Oklahoma!

Movie review by
Kathryn McGarr, Common Sense Media
Oklahoma! Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Excellent singing and dancing in '50s musical.
  • NR
  • 1955
  • 145 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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 The outdated concept comes across as a harmless and quaint frontier tradition.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.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some stereotyping -- for instance, the hard-bargaining salesman is Persian, and is also played by a white man with his face shaded darker. 

Violence & Scariness

Arson and a knife fight ending in the villain's death. Curly sings a song that basically encourages Jud to kill himself. Fist fights between farmers and cowboys. Rifle shots. The "Little Wonder," in addition to being a kaleidoscope showing pictures of naked women, forces out a switchblade into the eye or face of the viewer if it's turned far enough. Jud spies on Laurey as she changes clothes and essentially stalks and harasses her.

Sexy Stuff

A surprising amount of sexual innuendo throughout. Man shown spying on a woman as she's undressing. A kaleidoscope called the "Little Wonder" implied to have photos of naked women. Male character describes a burlesque dancer as being "as round above as she is below." A salesman calls his lover his "Persian Kitty" because of their "soft round tails." Female character sings a song called "I Cain't Say No" about her inability to say no to the advances of her male suitors. A farmhand keeps photographs of naked women on his wall -- not shown, but pointed out by a man who enters his room. When a salesman asks the man if he's interested in purchasing more photos of naked women, he says that he's no longer satisfied by these photos, and needs a real woman. Female character shown skinny-dipping in a swimming hole (no nudity). 

Language

"Hell." A surprising amount of sexual innuendo. 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Jud drinks booze from a jug. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Oklahoma! is the 1955 movie adaptation of the classic Rogers & Hammerstein musical. Those expecting harmless and wholesome 1950s entertainment may be shocked at the amount of sexual innuendo throughout the movie. For instance, a traveling salesman refers to his lover as his "Persian Kitty," because they have "soft round tails." A woman sings a number called "I Cain't Say No" about her inability to turn down the amorous advances of her male suitors. A farmhand keeps photos of nude women on his walls (nudity not shown, but pointed out by others), and when the salesman asks if he's interested buying more pictures, the farmhand says, in so many words, that he wants to be with a real woman as he's no longer satisfied by the pictures on his walls. A man returns from Kansas City with a kaleidoscope called the "Little Wonder" that shows photos of nude women when viewers look into it, but if they turn it too far, a switchblade pops out. Curly sings a song to Jud that basically encourages him to commit suicide. Jud spies on Laurey as she changes clothes and essentially stalks and harasses her. Fighting between farmers and cowboys. Rifle shots. The salesman, by the way, is stereotyped as a hard-bargaining Persian, and he's played by a white man (Eddie Albert) whose face is shaded dark. 

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byMommaAnderson September 4, 2016

Great movie - some concerning innuendos

Interesting, funny and romantic movie. However - there are scenes relating to sexual innuendos (and some are pretty obvious). There is violence , hinted at and... Continue reading
Adult Written bymilliemum January 29, 2016

Not as good as I remembered. Great music and songs. Story not so much

Well it had been ages since I saw this and I wish we had chosen something else. I agree with some of these other reviews but no one mentioned the many reference... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byShowman movie13 May 16, 2020

A well made Musical movie; with some mild violence

I enjoyed this movie. I thought this was an OK musical movie; it was well made. It had plenty of songs and great role models. There was some violence(not too in... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old July 25, 2015

violence over a girl?

Two men fighting over a young woman (literally fighting). the music was very nice and the love story was sweet but I still thought it was violent.

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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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?

  • Were you surprised by the amount of sexual innuendo throughout the movie? 

  • How does the movie employ stereotypical depictions of characters based on ethnicity or gender? How was this typical for the 1950s in particular? 

Movie details

For kids who love musicals

Our editors recommend

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