The Blue Lagoon

Movie review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
The Blue Lagoon Movie Poster Image
Lots and lots of nudity, bad acting in '80s survival tale.
  • R
  • 1980
  • 104 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

This movie is meant to entertain and titillate and doesn't try to offer positive or negative messages.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Richard and Emmeline, who start out as young children and are teens by the end of the film, learn to survive on a deserted island. They model self-sufficiency as they provide food and shelter for themselves and a certain amount of cleverness in making their shelter more comfortable and even making tools, weapons, toys, and jewelry. They also model learning how to get along with someone and sustaining a relationship over a long period of time. We see them successfully have and raise a child with no guidance and in near-total ignorance. Paddy is gruff but affectionate and teaches them many survival skills. Richard's father never gives up searching for them.


Young Richard and Emmeline are briefly shown getting spanked, although not terribly harshly. They struggle against it (Emmeline bites the spanker) but aren't shown as seriously hurt.  A fire breaks out on the ship, and passengers and crew struggle with each other while attempting to escape. Richard slaps Emmeline in the face after she hits him on the head with a coconut. A human skull, a dead body, and a full skeleton are shown. There are several brief glimpses of blood and gore: The apparent remnants of a ritual are briefly seen as an indistinct but small, bloody mass; Richard witnesses a human sacrifice, and although the killing's not shown directly, blood is shown spurting onto the executioner's face; stones flow with blood; a lot of blood is briefly shown in water and some is on Emmeline's hands when she gets her first period; bloody hands are briefly shown from rope burn. Richard and Emmeline attempt suicide together by eating poison berries.


Most of the sexual content is from the nudity of children at all stages of development: infant, toddler, pre-pubescence, and post-pubescence. Both Richard and Emmeline are seen a few times fully from the front, and they're frequently seen swimming naked with Richard's penis clearly visible. A baby boy also swims naked, and his genitalia are fully seen. Emmeline's bare breasts are seen several times, but usually she's scantily clad. The children are shown going through the stages of puberty, noticing their changing feelings and emotions and growing physical attraction to each other. They don't act on those feelings until they're a bit older, but once they discover sex they're shown kissing a few times, and there are several extensive scenes of caressing, mostly innocuously on arms, backs, and the shoulder area, but Emmeline's breast is shown being caressed a couple of times. Actual sex is only hinted at as characters, for example, roll off-camera and are next seen asleep and entwined. More advanced sexual behavior is also hinted at once when Emmeline is nursing their baby, and it's implied that Richard suckles the other breast. We see Emmeline get her first period, have morning sickness, feel the baby move, give birth, and breastfeed. Richard is seen from behind masturbating, and Emmeline later mentions that she's seen everything he does.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Emmeline finds a keg and tastes a drop from the tap and refers to it as "funny stuff." Paddy is seen once behaving drunk, comically singing and dancing.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the main questionable content in The Blue Lagoon is nudity, and there's a lot of it. Both male and female bodies are seen, fully frontal once or twice, and quite a few times Richard's penis and Emmeline's breasts are clearly visible. An argument can be made, and at the time the movie was released it certainly was, that filming and showing children in the nude (at all stages of development) is inherently wrong, and those who feel that way should steer clear. If nudity is not an issue, the movie is otherwise fairly tame. There are a few extensive scenes of caressing and some kissing as the protagonists are observed following nature's course without any kind of guidance and almost entirely ignorant about human development. There are a few startling images of blood, a moderate spanking, and a human-sacrifice ritual that doesn't show the actual killing but does show a spurt of blood.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byA unaffected teen December 17, 2018

Wasn’t that bad

The movie did have a few nude and sex scenes, but it didn’t show anything. It is good for 16+ kids. The movie shows what happens when you leave a teenage boy an... Continue reading
Adult Written byGeorge M. May 7, 2018

Good film.

Parents will be put off by the nudity but it natural nudity and really only seen when they're swimming. The nudity isn't really sexualised and if they... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byMaciMae March 25, 2018

This movie though.....

Ohmygosh it's so awful. I watched it with my friends and there's SO MUCH SEX. literally 90% of the movie shows them naked. It's now become a joke... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byolivegarden2020 April 15, 2021

What's the story?

Sailing to San Francisco in Victorian times, Richard (Christopher Atkins) and Emmeline (Brooke Shields) are stranded on a deserted island when their ship catches fire and sinks. Only 7 or 8 at the time, they learn to survive, and even thrive, in their tropical-island paradise. They're completely on their own, with very little education, and nature follows its course when their attachment and attraction grow along with their bodies. Years later, an attempt to revisit their first landing site puts them in the greatest danger they've ever faced when they're once again stranded on the open sea.

Is it any good?

THE BLUE LAGOON is about eye candy, plain and simple. The main draw is the natural beauty of both the surroundings and the protagonists, which is considerable. The story is interesting and suspense is maintained about their ultimate fate, and there's a nugget of a good idea for a theme in there about how two kids might develop entirely on their own. The underwater cinematography is gorgeous. But it's all severely undercut by director Randal Kleiser succumbing to the temptation of spending too much time on the physical attributes of his stars -- and by Brooke Shields' limited acting ability. Although physically alluring, she just isn't believable as a sexually mature young woman. The whole production walks a thin line between a so-so adventure story and gratuitous titillation.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about nudity in movies. When, if ever, is it OK to show nude people? Does it matter if the person is a child, a teen, or an adult? Does the nudity in this movie make it more entertaining, or is it a realistic depiction of how the two kids might have lived after a shipwreck?

  • How would you react to how you change during puberty if you didn't know anything about it? Would it seem scary or not really a big deal? Do Richard and Emmeline act realistically?

  • If you were thriving and happy on a deserted island, would you still want to get back home to civilization? Why, or why not?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love adventure

Themes & Topics

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