Sleepless in Seattle Movie Poster Image

Sleepless in Seattle

A fairy tale that even teens can enjoy.
Parents recommend
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1993
  • Running Time: 100 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

A bit of innuendo.

Not applicable

A couple of sexual references.


Mild -- a few profane words.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that even teenagers used to edgier fare will fall for this romantic fairytale. Still, parents should know that the main characters are a widower and his young son; the mother's death echoes throughout the movie. There is some mild sexual content and profanity, as well.

What's the story?

In SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, young Jonah wants his widowed dad, Sam (Tom Hanks), to find a new wife. When Jonah calls up a radio talk show and starts talking to the host about how lonely his dad is, Sam eventually gets on the line and pours his heart out. Across the country, Annie (Meg Ryan) hears Sam and eventually comes to believe they're destined for each other, even though she's engaged to nice-but-dull Walter (Bill Pullman). Sam becomes a sensation after the radio show, and multitudes of women send him love letters. With some parallels to the classic 1957 romance An Affair to Remember, this sweet romance follows Annie as she heads to Seattle to meet the man of her dreams.

Is it any good?


Sleepless in Seattle is a throwback to the great romantic comedies of the '30s and '40s. Well written if a tad implausible, it's a fairytale that encourages viewers to believe that true love and destiny will conquer all obstacles. The movie's structure is a little frustrating; the two main characters spend almost the entire film apart. In less skilled hands, their separate stories could have fallen flat, but first-time director Nora Ephron manages to pull it off.

Great casting helps. Tom Hanks has never been more appealing and vulnerable, and Meg Ryan is the embodiment of impetuous romance. Rosie O'Donnell and Rob Reiner inject some tart humor as their sidekicks, making sure the story never becomes overly sentimental. There aren't many movies that parents can watch with older kids; this is one of the rare exceptions. Adults will enjoy the star-crossed romance, and kids will respond to Jonah's predicament. They'll also like the interactions between Jonah and his friend Jessica, a wise and very sarcastic little girl.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how Jessica and Jonah mean well, but hide the truth from their parents when conspiring to get Jonah to New Your City in their attempt to get Annie and Sam together. Was what they did right? How could they have handled this and still been truthful with their parents? Families can also compare this movie to An Affair to Remember.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 15, 1993
DVD/Streaming release date:June 26, 1997
Cast:Meg Ryan, Rita Wilson, Tom Hanks
Director:Nora Ephron
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Run time:100 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:language

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Adult Written byThew April 9, 2008

Very charming movie with Relationship themes

The characters are all very charming in a way that only movies can created them. Kids watching this movie should be ready to hear about having sex with a condom (in passing) and the acknowledgment that sex is a goal of dating and marriage. My kids were shocked that the boy was home alone with a girl in his room with the door closed. Sweet movie, but kids should be mature enough to hear discussions of sex and relationships.
Parent of a 13 year old Written byTsion January 11, 2009

A Funny and Light-Hearted Comedy for the Family...

SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE is a light-hearted comedy for the family, not surprisingly trans-generational and exceptionally family-friendly. In fact, this is one of the best comedies you can watch with your kids, and it's a chick flick that will appeal to guys too. There are two curse words "d**n" and "s**t". There are also a couple of innuendos as well (Orgasms and condoms are briefly and nongraphically mentioned, and brief reference is made to "getting laid".) That's all I can think of that's objectionable in the film. The acting is great, and kids will appreciate the humor as much as adults. This is a sweet family movie that anyone can enjoy.
Parent of a 7, 10, and 12 year old Written bySuzanneHamp February 9, 2011

Sweet Romance, but Be Advised!

Meg Ryan and her boyfriend are shown to be Cohabitating. Implies that sex and living together before marriage is A-okay. Another draw back for child viewers and major talking point for teens. This in addition to Tom's reference to "getting laid" and brief bragging about how many women he's slept with.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing