A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie is centered around scamming someone for their money. But there are some lessons about attempting to stay true to yourself.
Positive Role Models
Charles is innocent and polite. But he can also be stubborn and refuses to listen to reason. Jean, her father, "Colonel," and their associate, Gerald, are con artists who attempt to manipulate Charles to gain access to his family's fortunes. As part of the scam, Jean seduces Charles. Despite the setup, there are some moments of tenderness between them, although Charles behaves unreasonably when he learns of Jean's "promiscuity."
No ethnic diversity among the main cast. One short scene at the beginning of the movie features an indigenous Amazonian tribe. Other nationalities also portrayed in minor roles. An equal gender balance between the two main roles with women proving just as capable as men. Some old-fashioned views of how women should behave are depicted.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
Character tripped, caused to fall. Reference to a brawl. Minor altercations.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Flirting. Kissing. Reference to promiscuity.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
"Balderdash" and "numbskull."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Characters seduce, scam, and con people for money. Characters gamble while playing cards. Characters are celebrated and held with great respect because of their wealth. Several enjoy lavish meals and travel in luxury.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters smoke cigarettes, cigars, and tobacco pipes. They also drink alcohol socially and in moderation.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Lady Eve is a classic 1940s black and white comedy that revolves around con woman Jean (Barbara Stanwyck) and her pursuit of wealthy but naive heir Charles Pike (Henry Fonda). Although light in its tone, the movie doesn't carry many positive messages, because the plot revolves around deception and greed. Jean initially seduces Charles with bad intentions, only for things to be complicated further later on. Charles is more virtuous and sympathetic, but still stubborn and difficult to reason with, as those around him find when they try to warn him of Jean's possible deceptions. There are minor scuffles and slapstick violence but nothing serious. Jean flirts and seduces Charles, but again there is nothing graphic depicted. Because of the world in which the story takes place, there are multiple incidents of lavish consumption and also spending: Charles loses a very large amount of money playing cards, for example, but isn't fazed by it. Characters also place value on people based on their wealth rather than their actions and morals. Reflecting the era, there is frequent smoking at social gatherings, while adults also consume alcohol in moderation. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Very much of its time, this classic screwball comedy bears all the hallmarks of writer-director Preston Sturges' most famous works. With its snappy dialogue, frantic pace, and characters that appear oblivious to the absurdity of their situation, it's easy to see why The Lady Eve is fondly remembered by fans of the genre. How much modern audiences will buy into some of its more far-fetched plot twists and goofy turns is open to question, while the way the central relationship plays out will raise an eyebrow by today's standards. However, there remains an innocence and sense of playfulness throughout.
Golden Era heavyweight Stanwyck brings Jean's conniving plans to life with a flourish, while Fonda commits to making Charles a (literally) loveable stooge. The smoky blacks and greys of its 1940s print are another enjoyable reminder of how movies used to look and feel.
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.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
Best Classic Comedy Films
Goofy Comedy Movies to Watch with Tweens and Teens
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