Oklahoma! Movie Poster Image

Oklahoma!

(i)

 

Excellent singing and dancing on the frontier.
Parents recommend
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Musical
  • Release Year: 1955
  • Running Time: 145 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

At the "box social," men bid on women's picnic baskets to win the chance to dine with the basket-maker. The outdated concept comes across as a harmless and quaint frontier tradition. Jud's bachelor shack has pin-ups on the walls, and it's implied that the kaleidoscope he buys has pictures of nude women.

Violence & scariness

Arson and a knife fight ending in the villain's death.

Sexy stuff

Plenty of innuendo in the song "I Cain't Say No" and in much of the dialog between Ado Annie and her suitors. For example, Ali Hakim hopes to lure Ado Annie to a hotel where "paradise" awaits them.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there's one part that could be scary for some kids: a brief knife fight atop burning haystacks. You'll also find plenty of flirty innuendo in the song "I Cain't Say No."

What's the story?

Most of this frontier musical takes place on the day of the box social, a party where women's picnic baskets are auctioned for charity. After spitefully refusing Curly's (Gordon MacRae) offer to escort her, Laurie (Shirley Jones in her movie debut) agrees to go to the dance with Aunt Eller's rough-edged farmhand Jud Fry. Of course, as much as Curly and Laurie protest in public, they secretly love each other. Unfortunately, Jud is both jealous and vengeful, and things escalate quickly. While this love triangle does momentarily turn violent, another bickering threesome keeps the movie light and comical. Ado Annie, a somewhat clueless girl who "cain't say no" (Gloria Grahame), can't decide if she should marry smooth-talking peddler Ali Hakim (Eddie Albert), who obviously has no interest in wedded bliss, or her well-intentioned cowboy fiance, Will Parker.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Rodgers and Hammerstein's memorable tunes make OKLAHOMA! an eternally fresh and enjoyable musical classic. The opening scene, when cowboy Curly rides through cornfields singing "Oh What a Beautiful Mornin,'" sets the tone for this colorful, tuneful, and upbeat frontier movie.

There are a couple of drawn-out dance numbers that will tempt you to fast-forward: one as girls freshen up at Laurie's house on the way to the box social, and a later ballet dream sequence -- an obligatory, bizarre, feature of many 1950s musicals. But these scenes aren't enough to keep this from the short list of must-sees for families who enjoy musicals, or for kids just getting started on the classics.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Jud's behavior and how he might have justified it. How do the others treat him? What are his reasons for fighting Curly? Why does Laurie change her mind about Curly? How does Ali Hakim treat women? Is the box social concept acceptable in today's society?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 11, 1955
DVD/Streaming release date:April 27, 1999
Cast:Gloria Grahame, Gordon MacRae, Shirley Jones
Director:Fred Zinnemann
Studio:Magna Corporation
Genre:Musical
Run time:145 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

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Quality

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written bydouble_sigh May 4, 2013

Darker than I remembered

I love the music! Love the female characters and the portrayal of the ol' frontier. The items that give me pause are (1) "Poor Jud is Dead" song. Curly tries to convince Jud to kill himself. I was surprised at how dark and disturbing this scene is when I re-watched it. (2)The dream scene is disturbing and hard to take. (3) Jud has a pretty violent end. Implied, but there. Just know the Jud theme is dark. Darker than I remember.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 7 and 9 year old Written byKunmingMom July 1, 2010

Fun story, saturated in sexual innuendo

What other families should know
Too much sex
Kid, 12 years old August 1, 2012

Best play ever

I saw the play and it was amazing! The songs were great along with the orchestra. Some scenes might be scary for kids. There is shooting, talking about dying punching/slapping and a man getting stabbed. There is some cussing but not too much. There is talk about dating and a lot of kissing. Otherwise the dancing, singing and music was awesome.
What other families should know
Educational value
Too much violence
Too much sex

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