Spaceballs Movie Poster Image




Goofy parody mocks the Star Wars series.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Review Date: October 16, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1987
  • Running Time: 96 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The movie is always irreverent and often crude, but the core story has the good guys triumphing, love conquering all, and friendship persevering.

Positive role models

The good guys do the right thing in the end, and some characters change for the better (particularly Lone Starr and Princess Vespa). That said, there's some ethnic humor relating to Jewish and African-American stereotypes, and Vespa isn't particularly independent woman. Dark Helmet is also whiny and petulant.


Some cartoonish combat/violence. Princess Vespa shoots a group of enemy soldiers with a ray gun. Dark Helmet uses "The Schwartz" to inflict pain on a man's genitalia; he and Lone Starr have a battle with their respective Schwartzes.


Not too much is shown, but there's plenty of innuendo. Lots of groin-related jokes, the most explicit when Dark Helmet and Lone Starr activate their Schwartzes while cupping privates. President Skroob is shown in bed with a pair of twins. Much is made of preserving Princess Vespa's virginity.


A fair bit of strong language, with "s--t" being the most frequent. "F--k" is uttered once by Dark Helmet.


The movie mocks excessive movie commercialism. Lone Starr pilots a Winnebago, and Princess Vespa's ship is a Mercedes.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

References to smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this spoofy comedy is up to its Dark Helmet in off-color jokes, sexual innuendo, and potty humor. When you're not giggling, you might cringe at the kind of humor it inspires in your tweens ... but, then again, they've probably seen a lot iffier stuff than this.

What's the story?

When spoiled Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga) is kidnapped by President Srkoob's (Mel Brooks) evil regime, it's up to scruffy hero Lone Starr (Bill Pullman) and his faithful companion Barf (John Candy) to rescue her.

Is it any good?


Brooks's Star Wars parody isn't particularly sophisticated, but older kids and teens should have fun with the goofy humor. Like most Brooks fare, SPACEBALLS revels in crude, sometimes infantile gags. For example: When the Darth Vader-inspired character, Dark Helmet, first appears, he approaches the camera, breathing heavily through his face-obscuring mask. Suddenly he flips up the front of the mask to reveal a nerdy-looking Rick Moranis, who exclaims, "I can't breathe in this thing!"

One of the great virtues of Brooks' masterwork, Young Frankenstein, was its beautiful re-creation of the look of the horror films of the 1930s, which added punch to all the ensuing silliness. Here, you don't really get the impression of watching a Star Wars movie gone mad: Many of the cheap-ish looking sets wouldn't look out of place on an episode of Saturday Night Live. Nevertheless, there are moments when the movie shines. Excessive merchandising is taken to task in a very funny scene in which Yogurt (Brooks again) hawks everything from Spaceballs the toilet paper to Spaceballs the flame thrower ("the kids love this one!"). And the movie's most memorable gag pays tribute to both the Alien series and the classic Chuck Jones cartoon "One Froggy Evening." Another good bit manages to work in a re-creation of the famous conclusion of Planet of the Apes.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about other film or TV parodies they enjoy. For example, The Simpsons is one of the best examples of parody used as social commentary; what can funny imitations point out that serious analysis may render too boring?

  • Which movies is Spaceballs specifically making fun of? How can you tell?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 26, 1987
DVD release date:May 3, 2005
Cast:Bill Pullman, John Candy, Rick Moranis
Director:Mel Brooks
Topics:Adventures, Misfits and underdogs, Space and aliens
Run time:96 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:raunchy humor and comic violence

This review of Spaceballs 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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Great handpicked alternatives

  • Rapid-fire spoof with sexual jokes and cartoon violence.
  • Brooks' corniness still yields plenty of belly laughs.
  • Kids may not get all of Brooks' classic Old West parody.

What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 8 and 11 year old Written bymusicmama June 29, 2009
Parents should note that the PG rating is circa 1987 standards. I was surprised when I heard the word a**hole multiple times within the first 10 minutes of the movie. Parents should know that because of the innuendo and language (this IS Mel Brooks, after all...) that the movie is certainly not for younger fans wanting to see a spoof of the Star Wars series. I would recommend DVRing the edited version on Comedy Central as opposed to letting pre-teen kids watch the original on DVD.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent Written byPickierMom November 25, 2012

Spaceballs, Not.

I bought this off iTunes for my almost 9 year old; it is rated PG. He loved the goofy humor and satire and would gladly watch again. However, I was really disappointed by the gratuitous swearing; h-word, b-word, s-word, f-word, etc. In addition there was a fair amount of outdated sexist behavior and innuendo; "she must give great helmet", Mel Brooks writhing under the sheets between two blond bimbos, etc. This added nothing to the story line and by the time a kid is old enough to watch a movie with this content, they won't want to watch it. What a bummer.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent Written byHardrock28 February 5, 2013

Common Sense Review is Way Off! Read below for accurate review.

I have used this site many times when evaluating movies for our kids. I am a movie buff and generally know what any given movie contains. In the case of Spaceballs I remembered some innuendos and mild language...and in particular one major F bomb. So I assumed the movie was rated PG-13 at least but was shocked to see it is actually rated PG. I thought perhaps my memory of the movie was off so I consulted the site. Let me tell you the rating for Spaceballs couldn't be more off. This movie is at least a PG-13 if not an R. Within the first 10 minutes there were multiple uses of the S word, dozens of A-H's, several sexual innuendos and other perverse things that while very funny are clearly not for kids. The movies drops an F bomb near the end. Frankly I thought any movie with an F bomb in it automatically gets a PG-13 minimum. So parents know that this should not be shown to anyone under about 15 or 16 minimum in my opinion.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing


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