Behind the Candelabra

2013 TV-MA 1h 58m Blu-ray / DVD

Behind the Candelabra

2013 TV-MA 1h 58m Blu-ray / DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
Michael Douglas stars as flamboyant entertainer Liberace in this sequin-studded drama that chronicles the legendary pianist's roller-coaster relationship with his young lover, Scott Thorson -- from their passionate liaison to their stormy battles.
Blu-ray DVD
Widescreen 1.85:1
English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Widescreen 1.85:1
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
TV-MA - This program is specifically designed to be viewed by adults and therefore may be unsuitable for children under 17.
age 15+
Common Sense rating Pause for kids 15 & under
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age 15+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that Behind the Candelabra is a vivid tale about a May-December romance between a musical celebrity and his much-younger lover that contains a lot of hot-button content. We see men kissing, hot tubbing, and cuddling, as well as talking very graphically about oral and anal sex, and seemingly engaging in anal sex, with implied nudity, thrusting, and grunting. We also see the naked backsides of actors Matt Damon and Michael Douglas, and numerous men shirtless. Actors drink, smoke cigarettes, and use amphetamines, amyl nitrate, and cocaine, though the drug use is not glamorized and the realities of drug addiction are shown starkly. There are slightly gory surgical montages, and conversations where characters worry about aging and gaining weight and resolve to fight the march of time with cosmetic surgery. Viewers will hear many four-letter words ("f--k"), and slurs against gay men: "You old queen!" Nonetheless, Behind the Candelabra is a moving, relatable love story with a lot to say about human frailty and the many ways people hurt the ones they love.

Sexual Content

Many scenes showing Liberace and Thorson making love, including one in which Thorson is thrusting above Liberace with both men appearing naked (no private parts are seen). We also see them kissing and bathing together in a hot tub, and the hindquarters of both actors. There is offscreen porn with graphic descriptions of what's taking place onscreen. There are also discussions of adultery and a very raw conversation about anal sex.


Not applicable.


Some cursing, including four-letter words and many epithets concerning homosexuality: "You c--k-sucking tenor f--k!" "You old queen!"

Social Behavior

Before their affair dissolves into drug abuse, adultery, and a scandalous court case, Liberace and Thorson are extremely affectionate and loving to one another.


The story is about real people and based on an actual book, which viewers may want to purchase and read after watching. They may also be interested in seeking out Liberace's musical output or television/film work.

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Many scenes of characters drinking and acting drunk. Liberace, among others, smokes often onscreen. Two men have sex and use amyl nitrate. One character develops an addiction to amphetamines and cocaine and we see him popping pills and acting erratic. Characters explicitly condemn his drug use, but praise the weight loss that accompanies it.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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