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The Count of Monte Cristo

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
The Count of Monte Cristo Movie Poster Image
Enjoyable swashbuckler for kids who can handle the action.
  • PG-13
  • 2002
  • 131 minutes
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 9 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

As Edmund Dantes seeks to exact revenge upon the three men who have destroyed a great part of his life, he slowly regains his faith and finds redemption. He learns the value of gratefulness and true justice. At the same time, the audience will cheer when the villains get what's coming to them.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The hero begins as a trusting, good-hearted innocent, becomes vengeful and unforgiving, and finally, matures into a brave, inspiring, and wise man. He learns that perseverance, courage, and compassion triumph over anger and self-pity. In most instances, public officials and the aristocracy are portrayed as corrupt and selfish.


Lots of sword fighting, other bloody battles (knife, fists, guns), narrow escapes, and violent death. Characters are killed by: gunshot at close range, drowning, impalement, suicide, a tunnel collapse, and a stabbing. Less fatal activities include kidnapping, lashing with a whip, being thrown from a cliff, an attempted hanging, and lots of gunfire.


Sexual activity is limited to kissing and embracing. The lovers are seen in each other's arms after implied sex, shoulders bare. The film's chief villain is known to be an unrepentant, serial philanderer. A baby is conceived out-of-wedlock.


Minimal swearing: "damn," "bastard," and "whore.”"

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Wine and alcohol are served at dinner and on other social occasions. The chief villain is a heavy drinker who gets drunk in a number of scenes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this classic story of revenge and romance is filled with swashbuckling, sometimes bloody, violence, ruthless characters, and grand heroics. The many action sequences include: sword fighting to the death; knife fights; shooting with muskets, handguns, and rifles; brutal whippings, a suicide by gunshot, an attempted hanging, kidnapping, and drowning. Several deaths take place on screen. There are a few curse words: "damn," "bastard," "whore." Two lovers kiss, embrace passionately, and are seen twice, partially clothed, lying in each other’s arms after having implied sex. Reference is made to adultery and an out-of-wedlock birth. Several scenes show the consumption of alcohol at social events and in private; one leading character frequently drinks heavily and appears drunk.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10 year old Written bygeorges113 August 30, 2009

12-13 years old and up.. WATCH IT !!!

One of the best movies i've ever watched i recommend it in order to enjoy the movie and understand it for teens 12-13 years old and up... smaller teens mig... Continue reading
Adult Written bysilverhearteddragon June 17, 2010
Amazing movie, but be sure to explain the whole revenge thing to your kids. In this film it's portrayed as something you should do, and kids could get in t... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byILuvCats November 4, 2011

Awesome movie!

This is one of my very favorite movies! Its very unique. Some people might get mad and not like the movie because its not very true to the book. I've read... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byTripleR August 13, 2011

My Favorite Movie!!!

The Count of Monte Cristo is a story about a young sailor, Edmund, who's best friend, Fernand, turns against him and betrays him out of jealousy. Fernand h... Continue reading

What's the story?

In this adaptation of Alexandre Dumas' novel, James Caviezel plays Edmund Dantes, an honest sailor who has a devoted girlfriend named Mercedes (Dagmara Dominczyk) and a lifelong friend, Fernand. When he is promoted to captain and can afford to marry Mercedes, he thinks all of his dreams have come true. But Fernand, overcome with jealousy, betrays Edmund, and Villefort (James Frain), a corrupt magistrate, sentences him to life imprisonment. His friends and family are told that he has been executed. After years of brutal abuse, Edmund meets another prisoner (Richard Harris), who teaches him to read and swordfight. They plan an escape, but his friend dies, and Edmund escapes alone, with a map showing the location of a treasure on the island of Monte Cristo. He meets up with pirates and ultimately finds the treasure, enabling him to return in a new persona, the Count of Monte Cristo, where he will prove that "revenge is a dish that is best eaten cold."

Is it any good?

Two things that almost always capture our attention in movies are watching someone learning something and watching someone getting revenge; both are here in gratifying abundance. And once again, in this 15th filmed version of the Alexandre Dumas novel, this most resilient of stories has been made into another thoroughly enjoyable movie.

The script falters, with some clunky dialogue and a Hollywood-ized ending that Dumas fans will find overly convenient. But the performances (especially Pearce, descending from pettiness to decadence and complete corruption), the swordplay, the splendor, and the story, featuring what is probably literature's all-time best revenge fantasy are old-time-movie satisfying and lots of fun.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the amount of violence in this movie. Did it include the right amount to be a proper swashbuckler, or did it go overboard? How do you feel after watching action-oriented violence?

  • Are you familiar with the book that inspired this movie? Do you know of any other stories that were inspired by it?

Movie details

For kids who love action

Our editors recommend

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