Family Movie Guide
This guide includes "family films," potential blockbusters, and movies that might interest young people. Only films with G ratings are tagged as all-family fare by Hollywood. Most have stronger MPAA ratings that call for extra alertness from parents. The Family Movie Guide and the Monitor's more-comprehensive Freeze Frames movie guide appear on alternate Fridays.Skip to next paragraph
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Star ratings from Monitor film critic David Sterritt precede the film credits. Those from a staff panel of at least three viewers follow the credits. Our ratings indicate the overall quality of movies, not their suitability for children.
o Forget It
The Empire Strikes Back [PG]
*** Directed by Irvin Kershner. With Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billie Dee Williams, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, James Earl Jones. Running time: 118 minutes. ***
PLOT Rulers of the evil Empire fight heroic rebels trying to defeat them, and imperial mastermind Darth Vader takes interest in seducing virtuous Luke Skywalker to the dark side of the Force.
MESSAGE The forces of evil may appear strong and wily, but right-minded determination usually prevails in the end.
VIOLENCE Action-movie violence, including brief shots of dismemberment and disembowelment, enhanced with high-tech special effects.
Return of the Jedi [PG]
*** Directed by Richard Marquand. With Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Billy Dee Williams, Alec Guinness. Running time: 133 minutes.
PLOT Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo defeat the evil Empire and reclaim Luke's father for the good side of the Force.
MESSAGE Good prevails over evil in the end.
VIOLENCE Great deal of action-movie violence and killing. Some of it involves scary monsters, most of it enhanced with high-tech special effects.
Star Wars [PG]
*** Directed by George Lucas. With Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Alec Guinness, David Prowse. Running time: 105 minutes. ****
PLOT Heroic rebels battle an oppressive empire, and the Force is with them all the way.
MESSAGE The struggle of good against evil is an exciting and ultimately triumphant adventure.
VIOLENCE Fighting and killing, including the destruction of an entire planet; bloodless but enhanced with high-impact special effects.
DRUGS/ALCOHOL Characters consume what appear to be drinks, drugs, or other intoxicating substances in the cantina scene.
Dante's Peak [PG-13]
* Directed by Roger Donaldson. With Pierce Brosnan, Linda Hamilton. Running time: 112 minutes. **
PLOT A volcano blows its top near a Pacific Northwest town, and a handsome volcanologist tries to escort the lovely mayor, her adorable children, and their feisty grandma to safety.
MESSAGE Disaster is fun to watch but can be deadly unless you have a skillful protector.
SEX Some innuendo, and a nude-swimming scene.
VIOLENCE A huge amount of disorder, destruction, and death caused by the volcano eruption.
PROFANITY Four-letter words and other vulgarities.
*** Directed by Kenneth Branagh. With Kenneth Branagh, Julie Christie, Kate Winslet, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams. Running time: 242 minutes. ****
PLOT A young prince broods over his father's death, his mother's marriage to the late king's brother, and his own desire for revenge.
MESSAGE A thoughtful young person may find much that is rotten in the existing structure of family, social, and political power.
SEX Explicit views of sexual activity and discussion of what the hero considers an incestuous marriage.