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Parents' Guide to

The Greatest Show on Earth

By Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Sprawling circus tale is a visual feast with heavy themes.

Movie NR 1952 152 minutes
The Greatest Show on Earth Poster Image

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This rare combination of directorial dazzle and P.T. Barnum's involvement (there's even a parade featuring decades-old Disney characters) make for a unique look at life under the big top. THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH offers lavish costumes, dangerous high-wire acts, cutthroat competition, and petty rivalries to tell the story of an epic production kids today are likely to see once a year or even once a lifetime. That is in part because of changing attitudes toward circuses and the animals they've long mistreated -- and for good reason. This film is fairly innocuous, but there are some heavy themes here -- wanted murderers, unrequited love, damaged people trying to make art under tenuous circumstances at best -- that are likely too heavy for younger kids. But for kids old enough, and with long-enough attention spans (152 minutes!), this is a visual spectacle from a bygone era.

Movie Details

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