He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

Common Sense Media says

'80s classic still holds strong messages for today's kids.





What parents need to know

Educational value

The series teaches kids lessons in strength of character, personal safety, and respecting elders, among other positive topics.

Positive messages

Each episode illustrates an important social lesson like honesty, self-esteem, and being trustworthy. Not only are these themes woven into the story, but they’re also reinforced by summary segments in which He-Man and his friends recap the lessons learned during the show.

Positive role models

He-Man defends the freedom of all people and creatures from the tyrannous efforts of villains like Skeletor. He often relies on crafty thinking to outsmart -- rather than hurt -- his enemies.

Violence & scariness

He-Man uses a sword and a variety of other weapons, but most of his acts are in defense, deflecting laser blasts or other attacks from the villains. Despite his brawn, he often relies on less violent tactics like trapping or tying up his enemies. Exaggerated cartoon violence shows characters surviving long falls with little injury. Some villains will seem scary to youngsters.

Sexy stuff

Many of the characters wear tight clothing that accentuates their curves and breasts; or, in He-Man’s case, his chiseled gluteals and chest.

Not applicable

During its heyday two decades ago, the show was tied to an extensive merchandising line of clothing, games, toys, and accessories, though there’s little fear (or hope) of finding them on store shelves today.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that age has done little to weather the appeal of this classic cartoon, and the show’s positive messages about issues like self-confidence, responsibility, and trust are both woven into the storyline and discussed directly by the characters at the show’s end. Older kids might snicker over the show’s dated style (especially He-Man’s mullet-like hairdo), but youngsters will overlook it in light of the action and adventure. In its time, He-Man was controversial because of its use of hand-to-hand combat, but by today’s standards, the violence is pretty tame, and the characters often opt for nonviolent methods (trapping, pushing, dodging) rather than weaponry or fighting.

Parents say

Kids say

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What's the story?

When Eternia’s Prince Adam holds up his sword and claims the power of Castle Greyskull, he unlocks his alter ego, He-Man (voiced by John Erwin), “the most powerful man in the universe.” With the castle at the heart of his impressive power, he must protect it from the likes of his nemesis, Skeletor (Alan Oppenheim), and his legion of tyrants. Only a handful of friends -- including The Sorceress (Linda Gray), Man-At-Arms (Openheim again), and his faithful Battle Cat -- know the identity of He-Man’s alter ego, and they are his constant companions in his efforts to ward off Skeletor’s onslaughts.

Is it any good?


HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE was a cartoon sensation during its two-year run in the 1980s, and young kids everywhere felt a rush of excitement when Adam held that sword up high to harness its power. For parents, though, it was a mixed bag, offering kids positive life lessons contrasting with what was then more violence than usual for a kids' cartoon. In addition to his famous sword and a variety of other objects he uses as weapons, He-Man engages his enemies in hand-to-hand battles, which wasn’t common practice in kids’ programming when it aired originally.

Today, however, parents’ worries over the show’s violence are much less concerning when compared that of modern cartoons. In reality, parents who look closely will see that He-Man often opts out of violent measures when some quick thinking or a cleverly designed trap will work just as well to neutralize a threat. That, coupled with the show’s reinforcement of strong messages makes it a viable option for impressionable youngsters who want to feel like they’re watching a big-kid show.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about heroes. What does it mean to be a hero? How can different people be heroes in different ways? Who is a hero to you? Why?

  • What did the characters learn in the show? What struggles did they have to overcome? Can you relate to what they go through? When have you had to overcome a difficult situation?

  • How does this show compare to more modern ones you see today? How is the animation different? Are the characters obviously different? Do these differences affect your enjoyment of the show?

TV details

Cast:Alan Oppenheim, John Erwin, Linda Gray
Networks:qubo, Syndicated
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Superheroes, Adventures
TV rating:TV-Y7
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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.

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Adult Written bySarah Grace October 29, 2010

Not for kids...or anyone?

Full of the occult. Wouldn't have kids watch it. Plus, all of their suits are very revealing and gross.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Adult Written byKidBlue909 October 26, 2010

Better than I remembered!

Very fun stuff. Appropriate for the older set, but good for us grown ups as well. They have a positive message, and remind me of greek mythology
What other families should know
Great messages


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