicians (Giuliani), journalists (Brokaw, Soledad O'Brien), and -- of course -- show patriarch Michaels. The interviewees offer their thoughts on everything from the series' initial conception as a "cross of 60 Minutes and Monty Python" to the notion that the way cast members portrayed Al Gore and George W. Bush could have influenced the results of the 2000 election.

That said, Live from New York! may be most entertaining for those who don't know much about what's gone on behind the scenes over the years; viewers who do already know a fair bit about the show's history -- its near-death in the early '80s, the ongoing claims of sexism in the writers' ranks, etc. -- likely won't learn much new. And viewers just looking for their favorite sketches may be disappointed (though there are bits and pieces of a lot of the classics, as well as moments that don't make most of the clip reels -- "Ira Needleman the Singing Dentist," anyone?), since there are more talking-head interviews than skit montages. Brief glimpses into the writers' offices and other backstage spaces are some of the film's most fascinating scenes; a documentary that brought us more of that and a little less self-congratulatory back patting would be more in tune with the show's subversive spirit.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

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