The Shining Movie Poster Image

The Shining



Creepy suspense/horror film. Older teens plus.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Review Date: August 1, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 1980
  • Running Time: 144 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Main character aims to murder his family.


Several axe murders, decomposed bodies; a child draws with blood.


Full frontal nudity.


Very strong.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Cigarettes and alcohol.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that blood flows throughout this film -- literally -- in several notorious scenes. There are axe murders and decomposed bodies. The main character, a recovering alcoholic, slowly goes insane and aims to kill his family. He verbally abuses his wife throughout most of the film. There is some alcohol and cigarette use.

What's the story?

In a career-defining role, Jack Nicholson plays Jack Torrance, a writer entrusted as caretaker of a gargantuan Colorado hotel during its off-season winter months. Accompanying Torrance are his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and his son Danny (Danny Lloyd). Slowly, the punishing snowstorms and overall isolation (or perhaps something else?) pushes Jack into madness.

Is it any good?


Director Stanley Kubrick can make your own living room seem creepy and unfamiliar. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the freak-out factor is unnaturally high in THE SHINING, Kubrick's 1980 film of Stephen King's celebrated horror novel.

At first, the film feels a bit empty. Nicholson's Jack seems nutty from frame one, providing little arc for his character. Each character sees visions, leaving the audience no easy points of identification. The apparitions seem to know more about the story than we do, fostering some very real twists and turns. Kubrick constantly pulls the rug out from under us in relation to what is real and what is not. This film is truly one of the scariest movies of all time and is not for the faint of heart. Teens might be drawn to this movie for its one-of-a-kind menacing atmosphere. However, it's inappropriate for all kids and even some adults.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the relationship between fantasy and reality in the film. Do you find yourself confused about what's "really" happening at various points in the film? In what different ways could these scenes be interpreted?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 23, 1980
DVD release date:June 12, 2001
Cast:Jack Nicholson, Scatman Crothers, Shelley Duvall
Director:Stanley Kubrick
Studio:Warner Bros.
Run time:144 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:adult situations, language, nudity, graphic violence.

This review of The Shining was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 14 years old Written byerica921 May 14, 2011
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 15 years old Written byMeow314159 April 16, 2011

One of the best horror movies

I saw this movie and I LOVED it. It was genius! I thought the acting was amazing also. It does have language though, and there is one scene where it shows a woman taking a shower and I closed my eyes throughout the whole part. You HAVE to make sure your kid closes their eyes though because it shows everything. This scene is near the end of the movie and because I had heard about it, I was waiting to close my eyes the whole movie. It was really obvious when this scene was about to show up though, because it spent at least a minute zooming into the bathroom door. Also, there was a creepy and bizarre scene near the end when the mother walks in on two male ghosts, one dressed as a bear, doing inappropriate things, and the position is kind of obvious. I don't think there is a ton of violence in this movie, it's more of suspense. So, just cover your eyes and your kid's eyes during the inappropriate scene, and KEEP THEM COVERED BECAUSE IT GOES ON FOREVER. By the way, there are also some inappropriate paintings in the background.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byMovie Goer 101 March 19, 2010

A masterpiece for mature young adults, but not for younger audiences

The Shining is Kubrick's iconic classic that is a film adaptation of the namesake novel, written by Stephen King. Albeit, with that saying, this movie is not aimed at the younger demographic. The main concerns for the film are violence, nudity, drug content, negative messages, and no role models. For violence, you see a man axe a guy in the chest (you see blood and the action take place). A young boy is strolling around on a motorcycle, while two girls are standing in the way. It cuts to flashbacks of dead bodies (drenched in blood, and you see gory wounds everywhere, highly graphic), while the girls say "Come and play with us Danny". A woman slits a man's hand with a knife (we see a moderate amount of blood on his hand, the action takes place). A man axes down a door, but nothing grotesque or violent happens after that. A man is holding a bat trying to smash a woman's brains out (he doesn't), but the woman hits him with the bat while he falls down a flight of stairs (no blood or gore). The Shining includes some gory kills and graphic situations that are very intense. As for the nudity, there is a scene where a woman steps out of the shower and you see full frontal nudity (breasts, nipples, pubic region visible), and a buttock shot. She starts kissing a man (the man is fully clothed). It turns out she's a corpse and we see the scars on her back. A woman sees a door open with two men. One man is crouched down on his knees and in a bare costume (you see his buttocks, but he's completely clothed beside that). While another man is seen on a bed (fully clothed). No actions take place but this scene heavily implies oral sex. For profanity, there are around a dozen f words and its derivatives, some anatomical and scatological terms, and mild obscenities. There are no positive messages and no good role models. The movie is basically about a man that is psychologically disturbed and as the film progresses, loses his sanity and becomes heavily delusional. Overall, a phenomenal film but not suitable for younger audiences.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?