The Sopranos

TV review by
Will Wade, Common Sense Media
The Sopranos TV Poster Image
Violent mob drama doesn't pull any punches.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 21 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive messages

There's no easy message/take-away here. The show offers a complex look at issues related to family relationships and life inside the mob. Little of what occurs is clearly black-and-white; there are always shades of gray. Characters value their families, but they also coldy commit murder.

Positive role models & representations

The main characters are all career criminals. Breaking the law is the norm, and law enforcement characters are portrayed unsympathetically. That said, the main character does value his family and also sees a therapist to cope with panic attacks and other issues.

Violence

Violence is common and graphic. Some scenes are quite explicit; the matter-of-fact way these wiseguys go about their business makes the beatings and killings seem even more chilling.

Sex

Almost every episode features scenes with sex and nudity.

Language

The mafia characters' language is incredibly foul. Sometimes it seems like every other word in a sentence would be banned on commercial television.

Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

One of the main characters is fighting a heroin habit, and some scenes clearly show him using. Most characters drink, ranging from wine with a meal to unpleasant benders, which often lead to violence. Some underage drinking as well.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Emmy-winning adult mob drama is both realistic and violent. The edgy HBO series makes murder and assault just part of the landscape and makes heroes out of criminals. Some beatings are hard to watch, and the petty infighting between these mid-level wiseguys is anything but honorable. Older teens may well have heard of the show, but it's definitely meant for adults. (Note: The edited episodes running on basic cable do away with much of the swearing and nudity.)

User Reviews

Parent of a 10 and 10 year old Written bydavid.wallace May 13, 2011

Worse For Kids than Pornography

Excellent show. Awful role models, profuse cursing, nudity, simulated intercourse, frequent displays of high end items ($15,000 Patek watches, Harry Winston dia... Continue reading
Adult Written byRIPsquishy August 10, 2010

Badabing!

i'm a sucker for mafia-related paraphernalia. that said, this show is definitely one of the most intense & crazy tv shows i've ever seen. i ca... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byEntropy July 30, 2011

It's an incredible show, but certainly not for everyone.

To be honest, I find that attempting to rate a film, or Television show by whether or not it is age appropriate is completely ridiculous. What some 14 year ol... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old December 10, 2009

What's the story?

Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) is a family man -- with a difference. He has a loving wife, Carmela (Edie Falco), and two college-age children, Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Siegler) and Anthony Jr. (Robert Iler), all of whom turn a blind eye to his other family. Tony is the boss of a New Jersey mafia clan, and the heart of this fascinating show is his conflicted efforts to juggle his responsibilities to both.

Is it any good?

THE SOPRANOS is amazingly violent, yet the savage beatings and offhand killings seem like just another day at the office for these brutal career criminals. The viewer is quickly sucked into their schemes and roots for them to pull off every job. But this series is less about big heists than it is about the petty jealousies and personal conflicts within every family, whether they're linked by blood or by an oath of loyalty.

The extensive supporting cast of hoodlums and family members (many people are both in this business) is both colorful and strong, providing endless demands on Tony's time, which further takes him away from his real family. This is a series that repeatedly questions the meaning of duty and the power of loyalty. Both are thought-provoking matters that could be interesting for older teens, but The Sopranos isn't a show that kids should watch lightly, no matter how mature they seem.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the rigid social structure within the mafia relies on the value of keeping your word and the importance of loyalty. Which comes first -- obeying the law or family?

  • Are any of the characters' criminal actions in any way justifiable? Does the end ever justify the means?

  • How does the violence on this show compare to that in others you've seen? Why can some channels get away with stronger content than others?

TV details

For kids who love drama and thrills

Our editors recommend

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

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

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate