Romancing the Stone

Well-written romance/adventure is tons of fun.
  • Review Date: November 1, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 1984
  • Running Time: 106 minutes

What parents need to know

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

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.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

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

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:March 30, 1984
DVD release date:May 25, 1999
Cast:Danny DeVito, Kathleen Turner, Michael Douglas
Director:Robert Zemeckis
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Run time:106 minutes
MPAA rating:PG

This review of Romancing the Stone was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Educator and Parent Written byBeatle_jojhn July 31, 2011
age 16+

Shocking amount of 'Lord's Name In Vain' references.

I was shocked of all the 'Lord's name in Vain' language that was used. The term "G*dd*mn" must have been used 50 times by the midpoint of the movie. Now I am not spouting religion here but it was way too crass and vulgar for us to finish. Again... a reference here and there, a "f-word" or other, I find ok and can be used as a talking point later if you wish... but when I say 50 times... I am not exaggerating Go for Indiana Jones instead. On a technical point......the terrible "tinny" sounding mono audio. It all sounds canned and clearing they did not do sound effects any justice.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 10 and 10 year old Written byKarabrodman February 15, 2009
age 11+

exciting adventure movie

My two 11 year olds and I watched this movie,.....we loved it! I only fast forwarded thru the one scene after they get to the pay phone and "celebrate" together. We loved the adventure of Jack and Joan as they go thru the rain forest in search of the treasure. You should rent this movie for both boys or girls of this age group and older.
Teen, 13 years old Written byJulia8 July 16, 2012
age 9+


This movie is totally worthless. It had no interest in plot, no awesome characters, no great acting, no great costumes, no great music. It was below average on every level. The main male character is really annoying and doesn't even deserve Joan Wilder.
What other families should know
Too much swearing


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