The Muppet Movie

 
(i)

 

First Muppet movie is full of wonderful songs, plus guns.
  • Review Date: March 6, 2006
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1979
  • Running Time: 94 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Intended to entertain, not educate, but kids might pick up a bit about Hollywood and the American movie industry.

Positive messages

Following your dreams and getting by with a little help from your friends are the two big take-aways. And Kermit insists it's better to face a bully than run away.

Positive role models

Kermit is, as always, the slightly self-doubting Everyman frog who gets things done and surrounds himself with loyal friends. Miss Piggy may be flighty, but she's also a strong and heroic female character.

Violence & scariness

Plenty of slapstick, including Miss Piggy's famous martial-arts skills. Kermit is also chased across the country by men with guns, and one particularly menacing-looking frog assassin, and his brains are almost scrambled by electricity so that he can be controlled by the owner of a frog legs restaurant (there's lots of frog leg imagery, too, that makes Kermit sick to his stomach). Miss Piggy is kidnapped, and Kermit and Miss Piggy are tied up and held at gunpoint. Shots are fired at Fozzie on stage, one car lands on top of another; Kermit is twirled around a ceiling fan and falls off; one Muppet really likes dynamite; and a giant Animal Muppet frightens away the bad guys.

Sexy stuff

Miss Piggy and Kermit hug and kiss. In a Miss Piggy dream sequence, she and Kermit frolic in the park; you see Miss Piggy on top, then Kermit. Animal shouts, "Woman, woman!"

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Schwinn bicycles get a punny mention, and there's a Studebaker car and Variety magazine.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters in bars and the Hollywood agent smoke cigars. Kermit and Miss Piggy drink wine with straws and a woman asks Kermit to buy her a drink. Ralph the Dog sings about having a couple of beers before bed.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this Muppet movie is a pretty likeable road trip romp with singable songs, but with some guns and slapstick violence. Throughout the movie Kermit is being pursued by men with guns and a couple shots are fired. Miss Piggy and Kermit are captured, Kermit almost gets his "brains scrambled" in a crazy electrical machine, and there's a final stand-off with guns drawn. But the Muppets always get away from the bad guys in a fun way (thanks to Miss Piggy's karate chops). There's some drinking -- Miss Piggy and Kermit drink wine with straws -- and minor characters smoke cigars.

What's the story?

In a classic opening, Kermit the Frog is in the swamp singing "The Rainbow Connection" wistfully to himself when he's overheard by a passing showbiz agent (Dom DeLuise), who compliments the amphibian on his talents. Fired up by the thought of performing in Hollywood, Kermit hits the road on a bicycle, heading westward and gathering along the way a menagerie of equally-ambitious Muppet animals. There's the painfully-unfunny standup comic Fozzie Bear, the unclassifiable Great Gonzo, the rock band Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, and the feisty, narcissistic diva Miss Piggy, who immediately becomes infatuated with the go-getter frog. But upon seeing charismatic Kermit, Doc Hopper (Charles Durning) decides he's the perfect spokes-frog for his chain of frog-leg restaurants. The bad guy's cross-country pursuit sidetracks the Muppets, but eventually they arrive in Hollywood and get signed to the standard "rich and famous" contract.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Jim Henson's debut Muppet film was a technological breakthrough because it was the first time his beloved Muppet Show characters were shown in full, from head to toe. In one of the most impressive scenes, Kermit pedals a bicycle. The beauty of the movie is that the relatively low-tech magic, innocence, and sweetness of Jim Henson's characters still hold up. It's wondrous how alive and likeable a piece of felt like Kermit can be with just a smirk or tilt of his fabric head.

Grownups and kids will have no trouble accepting the Muppets' interactions with humans or each other, even if the Kermit-crazed villain seems a weak afterthought. If anything's gone stale it's the jokes and puns, seemingly pitched at the younger scale of the Muppets' global fandom. Still, adults will have more than one occasion to smile, especially at the parade of celebrity appearances, including Steve Martin, Richard Pryor, Orson Welles, and Mel Brooks.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the Muppets. This film was made in 1979. Why do you think it endures? What gives it all-ages appeal?

  • Parents can talk about all the cameos, from Orson Welles to Richard Pryor, and talk to kids about what makes the actors and comedians so influential.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 31, 1979
DVD release date:June 5, 2001
Cast:Frank Oz, Jim Henson, Milton Berle
Director:James Frawley
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Adventures, Friendship, Music and sing-along, Puppets
Run time:94 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of The Muppet Movie was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written bySarah Grace August 17, 2010
 

Fun movie

This is a fun movie to watch, although it portrays Hollywood as being a decent place. There are a few references to Hare Krishna, which are either there for historical hippie-era purposes or they're subliminal messages.(?)
What other families should know
Educational value
Adult Written byMomInMaine April 23, 2011
 

Not good for age 5.

I love this movie, but unfortunately I think the violence makes it appropriate for children older than just 5. The idea that people are eating frog legs can be scary (let alone disturbing) for Kermit-lovers. My daughter asked "are they going to cut his legs off". Also, the sharp-shooter that is hired to kill Kermit and the scene with 8-10 men with guns aimed at him were pretty violent, I thought. On another note, the whole "movie about a movie" plot is a little complex for this young age group too.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 4 and 7 year old Written byCourtneydes March 29, 2011
 

Not so great for little guys afterall

I chose this movie for a movie night with my almost 5 and 7 year old girls because I remembered it being a sweet movie and the girls already knew the songs. While the basic plot is fine, after the opening scene of Kermit singing he winds up in a saloon (where he meets Fozzie) but in the saloon there are gun shots and shouts and general roughness to the point that my kids asked to turn it off. They also did not understand the frogs legs restaurant even after I explained it to them they asked "so why would anyone want Kermit's legs?" As an adult or older kid who has seen more movies it is fine, but if your set is easily scared and used to the Barbie movies, Mary Poppins, Madagascar, this was quite a jump with the realistic scenes. I think we will wait a few more years.
What other families should know
Too much violence

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