The Producers (1968) Movie Poster Image

The Producers (1968)

Slapstick comedy-musical -- not meant for kids.
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1968
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The two leads lie, cheat, and steal from old ladies. While they are punished for their actions, this does not change them in any way.

Violence

All slapstick.

Sex

A main character is characterized as being "a gigolo." Female characters are depicted in suggestive costumes. Highly stereotypical depictions of homosexuality.

Language

Farcical song lyrics deal with racism and anti-semitism.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some drinking, largely without consequences.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film depicts two con men trying to steal money from elderly women and unsuspecting theatergoers. The Broadway musical featured in the movie comically champions Nazi beliefs and dogma; the song lyrics contain many references to the glory of "the master race" and other aspects of Nazi ideologies. There are several references to sex and the musical features some suggestively clad females on stage. Because the film has been turned into a high-profile Broadway musical and is being remade for the screen with actors Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, children may be familiar with it and want to see it.

What's the story?

A slapstick comedy-musical starring Gene Wilder, THE PRODUCERS features two con artist/Broadway producers who plot to swindle old women into financing the most awful musical ever staged. Their ultimate goal is to have the musical bomb, pocket all of the receipts, and then disappear to a beach in Rio de Janeiro. To make this dream a reality, Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel) and Leo Bloom choose an offensive Nazi love story penned by a German madman, and select a no-talent gay director in order to ensure that the musical flops. The result is "Springtime for Hitler," an absurd musical extravaganza that features scantily clad Bavarian women and a dancing chorus comprised of Nazi soldiers.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

There are moments of this movie that are so bizarre that they are nothing short of hilarious. Nevertheless, appreciating this humor requires that viewers be able to identify the parodic quality of the staged musical. The film allows many opportunities for families to discuss the stereotyped portrayals of various characters, for example, the play's gay director and Bialystock's seemingly, Swedish sex kitten secretary. The moral implications of deceiving others and the potential fallout of going after a quick buck are also good discussion points.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the ethical problems involved in Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom's business practices. Why did they focus their efforts on cheating older women? How did Bialystock convince Bloom to go into business with him? What would you have done if someone offered you a lot of money to cheat others? The content of the play also offers families many opportunities to discuss racism and anti-semitism. Why might some people be offended by the song lyrics, despite their satirical overtones? Furthermore, the director character offers families an opportunity to discuss homosexuality. How does the film portray the character Roger de Bris? Why is he shown wearing a dress? Why might some people be upset about that?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 10, 1968
DVD/Streaming release date:September 2, 2003
Cast:Dick Shawn, Gene Wilder, Zero Mostel
Director:Mel Brooks
Studio:MGM/UA
Genre:Comedy
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

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Teen, 15 years old Written by1upmushroom October 5, 2012

Comedy Classic.

What else can I say about the Producers that hasn't already been said? The premise is simple but still effective. A sleazy broadway producer and a meek accounting agent try to make a surefire flop. Why? Because apparently if you raise a lot of money for a flop you get to keep the money you raised and you won't have pay the investors back. So the two decide to produce a play called Springtime for Hitler, which is as the producer called "A love letter to Hitler". Then they get the worse director who turns it into a stinking musical and then they get a beatnik to play Hitler. So you'd think this wouldn't last a number right? Well it almost doesn't but then they see the beatnik playing Hitler and suddenly assume that this is a farce. That's the main plot and while there's nothing incredibly R-rated about this movie it's definitely not a family film (I don't even think it's rated). There's a couple of adult jokes, mostly to do with the Nazi playwright plus the broadway producer makes money by having fun with old ladies. However what's really funny are the main characters played by the great Zero Mostel and the very funny Gene Wilder. They play each other off perfectly and are a great comedic team. The beatnik who plays Hitler is also very funny with his performance as Hitler. It's so over the top you gotta love it. I give this film a 5 out of 5. If you don't own it you should. Just don't show it to your children until they're older.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byBestPicture1996 March 17, 2014

Bawdy and in bad taste...in the best way!

What fun it is to see the tale Mel Brooks spun, and to still enjoy it all these decades later! Still offensive in its own right, especially when you see that establishing shot of all the various auditioning Hitlers prancing around and doing the Nazi salute! It's gutsy, bold, a revelation for its time as a comedy, and features two great leading performances from Mostel and Wilder, both frantic, zany leads that couldn't be more perfect for the part!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Teen, 14 years old Written bywookiepie93 April 9, 2008

you HAVE to see this

Mel Brooks is Awesome!