Dick Tracy

1990 PG 1h 45m DVD

Dick Tracy

1990 PG 1h 45m DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
Legendary police detective Dick Tracy is the only man tough enough to take on gangster boss Big Boy Caprice and his band of menacing mobsters. Dedicated to his work but also devoted to his loyal girlfriend, Tess, Tracy's torn between love and duty.
Warren Beatty, Madonna, Al Pacino, Charlie Korsmo, Glenne Headly, William Forsythe, Ed O'Ross, Seymour Cassel, Charles Durning, Mandy Patinkin, Paul Sorvino, Dustin Hoffman, Kathy Bates, Dick Van Dyke, Catherine O'Hara
Warren Beatty
PG - Some material may not be suitable for children. Parents urged to give parental guidance. May contain some material parents might not like for their young children.
age 10+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 10+
age 10+

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).

Sexual Content

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.


Not applicable

Social Behavior

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 / Alcohol

Social drinking and smoking.

  • 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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