The Count of Monte Cristo

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

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 14 reviews

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.

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

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 12 and 13-year-old Written byBoyandgirlmom January 26, 2018

Awesome movie!

So my son who is 13 tried to read this book for fun on my recommendation because I remembered it as a really great story. He got too bogged down in the wordine... Continue reading
Adult Written bymovie_mad_dad April 9, 2008

Great family adventure

My whole mission as the resident movie dad in our household is to find movies that everyone, from 8 year olds to teens to the grownups, can and will happily wat... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bychar12345 December 23, 2020

Amazing Book!

I've never watched the movie, so I can't say if it's good or bad, but I loved the book! It was very interesting and exciting, and there were a fe... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byuser123321user June 29, 2020

Great adventure movie about revenge and justice

A great movie that talks about revenge and justice. A good action scene with good performance. However, there are 2 sex scenes and some violence such as stabbin...

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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

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

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate