The Muppets Take Manhattan Movie Poster Image

The Muppets Take Manhattan

Maybe the least-appreciated and best Muppet movie.
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1984
  • Running Time: 95 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The motley, multi-species Muppets could be seen as a nice metaphor for multicultural urban society getting along.

Violence & scariness

None.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language

No problem.

Consumerism

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

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Not an issue.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has no objectionable material. They may need to explain a few references, like Mayor Ed Koch and the allusions to old movies.

What's the story?

In THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN, Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie, 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?

QUALITY

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.

Families can talk 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). Parents can emphasize multiculturalism, even the idea of New York City as a melting pot of diverse races over the years. But don't make it too heavy -- it's a Muppet show, after all!

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 13, 1984
DVD/Streaming release date:June 5, 2001
Cast:Dabney Coleman, Juliana Donald, Lonny Price
Director:Frank Oz
Studio:Sony Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Friendship, Music and sing-along, Puppets
Run time:95 minutes
MPAA rating:G
MPAA explanation:general audiences

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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 Pooh series. Parents should be aware that Dabney Coleman's character smokes in the film. Also, one female muppet remarks to another that she will "not take off her clothes, even if it is 'artistic'." These items did not seem to faze my 8-year old, probably because they went over her head - but parents should be aware of their presence in the film.
Parent 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 endure deceit, being held hostage, a mugging, being hit by a car and general despair. There are sexual references and a bit of trashy language throughout. The Muppets are not children and they take on such huge responsibilities - children can't relate to them. Yet they appear childish in appearance. I wasn't sure how to explain their behaviour to my 3 and 6 year olds. I really love the Muppets, but don't think the age appropriate age is under 7 years. [commonsensemedia.org needs to review this film properly].
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 3 year old Written byjedipeter May 22, 2009