'80s romcom has mature themes; may not interest kids.
  • Review Date: August 31, 2010
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1987
  • Running Time: 102 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Love can strike anytime, and especially when you're not looking, and it's good to give into it -- for the right person. The film, in fact, is infused with romance (a magical moon, a sense that lovers can't resist the pull of true love). Your past doesn't define have to define you. There's also a clear message about the importance of family and tradition, though one does not have to abide by both slavishly.

Positive role models

In the beginning, the two main leads are broken types defined by their past heartbreaks. But somehow, they find a way to trust and hope, though the route they take does include some form of deception.


A woman slaps a man who, earlier, threatens to kill himself half-seriously.


A woman sleeps with her fiance’s brother. We see them kissing and hear them moaning; later she’s seen ostensibly naked under a sheet, her silhouette outlined by moonlight. An elderly man is having an affair, and his wife suspects it. Another retiree gets frisky with his wife (no nudity). A womanizer kisses a married woman on the cheek after walking her home.


Some, used sparingly: "s--t;" Italian word for prostitute.


Some signage for the Metropolitan Opera's production of "La Boheme," as well as mom-and-pop stores (florists, hair salons, bakeries). Also, the odd Budweiser outside a bar.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Plenty of social drinking at restaurants, parties, the theatre; a family breaks open the champagne to celebrate a piece of good news; a woman drinks a glass of wine before a date.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this romantic comedy, which is far from the pre-packaged, predictable fare typical of the genre, has lots of heart, but does deal with mature themes like betrayal and deception, which are probably too weighty for kids. There's little swearing and nudity, though couples are shown in passionate embrace. There are also some arguments that may be a little bombastic for very young viewers (though hilarious for everyone else).

What's the story?

This award-winning comedy stars Cher as Loretta, a 37-year-old accountant who long gave up on passion after her first husband was killed by a bus. She chalks it up to bad luck; she wasn’t married in a church; she didn’t have a ring; her husband didn’t propose on his knee. Her current boyfriend (Danny Aiello), whom she likes but doesn’t love, has asked for her hand in marriage, and she has accepted. But he implores her to speak to his estranged brother (Nicolas Cage), a request that will start a chain of events that will change her life forever. Meantime, her father and mother may be on the outs, and a full moon presiding over the film is bringing out the daredevil in everyone.

Is it any good?


There’s a reason MOONSTRUCK reaped so many awards -- writing, acting -- at the 1988 Academy Awards: It’s a playful creation with refreshing and charming twists and turns, so far removed from the formulaic fare often packaged as romantic comedy. First, there’s the premise, which could’ve easily veered into melodrama but instead found life as an offbeat meditation on passion. Then, there’s the ensemble -- so strong from the bit players to the lead, especially the captivating Cher. (Cage borders on hammy, but appeals, anyway.) But it's also juxtaposed with moments of affecting reality (a man cheats on his longtime, devoted wife, played with such dexterity by Olympia Dukakis), which rescues it from maudlin. It also makes you think about how easily being moonstruck turns into being complacent, and how one can't rely on a celestial being, beautiful or not, to make an earth-bound relationship last for all time. That takes work.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Loretta's decision to marry Johnny: If she didn't love him, as she says, why did she want to marry him?

  • There's a lot of talk about luck in this film: Do you believe in it? What role does it play in this movie?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 18, 1987
DVD release date:June 30, 1998
Cast:Cher, Danny Aiello, Nicolas Cage, Olympia Dukakis
Director:Norman Jewison
Run time:102 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:Parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

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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.

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Parent Written byMusic/Movies December 25, 2012

Sex: 8/10, Violence: 2/10, Language: 4/10, Drinking: 4/10

Sex: There is one heavy kissing scene that I would almost call a makeout scene. A man pulls a woman off of a chair and kisses her heavily in his kitchen for a few seconds. She eventually pulls away and gets nervous, but then jumps right back at him. This whole time you can tell they are french kissing because their lips don't even move that much. *A man carries a woman to his bed and throws her down. They talk to each other and use sexual phrases such as "Leave nothing but the skin over my bones" and "Take that revenge out on me". *A man tries to kiss a woman, but she pulls away and reminds him she is just going on a simple date with him. *A young man walks and older woman home and tells her that she could come to his apartment, but she refuses. They kiss each other on the cheek. *Three couples in this movie cheat on each other, which includes sex, kissing, dating and avoiding telling their spouse. *There are a few breif kissing scenes in the movie other than the heavier ones, but they aren't that long. (NOTE: Most of the sexual scenes are with Cher and Nicholas, and the whole time Cher is engaged to another man). --- Violence: *A man threatens to kill himself with a kinfie while he yells and knocks down things. *A woman slaps a man acros the face two times and then yells at him. *A man knocks over a table after a fighting scene and he pulls a woman off of a chair fairly hard. *Some fighting scenes and mentions of death. --- Language: One or two uses of s**t, one use of b*tch and a few milder things. --- Drinking: *The Italians have wine and other drinks, but they drink with responsability and they never get drunk or use alchohal in a bad way. There is pretty much no smoking and absolutly no drugs at all.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Educator and Parent Written byFosterFan August 5, 2011

Great actors, great screenplay. Excellent film.

There's a reason Moonstruck has become a classic film, and a staple in the romantic comedy genre. The players are top notch, the screenplay's hilarious, and the direction magnificent. Cher and Olympia Dukakis shine brightest of all in a star-studded cast. Highly recommended.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written byStepMomSterToo January 11, 2011
Kids would fall asleep. Has it's funny points.


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