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Forbidden Planet Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 6+

Classic '50s sci-fi flick is campy fun.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Forbidden Planet is a classic B-movie sci-fi film originally released in 1956. For all its "futuristic" speculation on mankind's adventures in outer space in the early 24th century, the attitudes and gender roles are rooted in the Eisenhower era. There's some kissing and a few sexual innuendos as the all-male crew of astronauts encounters the first woman they've seen in a year, but it's all pretty tame, especially by today's standards. There are brief moments of violence -- ray guns shooting at invisible aliens and such -- but they're also tame relative to the level found in current movies. The spaceship's cook has a robot make him 50 gallons of bourbon, some of which he drinks. Overall, this film is a slice of quaint kitsch from the onset of the Space Age. 

  • Families can talk about how science-fiction films about spaceships and aliens have changed since Forbidden Planet. How are contemporary sci-fi movies different? 
  • Do you think we'll ever have robots like Robby? What would be the best thing about having one? Would there be any disadvantages? 
  • Is the rule making it impossible for Robby to harm any rational beings a good one, even though it makes it impossible for him to protect the crew from the Id? Can you think of a better rule?

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true1

    Educational value: Speculative notions of space travel and life on another planet are more imaginative than educational, but give a glimpse of 1950s-era space fantasies and special effects. The invisible monster, the Id, takes its name and nature from Freud's concept of the id, which Dr. Morbius briefly explains.  

  • message true1

    Messages: Human emotions like anger and jealousy are powerful destructive forces. Also, be careful what you create with science -- if it gets out of control, it can destroy its creator. Commander Adams sees Dr. Morbius' undoing as a cautionary tale, reminding us that "after all, we are not God." 

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: Commander Adams is a typically brave leader of his spaceship. Dr. Morbius is a flawed scientific genius and jealous father.  

What to watch for
  • violence false1

    Violence and scariness: A ray gun is fired at a pouncing tiger, which immediately disintegrates. Astronauts fire ray guns at a giant invisible monster. 

  • sex false1

    Sexy stuff: A male astronaut offers to teach a pretty girl who has only lived with her father on an isolated planet how to hug and kiss. Some '50s-style insinuations are made about "the view from where I'm standing" as an astronaut looks over at the pretty girl in a short skirt. The commander of the ship lectures her about not wearing skimpy clothes to avoid "exciting" his fellow astronauts, who have been on a lonely spaceship for the past year. 

  • language false0

    Language: Not an issue

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: The spaceship's cook discovers that a robot living on the "forbidden planet" can create anything he wants, so he shows the robot a bottle of bourbon, takes a large sip, then passes it to the robot, who also takes a giant sip to determine its chemical composition. Then the robot makes 50 gallons of it.