Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

 
(i)

 

Thrillingly energetic dances on film.
  • Review Date: May 8, 2003
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Musical
  • Release Year: 1954
  • Running Time: 102 minutes

What parents need to know

Violence & scariness

A fistfight

Sexy stuff

Reference to Adam's having to sleep outside.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that some critics have complained that this movie all but promotes rape, but that's unfair. Ultimately it is very much the girls' own decision to stay and marry. Milly wants to be seen as a partner who has opinions and value, not a servant without wages. The girls want to be asked, not kidnapped.

What's the story?

In this beloved 1950s musical, handsome backwoodsman Adam Pontabee (Howard Keel) has given himself one day to find a wife in town, to take back to his ranch. He meets Milly (Jane Powell), a spirited waitress, proposes, and she accepts, unaware that she'll also be housekeeper and cook to his six slovenly brothers. She tells the men they must learn to behave, and they eventually love and respect her and want wives of their own. At a barn raising, they each fall in love. Back at the ranch, they long for their girls and follow Adam's suggestion -- they go into town and steal them. But the furious women won't have anything to do with them, even though they are snowed in at the ranch until the spring thaw. Milly is so angry with Adam that he leaves to spend the rest of the winter in a hunting cabin, unaware that she is pregnant. The girls soften toward the brothers, and by spring, are ready to marry them, in one big ceremony. And Adam returns, realizing how much Milly means to him.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This movie includes some of the most thrillingly energetic dances ever put on film, including the classic barn-raising number (which unfortunately suffers on the small screen). Based on a short story by Stephen Vincent Benet, it is almost an icon of America as it saw itself in the 1950s -- brash, energetic, adventuresome, and cocky.

Some critics argue that the movie all but promotes rape, but that is unfair. Even though the girls are very attracted to the brothers, they are very angry at being kidnapped, and the brothers are banished to the barn. They must earn their way back into the girls' affections by treating them with courtesy and respect, and ultimately it is very much the girls' own decision to stay and marry them. With the help of youngest brother Gideon, Milly teaches Adam that even though she accepted his proposal quickly, she is still worth earning.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the barn raising dance number helps to tell the story. Milly and Adam get married very quickly without talking about what they want. How does that create problems? How does Milly show how important family is to her? Why is it hard for Adam to realize how important Milly is to him? How does Milly show how important family is to her? Why is it hard for Adam to realize how important Milly is to him?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 22, 1954
DVD release date:October 12, 2004
Cast:Howard Keel, Jeff Richards, Russ Tamblyn
Director:Stanley Donen
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Musical
Run time:102 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers was written by

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Quality

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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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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 5 year old Written bysancarlos1 August 26, 2010
 

Kidnapping is not acceptable.

I'm sorry, but I disagree with Common Sense here. The fact that a protagonist in the movie advises his brothers to carry off the women they want is reprehensible under today's social mores. The fact that all of the kidnapped women decide to marry their captors screams Stockholm Syndrome. I can watch this movie and enjoy it as an adult because I understand the difference in social norms. My 5 year old daughter won't understand this — and I don't want her to think of herself as property.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Adult Written bykellsitis April 7, 2009
 

Respect and Love

This movie has nothing to do with rape and it certainly has nothing to do with slavery. Millie stands up for herself quite well, but all the problems were caused by lack of communication between Adam and Millie. Adam was also ignorant in that he is an honest-to-goodness mountain man that knows nothing of manners or how to treat women, so his new and equally ignorant wife tells him how to do it. All of the Pontipee brothers are shown how to treat ladies with respect and though they capture their girls in a disrespectful way, they treat them with respect and woo them in a proper way once spring comes and they can spend chaperoned time together. See the movie and you'll love it!
Kid, 12 years old August 29, 2010
 

This is a terrible, sexist movie...

Let me set this straight. I LOATHE this movie. All my friends are obsessed with it, but I can't stand it. The music is cheesy, the role models are dreadful, and this is the most sexist thing I've ever seen! It's so clearly "Males are dominant, females are property that should behave and do whatever the men say". 1 star.

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