A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
While you'd expect Whoopi's character to be the one needing to be "saved," she's the one who saves the church and helps the neighborhood by using her talents and bringing out the talents of others. Nuns living in a convent in a rough part of town start to clean up the neighborhood and make inroads into the community around them. Nun characters are seen as individuals instead of stereotypes.
Positive Role Models
The nuns work together to clean up the rough neighborhood around them by removing graffiti, throwing out garbage, and decorating the outside of their convent and church with colorful street art. While flawed in some ways, the lead character has the gift of music and discovers she also has the gift of teaching music to others.
Violence & Scariness
The lead character inadvertently walks in on her soon-to-be ex-boyfriend, a mafia boss, as he orders and witnesses his henchmen shoot and kill a "rat" with guns and silencers. As a witness to the act, she is pursued and shot at by the henchmen. Later. these same guys take her and a nun into their car at gunpoint -- the lead character opens one of the back doors and tosses the nun out the door where she rolls onto the street unharmed.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some kissing and mild mentions of sex.
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Occasional profanity: "s--t," "hell." Whoopi Goldberg's character says "Bless you!" in such a way as to imply the f-word instead of "bless." Mafia boss talks of knowing the lead character, "in the Biblical sense."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some references to alcohol. Whoopi's character, who's reluctantly hiding out in a convent, inspired the movie's tagline: "No booze! No sex! No drugs! No way!" Drinking and smoking inside a casino. Champagne drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sister Act is a 1992 comedy in which Whoopi Goldberg plays a Reno casino singer who teaches a convent of nuns how to sing after she's placed there as part of a witness protection program. While most of this movie takes place in a cloistered Catholic convent, the story begins with a murder committed off-screen by the main character's boyfriend, a stereotypical Italian-American mafia character. On the other hand, the nuns in this movie are not a monolithic stereotype but viewed as individuals of varying personalities and temperaments. When the main character, a lounge singer with a shady past only alluded to, is sent to a convent to hide, she doesn't respect the rules (the movie's tagline: "No booze! No sex! No drugs! No way!"), makes many jokey references to what she's forced to live without, and sneaks out to a biker bar. While she rebels against her holy surroundings, she also uses her talents to spiff up the choir and the community. Some gun violence besides the killing at the beginning. Occasional profanity, including a strongly implied f-word when Goldberg's character says, dripping with angry sarcasm, "Bless you!" To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The musical numbers really make SISTER ACT. And Goldberg shines as the rebellious "nun" whose iconoclastic attitude affects not just the choir, but everyone in the convent who soon dons new habits -- both good and bad. Deloris' gregarious spirit and instant popularity eventually garner unneeded media attention: the Pope comes to visit, and soon after, TV crews. When this captures the attention of Deloris' ex-boyfriend, who is still trying to find her, the mob-crime focus of the story is back on, bringing PG-style justice to make a happy ending.
Sister Act's success -- due mostly to Goldberg, who was brilliantly cast after Bette Midler abandoned the project -- spawned a 1992 performance by Goldberg and the "nuns" at a Democratic fundraiser for Bill Clinton, and Sister Act: The Musical, a stage adaptation of the film, premiered at the Pasadena playhouse in 2006. A sequel, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, followed in 1993.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.