Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that there is considerable cartoon-bloodless shooting, bombing, and fighting. Plus, Madonna's lusty character sports an erotic wardrobe. The singer-actress, dating Warren Beatty at the time, was at the height of her self-crowned sex-goddess persona, though her antics stay within PG range. You may not come across them these days, but a series of vintage Dick Tracy cartoons (by the creator of Felix the Cat) and modern-day action figures, peddled in connection with this feature caused controversy for some demeaning racial and social stereotypes (the "Joe the Tramp," figure was a monstrously ugly homeless man).
Madonna in particular plays a seductive singer who utters frequent suggestive double-entendres and dresses in low-cut, chest-revealing and skin-tight outfits.
"Cartoon violence" in the truest sense. Lots of machine-gun shooting, high-energy fist-fighting and mob hits, via both gunfire and explosions. No blood shown.
Dick Tracy is an upstanding and incorruptible lawman, even if he does seem a little tempted away from his girlfriend Tess Trueheart by both the work and the sexy Breathless Mahoney. Ultimately, the mousy, unassertive Tess proves a better love interest than the bold, brassy Breathless, a real old-school Hollywood attitude. A street kid Tracy befriends (who was forced into theft, a la Oliver Twist) looks up to Tracy's virtuous qualities and helps him in crimefighting. High city officials are revealed as corrupt and compromised. The gangsters in particular are grotesquely ugly, not the suave, smooth criminals glamorized in other crime pictures.
A line of action figures, vintage Dick Tracy cartoons, and toy tie-ins were peddled heavily -- and some of the aggressive marketing backfired when activists complained about the demeaning depictions of minorities and the homeless. At least the Two-Way Wrist radios didn't offend anyone.
Drugs / Tobacco /
Social drinking and smoking.