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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Lying, cheating, and stealing are punished to some extent. But without moral direction, people don't change their ways.
Positive Role Models
Max is selfish and manipulative, using others for his personal gain and thinking only of his own happiness and success. Leo shows some signs of morals early on but is easily led by Max and his own desire for wealth and power. Both break the law and are punished for it, but they repeat the same behavior, showing they haven't changed.
Almost exclusively White cast. Non-Americans are portrayed in highly stereotypical ways. A German character is introduced as a Nazi with a soldier's hat, a love of Hitler, and military music playing. A Swedish secretary is sexualized and referred to as a "toy" and a "tease," with the camera panning along her body, main characters ogling, and her offering them sex. Older women are portrayed as easy to manipulate and desperate for sexual attention, with Leo saying they're lucky Max made them feel "young, attractive, and wanted again." Gay men stereotypically wear make-up; one is introduced in a ball gown and referred to as a "fruit." The film ridicules antisemitic behavior through its musical about a singing Hitler.
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Violence & Scariness
Slapstick falls and physical scuffles. Sounds of guns being shot and bombs exploding. A character shoots at others and tries to kill himself but has run out of bullets. Dynamite is shown, and an explosion blows up a building. Character seen in head-to-toe bandages as a result.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
It's implied that a main character has sex with wealthy women for money. Scenes involve hugging, kissing, and role-playing in a sexual context -- such as pretending to be cats. A character refers to a new secretary as a "toy," and she strips down to her underwear and dances for him, as well as offering him sex.
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"Kraut" used toward German character. "Fruit" used toward gay man. Other language and name-calling includes "fatty," "old buzzard," "sissy," "dirty pig," "wench," "fish-faced enemy of the people," "bloody," "crazy," and "lunatic." A man shouts "rape" as a joke in an argument. Farcical song lyrics about Nazis and Jews.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink, including shots and champagne, though no one is shown drunk. People also smoke cigars and cigarettes. Passing joke about LSD as the nickname for an actor named Lorenzo.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is the original version of The Producers, written and directed by Mel Brooks. It has since been remade on film with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick and has toured on stage. Here, Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder star as two con men who are trying to steal money from wealthy older women and unsuspecting theatergoers. The Broadway musical within the movie farcically champions Nazi beliefs and dogma: Song lyrics reference "the master race," and there are swastika shapes and Nazi salutes. There are several references to sex, and a woman strips down to her underwear. Stereotypes abound, including those about women, Germans, and gay men. There's drinking, smoking, and short scenes involving gunshots (nobody is hit) and an explosion. The film is considered a comedy classic by many, and plenty of viewers will find it funny, but it treads a fine line in terms of taste, and its mature content makes it inappropriate for younger viewers. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Moments in this movie are so bizarre that they fall nothing short of hilarious. Nevertheless, appreciating the humor of The Producers requires that viewers understand the parody of the staged musical. Director Mel Brooks won an Oscar for writing the multilayered production, and Mostel and Wilder both give fantastic performances -- Wilder was also nominated for his supporting role. And the film certainly offers a starting point for discussion around the stereotyped portrayals of various characters -- for example, the play's gay director and Max's Swedish secretary, as well as the German playwright and the Nazi references that follow. The moral implications of deceiving others and the potential fallout of going after a quick buck are also good discussion points.
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.