The Muppets Take Manhattan

Movie review by
Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media
The Muppets Take Manhattan Movie Poster Image
'80s Muppet musical has some mild innuendo, smoking.
  • G
  • 1984
  • 95 minutes

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 6 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Meant to entertain rather than educate.

Positive Messages

The Muppets are shown paying their dues in Manhattan, facing rejection from producers at every turn while struggling to have money for room and board, but through perseverance, Kermit and the gang manage to get their musical performed on a Broadway stage. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kermit goes through struggles that all creatives face when moving to "the big city" to try and make it. He faces rejection and a shortage of money, but through determination and resourcefulness (and a little bit of luck), he manages to find a producer and theater so the Muppets can perform their musical on Broadway. 

Violence & Scariness

Kermit gets hit by a car and suffers amnesia. Miss Piggy is mugged in Central Park; her purse is stolen and she pursues the mugger until she manages to body-slam him to the ground. 

Sexy Stuff

Sexist construction workers ogle and catcall Miss Piggy, who stands up for herself by bending a steel rod out of rage and scaring the construction workers away. Janice is overheard saying "I will not take off my clothes, even if it's artistic." 

Language
Consumerism

References to the characters on related Jim Henson franchises Muppet Babies and Sesame Street.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cigarette smoking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Muppets Take Manhattan is a 1984 comedy in which Kermit and the gang move to New York to try to get their play on Broadway. Miss Piggy temporarily puts up with three construction workers ogling and catcalling her before she scares them off. In another scene, Miss Piggy is mugged in Central Park when her purse gets stolen; she pursues the mugger until stopping him with a body slam. In another scene, Janice is overheard saying "I will not take off my clothes, even if it's artistic." For anyone the least bit familiar with The Muppet Show, such humor shouldn't be shocking -- humor geared toward older audiences likely to go over the heads of younger viewers enthralled with the cartoonish cuteness of the Muppets themselves was a regular feature. There's some cigarette smoking. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byamosmum November 27, 2012

Not for little ones.

We watched The Muppets Take Manhattan based on the non-violent, non-scary rating, HOWEVER we hit pause and fast forward quite a bit during the film. The muppets... Continue reading
Adult Written bycordrayr April 9, 2008

Hidden issues parents should be aware of

Overall, not a bad movie for children. A lot of good messages are present, but I would not rate this movie as child-friendly as, for example, the Winnie the Poo... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old July 12, 2013

Muppets With New York Make Great Combination

Yet another movie from the original muppet film trilogy is a genuine great film for all ages. While the middle half of the movie kind of lags due to the lack of... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old May 18, 2016

How Could You Not Love it?

'The Muppets Take Manhattan' is a wonderful family film, one of my personal favourites. This is the one that only true Muppet fans have seen, but I b... Continue reading

What's the story?

In THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN, Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie, and Gonzo are all graduating from the same regional college together. Riding high on the success of their senior variety show "Manhattan Melodies," a confident Kermit decides they should take their production to Broadway. They arrive in New York, but an enthusiastic producer turns out to be a crook, and they decide to temporarily disband. When the son (Lonny Price) of a legitimate showman decides to stage "Manhattan Melodies," a new crisis arises: Kermit has amnesia. Unbeknownst to his friends, he's working at an all-frog advertising agency, and the show can't go on without him. Most of these silly complications provide the lightweight excuse to do full-fledged all-singing, all-dancing musical numbers in grand old-fashioned style, culminating in the wedding (!) of Kermit and Piggy, a development that no subsequent Muppet movies have acknowledged.

Is it any good?

This is sort of a redo of the original The Muppet Movie, showing how the bunch all broke into show business, though with a different and fresh orientation and energy that never lets down. It's done in the zesty spirits of the old Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland "let's put on a show" musicals that poured out of MGM.

Humor here is expertly pitched to all age groups. Adults will notice the prominence of a Muppet rat named Rizzo, a nod to Dustin Hoffman's role in a more sordid portrayal of Manhattan life, Midnight Cowboy. For kids, the reference slides safely past. The movie uses its setting in clever and consistently amusing ways. When the hopeful Muppet troupe arrives, they set up residence in bus station storage lockers. Also, during their disillusionment with NYC, they discover the restaurants are full of rats -- Muppet rats who cook and serve the food.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the way that the Muppets get along, despite being "a frog, a bear, a pig, and a ... whatever" (referring to Gonzo).

  • What were the challenges Kermit and the gang faced when arriving in New York and trying to get their musical on Broadway? How might this be similar to what other young performers new to the city experience when trying to make it? 

  • Can entertainment geared toward kids also have content, sophistication, and humor that would be more likely to appeal to adults? Can young children and adults enjoy the same shows? Why or why not?

Movie details

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