Overboard (1987)

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Overboard (1987) Movie Poster Image
'80s comedy has some strong language, iffy messages.
  • PG
  • 1987
  • 112 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Though everyone learns a lesson and falls in love by the end, the road to that ending is really quite mean. Joanna starts the movie spoiled, rich, and bored; she treats Dean with contempt. He acts out of revenge and makes her cook and clean, giving her as good as she gave him. Eventually he feels bad, but this negative behavior is celebrated as comedy for much of the movie.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Both Joanna and Dean eventually learn their lessons and find love with each other, but they're particularly nasty people until that point. Joanna is spoiled and bored, treating everyone around her with impatience and contempt. Dean takes revenge on her, but it's wildly unfair. He lies to her, humiliates her, and treats her like a slave in his home. Eventually he comes to like her, but he can't bring himself to tell her the truth; it comes out accidentally, later on.


Mild arguing and a few pratfalls.


No nudity, but characters kiss and make love in bed. Joanna appears in a very revealing bathing suit that makes her look naked from the back. (Dean is able to identify a birthmark in a sensitive area.) Joanna finds a pair of panties in the glove compartment of Dean's truck, and he can't explain where they came from. The husband character parties heavily on board his yacht with several half-dressed ladies. Plenty of sex-related talk, including mentions of getting "knocked up," phone sex, and "painted ladies."


At least five uses of "s--t," plus more than one use of "bitch," "damn," "slut," "goddamn," "God," and "ass."


Several products are visible in the family's home, including M&Ms, Trix cereal, Lifesavers, Mr. Bubble, and Ajax cleaner.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink plenty of beer. Characters drink martinis and champagne. Hardly anyone drinks to excess, though the husband character is seen having some crazy parties on board his yacht.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Overboard is a 1980s variation on the classic screwball comedy genre. The characters behave outrageously and are slightly less charming than their 1930s and 1940s counterparts; they eventually learn their lessons, but they're just not very nice people. The comic revenge plot goes a bit too far. Expect fairly strong language (including several uses of "s--t"), as well as sex and sex talk (no nudity). Four younger boys are part of the story (the children of Dean's former marriage), though there are relatively few "family" situations to laugh at. (The 2018 remake flips the main characters' genders for a new twist.)

Wondering if Overboard (1987) is OK for your kids?

Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byEmmalovesmovies444 July 31, 2019


this movie is no bueno.
It has a woman with a thong
Several sex jokes
SEVERAL period jokes
Some weird very rapey messages(like dude no she’s not your wife don’t... Continue reading
Adult Written byLynnR 2 June 30, 2018

If you're concerned about sexual topics..

These are the things you might want to have a heads up about:
Thong bathing suit and woman bends over wearing it
Multiple comments about "doing it"... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byLocke and Demos... May 11, 2020

fun movie

It's a fun movie. It's not too deep, just fun. It's appropriate for over 9 year olds.
Teen, 17 years old Written bydana.alexis07 April 6, 2020

Funny Movie for Older Teens

This movie is absolutely hilarious but has themes for older teens. Lots of references to sex including non-graphic sec between a couple, implied sex and smutty... Continue reading

What's the story?

In OVERBOARD, Joanna Stayton (Goldie Hawn) is a bored, nasty socialite who orders a new closet for her yacht. The brusque yet charming handyman Dean Proffitt (Kurt Russell) turns up for the job, but of course, his finished product is not up to her exacting specifications, and he's fired without pay. Later, she falls overboard and loses her memory. Seeing a chance for revenge, Dean shows up at the hospital and claims her as his wife, "Annie." He brings her to his distinctly lower-class hovel, and makes her clean, cook, and care for his four boys (he's a widower). Eventually, they begin to fall in love for real, but what happens when the other shoe drops and "Annie" realizes what's really going on?

Is it any good?

Garry Marshall directs this this movie in the vein of 1930s and 1940s screwball classics, but he lacks a certain sharpness that could have kept the material in check; it wanders out of control. Hawn is very funny as the spoiled, horrible socialite, but after that first section, she has much less to do. It's uncomfortable watching as her character moans and whines about her chores, and then sadly begins to accept her lot.

Russell is a charming comic actor, and he and Hawn share a nice onscreen chemistry (they were a real-life couple until Marshall's passing in 2016), but his character in Overboard is painted as slightly vindictive and careless; he doesn't seem to care if his kids act like hooligans. What's more, the four kids have very little to do with this equation, other than to assemble for a few obligatory "cute" scenes. Happily, the great Roddy McDowall appears in a few nice scenes as Hawn's long-suffering butler.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Dean's revenge plot against Joanna in Overboard. Does it go too far? Or does she deserve what she gets?

  • Joanna is forced to cook and clean for a time. Is her character a stereotype?

  • Is the movie too sexy for a story about a family?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedies

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

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate