Parents' Guide to

The Great Race

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

Perfect family movie is fun from beginning to end.

Movie NR 1965 160 minutes
The Great Race Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 13+

Not As Clean As You Think

I liked this movie well enough. It reminded me faintly of Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (another race movie that came out the same year). The cast is excellent with Tony Curtis as the good guy who always wears white, Jack Lemmon as the bad guy who always wears black, and Natalie Wood as the romantic interest/sex appeal. Parts of this film are humorous. Some of the action scenes and stunts are fun to watch and the overall tone of the film is light-hearted and amusing. My problem with this film is that it simply contains too much questionable content for the 6+ rating that Common Sense Media has given it. Natalie Wood and other women frequently are clad in very little. In one scene, Natalie Wood emerges dripping wet from a lake dressed only in a corset which leaves very, very little to the imagination. Sexual comments are veiled, but occur fairly frequently. The violence is not so much of an issue as it is mostly comical with the exception of one slightly bloody sword-fight. All those scantily-clad females are my biggest problem with this film. I really don't want my male siblings exposed to women dressed that way. I can watch the film with them and skip some parts, but it's not a film I can just stick on for them and then leave the room. Also, I think I should mention that it can be a pretty tedious film at times with parts of it being quite repetitive and/or boring. SUMMARY: Poorly paced film has some amusing parts and some good stunts, but may be too racy for family viewing.
age 5+

Hit the Button Max!!!

I think this is one the whole family can enjoy. There is very mild violence in the form of sword fights and fist fights but nothing truly scary. There is also some kissing but very G-rated. Mainly there is a lot of action that keeps the story moving and humour for young and old alike. The villain is funny, not scary and the girl isn't content to be rescued but she will use it as a ploy. Recommend for all ages.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (2 ):

It's a perfect family movie, just plain fun from beginning to end; it may also provide an opportunity for a discussion of competition and sportsmanship. Dedicated to Laurel and Hardy, The Great Race is both a spoof and a loving tribute to the silent classics, with good guys, bad guys, romance, adventure, slapstick, music, wonderful antique cars, and the biggest pie fight in history.

At the end, Leslie deliberately loses as a gesture of devotion to Maggie. Professor Fate shows some sense of honor -- apparently it is all right for him to cheat to win, but not all right to win by having Leslie refuse to compete. "You cheated -- I refuse to accept!" Modern adults may wince a bit at Dubois' notion of how to attain equal opportunity -- she ultimately succeeds by showing her leg to the editor, who becomes too dazed to argue further. But like Mary Poppins, it provides a chance to remind children that at that time, women did not even have the right to vote.

Movie Details

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.

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