Romancing the Stone

Movie review by
Randy White, Common Sense Media
Romancing the Stone Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Well-written romance/adventure is tons of fun.
  • PG
  • 1984
  • 106 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 18 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Although there's some stereotyping (for example, Latinos are the swarthy, nasty bad guys) the movie ultimately has a positive message about loyalty and the power of love.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The lead characters are definitely flawed -- Jack is a scoundrel with a shady past, and Joan is idealistic and overly cautious -- but they eventually bring out the best in each other.


A couple of stabbings and plenty of gun fights. The baddest of the bad guys has his hand bitten off by a crocodile, which is then completely devoured (off-screen) by a pit full of crocodiles. Frequent danger and peril.


Breasts are visible through a wet cotton top. A good deal of sexual innuendo -- like a man's face landing in a woman's lap. The two leads end up together in bed with implied nudity, though sensitive parts are strategically covered.


Plentiful use of words like "god," "bastards," and "bitch." The term "Spico" is used by one character to describe Latin Americans.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Burning marijuana to keep warm, jokes about smoking pot back in college. Some drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that kids will see violence, profanity, sexual situations, and stereotypical depictions of and references to Latinos in this otherwise well-written adventure movie. The baddest of the bad guys has his hand bitten off by a crocodile, which is then completely devoured (off-screen) by a pit full of crocodiles. There's also a fair bit of swearing, a couple of stabbings, and gun fights. Breasts are visible through a wet cotton top, and there's plenty of sexual innuendo. The two leads end up together in bed, though there's no nudity. Latinos are the swarthy, nasty bad guys. The term "Spico" is used by one character to describe Latin Americans.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 16 and 18+-year-old Written byananda51 January 5, 2009

Enjoyable but with caveats

The movie is a fun action-romance with comic elements. The pacing might seem slow at times for 2008. My wife and I saw it again with our daughter (age 16), and... Continue reading
Adult Written byTScoo February 24, 2020

A classic

This movie is favorite of mine from when I was a kid. It came out in theaters when I was 10 and it quickly became my fave movie. In trying to determine if my 8... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old April 28, 2020

OK, but...

I think this movie was OK, but should be rated PG-13 instead of PG. Parents beware: The two main characters are shown making love, there is some blood and gore,... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old July 16, 2019

Kids over 9 yrs

I think this film is for kids over 8 yrs old. There are a couple scenes of sex, drugs, stabbing but barely any swear words. If you are younger than 8 you might... Continue reading

What's the story?

In ROMANCING THE STONE, Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) is a famous romance novelist, starved for adventure and love in her own life. When her sister is kidnapped, Joan heads to Columbia on a rescue mission and meets Jack Colton (Michael Douglas), a gruff adventurer who helps her escape the various bad guys who want her for a treasure map her dead brother-in-law sent her. As they make their way through the jungle, Jack romances Joan, but his intentions are dubious because he wants the treasure for himself. The two find the buried treasure, only to have Ralph (Danny Devito) and corrupt police officials hot on their trail. Joan heads for Cartegena to save her sister and Jack shows up, as promised. A battle ensues between the various factions, and Jack swims off to retrieve the jewel. Joan returns to New York, thinking she'll never see Jack again.

Is it any good?

This well-written action-adventure movie is laced with a sharp sense of humor. The score is also fun, if a bit heavy-handed in a 1980s, "Miami Vice" sort of way. With jungle vine swinging and mudslides down mountainsides, this is a rough and tumble action-adventure story in the spirit of Raiders of the Lost Ark. And for those who want just a little more, Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas generate plenty of sparks. Romancing the Stone also has a delicious tongue-in-cheek quality, with plenty of hilariously incongruous moments.

Kathleen Turner is great as the mousy woman with a hidden spirit of adventure. One 13-year-girl loved her and greatly enjoyed the movie overall. The action kept her glued to the screen and she thought the romance was "fun, not sappy." Michael Douglas is equally strong as the handsome rogue who does the right thing by Joan despite his self-preservationist instincts. It's also nice to see two leads who look great, but don't possess super-human, sculpted physiques.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how stereotypes are used in film. Why are Latinos stereotyped as nasty bad guys in this movie? What effect did their stereotyping have on how you perceived them?

  • How are stereotypes useful to filmmakers? How are they harmful to the groups being stereotyped? Even if you are aware that characters are being stereotyped, do you think seeing those portrayals impact how you perceive those groups?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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