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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Men play God to satisfy an unsavory whim.
Positive Role Models
People are protrayed as menacing and cruel, the creature is slow-witted but emotional and the Dr. is just as nefarious as ever. Not much to look up to here.
Violence & Scariness
Frankenstein's gentle when treated kindly, but when provoked the monster maims, even kills. And he's provoked often.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A blind man gives the monster a taste for drinking and smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this film has some frightening moments; just the concept of men playing God may frighten some children. A persecuted monster inspires pity. The very young may find the monsters, crypts, and a laboratory crackling with electricity unnerving. Grave robbing, murder, tinkering with nature are the film's main themes. This film might scare grade-school kids out of their jammies, but that's why they'll want to watch it. But it's best for older kids and preteens, who will probably get fewer scares and more laughs out of it than younger kids will. Still, parents may want to remain close by. There's enough suspense, pathos, and intentional humor here to make this great fun for everybody. Seeing Frankenstein and Pretorius at work in the laboratory might spur children to invent something of their own. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Stylish direction, a well-paced script, and a story that doesn't take itself too seriously make this classic as enjoyable now as it was in 1935. James Whale directed his last horror movie, with wit, style, and a grand sense of graveyard humor that elevates it high above most of the other Universal monster pictures of the era. Karloff makes the monster a pitiable creature, one children and adults will have no trouble empathizing with.
Yet, the movie's most touching scene, in which a blind hermit befriends him, is almost as funny as Mel Brooks' parody of it in Young Frankenstein. The stormy laboratory scene in which the bride creature (played by Elsa Lanchester) comes to life is thrilling. Even though she lives for but a few brief minutes of screen time, her electrified hairdo, staring eyes, and mechanical jerks won her an honored and well-deserved place in Hollywood's classic monster showcase. For all but the most timid viewers, there's much more to enjoy here than there is to be frightened of.
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.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate