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The Godfather

Movie review by
Elliot Panek, Common Sense Media
The Godfather Movie Poster Image
The classic tale of a Mafia family, violence and all.
  • R
  • 1972
  • 175 minutes
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 36 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 133 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Disobeying the law and murdering enemies is a necessary evil. All authority is corrupt.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Not too many characters you would want your kid emulating...


Numerous graphic murders, domestic fights, beatings.


Brief nudity (breasts), brief sex scene (fully clothed).


A few curses, numerous racial slurs.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Extensive use of alcohol and tobacco.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie contains graphic violence. There are machine gun killings, brutal beatings, betrayals, blood. The murders are not unnecessarily gory or lengthy, but their startling abruptness and the expressions of horror on the victims' faces make these images unforgettable. The violence always has gravity. There is brief nudity and sex, and a few curse words. Children too young to see the violence in this film wouldn't be able to appreciate the intricacies of the plot and so would have no interest in the movie.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byHekateIsis April 24, 2009
This is a great mafia movie. Filled with action, and makes you want to see part two. I believe that only 17 and up should see this because of the violence in it...
Adult Written byDhili B. June 27, 2016

Bloody Family Drama . . . about Family

It's bloody and gory and fruesome and disturbing and haunting. The acting often raw (Connie) and shiver-inducing. Many scenes are heavily written, ao to ge... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byoctober1985 July 8, 2009
It's a mafia movie that is fairly violent. There is also a topless scene. Very little profanity. There are also mature themes but anyone over 12 should han... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byshots April 9, 2008

good stuff

10+ up should watch

What's the story?

The film follows the Corleone family and their rapidly multiplying troubles. Don Corleone (Marlon Brando) is on his way out, and the most promising potential heir is his handsome, war-hero son, Michael (Al Pacino). As family members cope with the trials of gangster life, the latent power structures of society and family become evident.

Is it any good?

Epic in scope while maintaining a patience and intimacy characteristic of European art cinema, THE GODFATHER is rightly considered one of the greatest films ever made. The Godfather continues to influence producers of films, television shows, and video games more than 30 years after its release. Nino Rota's score, the sumptuous set design, and Brando's raspy pseudo-whisper have become part of our collective cultural memory.

The film possesses an operatic quality, yet it's more understated than it is flamboyant. It takes its subjects seriously, bestowing legitimacy upon the internecine power struggles of the Mafia normally reserved for classical themes in high art. The film's release initiated a period when American filmmakers dared to take themselves and their artistic ambitions seriously (perhaps too seriously). There is something deeply resonant in the film's treatment of filial piety, the need for respect, and our culture's abiding interest in the parallel moral universe of the Mafia.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether or not they feel the level of violence in the movie is necessary.

  • When, if ever, it is okay to operate outside of a corrupt legal system? Do the ends justify the means?

  • What might lead an individual, or a group, to systematically disobey the law?

  • What makes this movie a classic?

Movie details

For kids who love drama

Our editors recommend

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