Want more recommendations for your family?
Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
While Jack deceives his friends (and himself, to a point) about his past, and is coerced into quitting the strike, he eventually does the right thing, especially when his friend David is threatened. While it's never made clear in the dialogue, there's a sense of the melting-pot of New York, with Irish, Jewish, and African American kids overcoming their gang-like divisions to unite in the strike. Adults are mostly meanies, although a few high-placed ones come to the rescue in the end. There are only a few girls in the story, but they stand with the good guys.
Violence & Scariness
Much fist-fighting and beat-downs, some incorporated into dance choreography (think West Side Story), some not (as in a bare-knuckle boxing match). Often grown men threaten to beat kids. Kids attack back with slingshots.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A scandal headline about a nude corpse, and that's about it.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
"Damn" and "dumbasses" uttered.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
References to newspapers of yesteryear, most of which don't exist now.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Raffish boys smoke (and steal their cigarettes and cigars), and a little child drinks beer to win a bet.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this Disney production features a tough, New York street-level milieu, in which confrontations frequently threaten to culminate in fist-fighting, and often do. There are menacing scenes of adults threatening to beat children using clubs and chains, and a rivalry between different subsets of kids looks somewhat like street gangs. One boy smokes cigarettes. There is a strong pro-union (and anti-management) sentiment throughout. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Newsies, with its energetic score and large-scale dance gymnastics, hits a note lost between the pop-fantasy and ragtime of Bugsy Malone and the R-rated realism of Gangs of New York. Dramatically there is some surprisingly strong stuff here, and perhaps Newsies would have come across better without the tunes.
Even with an upbeat finale, most grownups come across as the worst kind of abusive authority-figures, domineering and brute-force guardians, although a few adults support the boys. There is pretty strong Goliath-vs.-David sense of injustice and helplessness, with police and hired thugs against the kids. Ruthless, immoral corporations control everything, and mainstream media is not to be trusted -- especially when its own investments are threatened.
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.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
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