The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Movie review by
Maryana Vestic, Common Sense Media
The Rocky Horror Picture Show Movie Poster Image
A comedic cult classic with heavy sexual innuendo.
  • R
  • 1975
  • 106 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 21 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 84 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Complex ideas about sexual identity and individual behavior. Underneath the provocative and campy exterior, the movie has messages about being true to yourself and expressing yourself honestly. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters are far too campy to be seen as positive role models. 

Violence

Dead body in a glass table. Characters killed by lasers. Implication that a man was killed with a pickax. Comedic pratfall violence: male character kicked in the crotch, female character playfully whipped. 

Sex

Cross-dressing, brief nudity, seduction, tons of innuendo. Lead characters turned into naked statues. In cases of mistaken identity, Brad and Janet initiate sex with one another, but in both instances, their partner is Frank N. Furter in disguise. 

Language

Frequent sexual innuendo, implying erections, sexual desire, group sex. "Dammit," "goddammit." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Wine drinking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a 1975 cult classic movie in which two square sweethearts spend the night in the castle of a transvestite scientist. This movie is based upon complex adult themes of sexuality and personal freedoms/lifestyles. Dr. Frank N. Furter is played up as an outlandish, sexually-open character. There is a very suggestive scene of Frank N. Furter seducing the couple and another sex scene between Janet and the beefcake Rocky. While there is no direct nudity, the film is very provocative, right down to the song lyrics. Expect frequent sexual innuendo, implying erections, sexual desire, and group sex. "Dammit" and "goddammit" are heard. Violence includes a dead body in a glass table, characters killed by lasers, and the implication that a man was killed with a pickax. Comedic pratfall violence includes a male character kicked in the crotch and a female character playfully whipped. Mature teens with an understanding of sexuality and individuality are the best audience.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMadeiraDarling May 26, 2014

Lots of campy fun

This movie is a classic for good reason, and I think that the themes of sexual individuality and variation are actually something that young teens should be exp... Continue reading
Parent Written bySensible Mother February 7, 2013

Not For Kids

This movie glorifies depraved lifestyles and mocks ordinary people. It has a good soundtrack but it is certainly not for families. I am writing from Canada and... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old May 14, 2011
Not the best for kids my age
Teen, 15 years old Written byShinigami1994 March 18, 2010

Undeniably weird. Watch it.

WATCH. THIS. MOVIE. This is by far my favorite movie of all time. It not only features strange behavior, it practically promotes it! That is something that I ha... Continue reading

What's the story?

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW opens with a conservative young couple (Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon) experiencing a flat tire on a rainy night. They find shelter in the menacing-looking castle of Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry), a cross-dressing mad scientist. The film follows Brad and Janet's descent into the world of Dr. Frank N. Furter and his minions. He is building the perfect love god -- a muscle-bound blond named Rocky. As Brad and Janet rediscover their own sexualities and Rocky desperately wants to discover his own, the film grows more surreal, ending in the massive revelation that Dr. Frank N. Furter's glammed-out, androgynous self is more than just different, it's out of this world. Hunchback Riffraff deems the Doctor's lifestyle "too extreme" and subtly takes over in a very obvious reference to the powers of conformity, quashing the wildly different when it gets in the way of the greater plan.

Is it any good?

The definition of kitsch, Rocky Horror is a campy, musical spoof on the haunted-castle horror movie, encompassing a '70s glam-rock world of androgyny with characters that are more than offbeat. Adults have been gathering at ritualistic midnight viewings of Rocky Horror across the country since its 1975 debut, contributing to it being a cult classic.

The movie has a built-in audience: lovers of glam rock and the world it sings along to. For this audience, it's like watching their favorite 1970s glam rock concert come to life. Rocky Horror is one of the best, if not the best-executed, examples of a film that celebrates the odd, the rejected, the rock-'n'-roll misfits who live by the beat of their own wayward drum. It's just not for kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about The Rocky Horror Picture Show's themes of personal and sexual individuality and the concept of "fitting in." Beyond the campy elements, what lessons are presented here?

  • Starting in New York City, this movie grew into one of the best-known "cult classics" of all time, in which moviegoers dress like the characters, dance to the musical numbers, and shout well-timed sarcastic remarks at the screen. What do you think is the seemingly timeless appeal of a movie that appears to be little more than a campy B-movie? What are some other examples of cult classics? 

  • When the movie was released in 1975, many of the themes and content were considered taboo subjects. How is this movie a product of that time, and how does it hold up today?

Movie details

For kids who love oddball movies

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