The Ghost and Mrs. Muir



Charming family classic is also thought-provoking.
  • Review Date: September 18, 2005
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1947
  • Running Time: 104 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Captain Gregg has a good many words to say about the inferiority of women. A married man aggressively woos a vulnerable widow.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Captain Gregg has a good many words to say about the inferiority of women. Also, a married man aggressively woos a vulnerable widow.

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What's the story?

After her husband dies, Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney) heads for the English coast with her daughter (Natalie Wood) to rent a cottage overlooking the ocean. A surly sea captain (Rex Harrison) haunts the place, but once Lucy and the ghost get to know each other, Lucy's initial fear subsides and the two settle into a comfortable friendship. Captain Gregg remains a secret to all in the house but Lucy. Rather than have her leave when her inheritance runs out, the ghost comes forward with a proposition: he'll narrate, and she'll write the story of his seafaring life. The book's success allows her to buy the house, but what about these feelings she's developed for Gregg? Is it ridiculous -- is it even possible -- to love a ghost?

Is it any good?


This classic 1947 romance will charm both adults and children with its notion that spirits, when properly understood, can be helpful, kind, and even lovable. The dead and rather salty sea captain uses typical scare tactics to rid his house of strangers, but only until he finds a tenant that suits him. Lucy finds living with a ghost more quaint than frightening. It's the evolution of this peculiar friendship that makes the movie so endearing, and something that even a skittish youngster can enjoy without suffering from eventual nightmares.


Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz steeps the story in atmosphere with the assistance of two Hollywood greats, cinematographer Charles Lang and Hitchcock composer Bernard Herrmann (Vertigo). Darkly romantic, with somber, thought-provoking moments, the movie is a far cry from the TV comedy series it inspired 20 years later.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes a movie a classic. Are all old films classics? Why do you think this film is considered classic? Can you think of other classic films? What makes them stand the test of time? Can you think of recent films that you think will someday be considered classics?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 26, 1947
DVD release date:April 1, 2003
Cast:Gene Tierney, Natalie Wood, Rex Harrison
Director:Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Run time:104 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

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  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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