Parents' Guide to

Mister Roberts

By M. Faust, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

WWII dramedy is a true American classic.

Movie NR 1955 122 minutes
Mister Roberts Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 18+

Based on 1 parent review

age 18+

Mister Roberts, a timeless story.

Mister Roberts is one of my all time favorite movies. Besides imparting a story line of camaraderie and duty, it suggests a multitude of life lessons about friendship and duty. Duty to country and friends. I never tire of watching Mister Roberts. Henry Fonda is perfect as the title character. James Cagney is ideal as his nemesis. Watch it for the first time over and over again. It never ages.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Mister Roberts occasionally feels stiff and constrained, though the superb cast works to keep things lively. The inactive side of America's fighting force is spotlighted in this movie, which stars Henry Fonda as a World War II naval officer trying to keep up the morale of his bored, overworked cargo ship crew. Mister Roberts survives the test of time by concentrating on characters rather than action. Though tame compared with the stories of real-life enlisted men, the movie isn't exactly politically correct. One of its most memorable characters, Ensign Pulver (an Oscar-winning performance by Jack Lemmon), is a coward who schemes to seduce a visiting nurse with homemade Scotch. But he's an immature young man who grows considerably by the end of the movie.

Fonda, who won a Tony award for playing Roberts on Broadway, was never better than he is here, bringing heart and strength to the title role. Lemmon, Cagney, and William Powell (in his final screen role as the ship's philosophical doctor) give some of the strongest performances of their respective careers. As with most of the greatest comedies, this one has a serious side. The ending, with its one-two punch combining tragic news with a great belly laugh, is one that viewers won't soon forget. The adult subject matter and humor will appeal mainly to teens and parents.

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