South Pacific Movie Poster Image

South Pacific



Classic Broadway musical with serious themes, great songs.
  • Review Date: April 1, 2009
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Musical
  • Release Year: 1958
  • Running Time: 157 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The movie reflects the culture of the 1940s armed services and the well-defined gender roles of the time: the women are nurses; the men are soldiers, pilots, etc. and clearly in charge. Racial prejudice and bigotry are shown to be negative behaviors, as well as unfounded and self-defeating.

Violence & scariness

World War II air battle: airplanes are fired upon by Japanese; man falls out of plane, pulls parachute, and lands safely in water; Japanese soldiers shoot at sailor in rubber raft, he paddles away. A main character is killed off camera by enemy fire; his body is then seen, but no injuries are apparent.

Sexy stuff

Several loving, passionate kisses.


Song lyric "ain't that too damn bad."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Pilot has unlit cigar in mouth. Characters use wine when making a toast. Cigarette smoking on a couple of occasions.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there's some warfare in this movie, set during WWII. Airplanes bomb Navy vessels, and an airplane is hit by enemy fire. There's a machine gun attack on an unarmed man in a rubber raft. Heroes are caught by gunfire behind enemy lines. However, these are not realistic, gruesome battles: there are no on-camera hits with the exception of a hole in an airplane, no blood, and no one is injured on camera. One leading character is killed (off-camera), but his body is shown without any wounds or blood.

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What's the story?

Troops of US Navy men and women are stationed on a beautiful island in the Pacific during World War II. Their assignment is to send scouts to watch for Japanese Imperial Fleet ships on the move and report activity. The island is a paradise, and the troops mingle happily with the native Polynesians, as well as some expatriates from France. Love is in the air, and while Nurse Nellie Forbush (Mitzi Gaynor) falls for French landowner Emile DeBecque (Rossano Brazzi), Lieutenant Cable (John Kerr) is smitten with the daughter of Bloody Mary, one of the island's most colorful characters. But the narrow-minded prejudice rampant in mid-20th century American life shows its face and threatens the flowering romances.

Is it any good?


Rodgers and Hammerstein's SOUTH PACIFIC is a lighthearted musical with serious themes playing under the rhythms of some of the most wonderful standards in the American Songbook. "Some Enchanted Evening," "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair," and "I'm in Love With a Wonderful Guy" are among them. In retrospect it seems that Director Joshua Logan made some clumsy and ham-handed choices when he designed the lighting and elicited performances that are "as corny as Kansas in August." It's not the best translation to film of the masterful composers' work, but the music alone makes it worth another trip to the island.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how musicals have evolved since 1958, when this movie was made. What are some of the filmmaking techniques that make today's musicals more realistic? And how have the morals and values shown in this film evolved?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 19, 1958
DVD release date:November 7, 2006
Cast:John Kerr, Mitzi Gaynor, Rossano Brazzi
Director:Joshua Logan
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Run time:157 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

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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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