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Parents' Guide to

On Golden Pond

By Randy White, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Valuable lessons in loving one's family members.

Movie PG 1981 105 minutes
On Golden Pond Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 13+

Wonderful film, but way too much language for pre-teens

CSM is way off on this one saying it is ok for 9 and up. This film, despite being rated PG (released three years before the PG-13 rating mind you) has so much cursing in it, that alone makes it inappropriate for anyone under the age of 13. I have seen softer R rated films with less swearing than this has. The story is excellent and families could learn a lot of morals about relationships and dealing with aging loved ones but I would agree with a previous review which says about half of this films dialogue consists of using profanity. Again no f-words (though there are two inappropriate finger gestures) but just about every other profanity you can think of, most prevalent are heavy uses of the s word and GD. Also younger audiences might not be able to relate that this is a film about an elderly couple and the man fears dying and frequently talks about death and although it is never stated, it is heavily implied that may be in the early stages of facing dementia. Additionally there is some sexual references where the daughter of the main characters boyfriend asks if they can sleep together in the same room with the father's permission. This results in a somewhat funny but very awkward reply from the father. Also mentions of skinny dipping although there is no nudity and although sex is discussed there are no sex scenes. Younger audiences may also find the film to be very slow, and may lose interest. It's not a film you want to watch if you need constant action to be entertained. It is a slowly paced film that requires patience to view but the message about family values really do shine and makes it worth watching in the end. It's a shame that more families will not be able to view this due to the heavy language. Without the language I feel this film could be enjoyed by almost all ages. They do have filtering services for movies so you can always see if you can watch this that way if you want to enjoy it with your family. It's an amazing story but its just a shame there is so much bad language. Suggested MPAA Rating: PG-13 for frequent language, some mature and emotional content and a few sexual references.
age 12+

Excellent movie, lots of language!

One of my favorite movies! I hadn't seen it in years, and quickly checked on Common Sense Media to see if it was appropriate for my 10-year old. In my opinion, there is way too much language for CSM to rate as okay for 9 year olds. Also, there is one scene where a very frank discussion about whether it is okay for the grown daughter and her boyfriend to "sleep together" while visiting her parents. That being said, it has extremely valuable life lessons -- you should judge the emotional and social maturity of your child before watching this if they are 10 or 11 -- definitely not suitable for 9-year olds.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (2 ):

If kids can make it past these languid first minutes of sunsets on dappled water, they might find the rich relationships between family members of ON GOLDEN POND rewarding. Some older kids may find it a decidedly unhip affair for solo watching -- and it's certainly not one they'll seek out with their friends -- but it does make for good family viewing. Both kids and parents can relate to the intergenerational conflict and the way the story manages to resolve family strife. And all ages will take pleasure from the wisdom the old folks pass onto the youngsters and, conversely, the zest children enkindle in the old.

Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda both won acting Oscars for their work here. Hepburn is radiant as the sprightly matriarch, with her wide smile and warbling cry of "Nooorman." Her terror when Norman is felled by his angina attack is genuinely moving. Fonda is appropriately crusty and there is a touch of poignancy in the fact that the actor's real-life daughter Jane plays his character's estranged daughter. But few will muster much sympathy for Jane Fonda's whiny, self-centered character.

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