• Review Date: May 12, 2003
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1956
  • Running Time: 101 minutes

What parents need to know

Violence & scariness

Comic battles, jousting match, and swordfights.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie is fine for the entire family and has no objectionable content.

What's the story?

Hawkins (Danny Kaye) is a follower of the Black Fox, a Robin Hood- style rebel who hopes to put the royal heir on the throne in place of the usurper. Hawkins wants excitement, but is assigned to entertain the troops and care for the heir, a baby with the royal birthmark on his rear. He loves Jean (Glynis Johns), a smart, courageous, and tough Captain of the rebel forces. Hawkins disguises himself as Giacomo, the King's new jester, to get into the palace. He finds himself in the midst of intrigue, hypnotized into wooing the Princess (Angela Lansbury) and hired by Sir Ravenhurst (Basil Rathbone) to kill those who stand between him and the throne. Jean is captured by the King's soldiers, and Hawkins must battle a huge knight named Sir Griswold. Although he has trouble remembering that the pellet with the poison is in the pestle with the vessel, the good guys triumph, and "life could not better be."

Is it any good?


THE COURT JESTER is pure joy. This is Danny Kaye's best movie, and one of the funniest comedies ever, with a plot that is both exciting and hilarious. It's terrific family fun.

It is worth pointing out the scene in which Jean and Hawkins confess their love for one another. He asks shyly if she could love a man who was not a fighter, and she explains that tenderness and kindness are important to her. They are each proud of the other the way they are, almost revolutionary for a movie of that era.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how this movie is like The Adventures of Robin Hood and Ivanhoe. How is it different? Why did the soldiers cheat on Hawkins' tests for becoming a knight? Why did courts have jesters? Whose job is most like that today?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 27, 1956
DVD release date:March 30, 1999
Cast:Angela Lansbury, Danny Kaye, Glynis Johns
Director:Melvin Frank
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Run time:101 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

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Parent of a 9 year old Written byk125 July 28, 2013

One of Common Sense Media's really MISGUIDED reviews

This is a classic 1950s comedy, and for those who appreciate the subtle and broad humor of that genre, it works. But Common Sense Media's over-the-top glowing review is really misleading, and it's nuts to call it "terrific family fun" for kids as young as 6. Here's why: - The opening scene is a person being shot in the back with a bow and arrow. He falls off a horse and dies. This isn't a cartoon, mind you, and a "death scene" with real people isn't something I'd like my young kids to see. - The plot is really, really complicated for a young kid to follow. For my 6 and 9 year olds, I had to pause and explain what was happening because there's a lot of role switching and plot twists and it's tough to keep track of central plot points such as who's who, who's good or bad, etc. - Although there's no sex or bad language in the film, my kids did ask me what a witch meant when she *repeatedly* commanded a man to "make love to" a female character. That's not a phrase I'd like them to repeat elsewhere. - Is it really "one of the funniest comedies ever," as the review says? Well, my 79 year old mother chuckled a few times during the movie, but my boys didn't laugh at all until the last 5 minutes. This wasn't a horrible movie, but watching it with my kids just wasted our time and caused me to really question CSM's review criteria.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Kid, 12 years old May 20, 2014

Best Movie Ever

I loved this wit-filled comedy and found it to be incredibly enjoyable. I saw it a couple years ago and have seen it some times since. I only say seven as an age limit for any child younger may not understand it all.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 9 years old December 30, 2012


This movie is hilarious and one of the best I've ever seen. It has great quotes and is fine for everybody. The only reason that I wrote 7+ is that younger kids might not understand it.
What other families should know
Great messages


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