William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice

Movie review by Alyssa Ellsworth, Common Sense Media
William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 16+

Sumptuous but not for everyone.

R 2004 131 minutes

Parents say

age 16+

Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 14+

Based on 2 reviews

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.

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 13+

A bad movie

Is is not a good movie not even for English classes come on isn t Shakespeare a little outdated to be in classes today
age 18+

Why did the Director Add Nudity to Shakespeare? To Get an R Rating! :(

This movie is masterfully done and is very true to the text and intent of the original work of Shakespeare. Sadly they add random scenes to the play which involve prostitutes and there are several moments with full frontal female nudity which only serve to make this play rated R. They were probably only added to change the rating to R because this play does not have objectional material on its own. It is a great story and they did a wonderful job filming it and acting in it. The courtroom scene is wonderful and builds very effectively to the climax of the play. I recommend this play to any who have studied the play or will study it or who want to understand the historical struggles between Christians and Jews in various contexts. The themes of justice vs. mercy are very well illustrated and again very true to the play's original intent. I recommend it very highly. Due to the frontal nudity parents need to be aware and either address this topic or skip those scenes with their teens. The play does not need those moments at all since they are not integral to the plot in any way. I would not show this play to children. They would not understand it and the main plot involves one man trying to get revenge on another man in a very cruel way. As an educator I think it is an excellent play to study in high school and discuss the issues of racism and hate for those who are different from onself and how ridiculous it can be when one lives in a state of judging others. Due to the R rating educators should use caution and be sure that it is possible to show or only show it if there is editing or parent and administrative permission. The courtroom scene alone is worth showing - even if the whole movie cannot be shown.

This title has:

Too much sex

Movie Details

Our Editors Recommend

  • Romeo + Juliet Poster Image

    Romeo + Juliet

    Optically brilliant, violent update of classic.

    age 16+
  • As You Like It Poster Image

    As You Like It

    Fun retelling, but longer than teens will like it.

    age 13+

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

See how we rate