Father and child sit together smiling while looking at a smart phone.

Want more recommendations for your family?

Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration

Parents' Guide to

The Jazz Singer

By Erika Milvy, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

First talkie may lead to good discussion on race.

Movie NR 1927 88 minutes
The Jazz Singer Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 1 parent review

age 8+

Perfect For Every One But Not Babies And Preschoolers

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (2 ):

THE JAZZ SINGER is certainly a creaky old celluloid antique by today's cinematic expectations. While it's acknowledged as the first talking picture, there's actually only two minutes' worth of (imperfectly) synchronized talking and a handful of songs, sung by Jolson and others. The bulk of the dialog is conveyed through silent film caption cards. In this much alone, the black-and-white film holds a great deal of value as cinematic history; it virtually reveals the "strings" working the mechanism of movies. It's also a compelling artifact from the dawn of modern America, when immigrants (here, Jews) were balancing assimilation with their traditional heritage. This personal struggle between the old world and the new is further shown in the inception of jazz music itself. Jolson's music -- old timey though it will seem to our kids -- was, in its day, daring, exciting, and even sexy.

Certainly modern audiences will be somewhat preoccupied by the film's overly theatrical performances, which are highly stylized and stereotypical and can be, unintentionally, quite comical. The narrative, likewise, is very simple, and the production is obviously rudimentary and crudely rendered. But those who can look past these limitations will see that the questions of personal identity, ambition, family, and faith are still relevant. Moreover, the music offers an unfiltered look at an early stage in the evolution to rock and roll and beyond.

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