Mommie Dearest

1981 PG 2h 9m DVD

Mommie Dearest

1981 PG 2h 9m DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
Based on Christina Crawford's scandalous tell-all memoir, Mommie Dearest paints a portrait of a Joan Crawford the public never knew. The film portrays Crawford as a wicked, abusive mother who lives as though she's perpetually onscreen.
Faye Dunaway, Diana Scarwid, Steve Forrest, Howard Da Silva, Mara Hobel, Rutanya Alda, Harry Goz, Michael Edwards, Jocelyn Brando, Priscilla Pointer
Frank Perry
Widescreen 1.85:1
English: Dolby Digital 5.1, French: Dolby Digital Mono
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 13+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 13+
age 13+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that Mommie Dearest is a cult-classic adaptation of actress Joan Crawford's daughter's tell-all, published in 1978, exposing her mother as a self-absorbed narcissist, alcoholic, and abusive, cruel parent. It features casual smoking and drinking, excessive strictness and verbal abuse, slapping, screaming fights, obscenities, and a famous scene involving spectacular rage over the use of wire hangers. There is casual profanity ("bitch," "s--t") and one brief use of "f--k." Though it's a disturbing portrait of a Hollywood star's sad life behind the scenes and the abuse suffered by her children, who claim they were adopted as a publicity stunt, the dramatic production and over-the-top performances have earned the film a spot for its campy brilliance. Best for teens who can understand the pathos here as well as the impressionistic world of memoirs-turned-film and Lifetime-style production.

Sexual Content

A man and woman enter a shower together naked (woman's shoulders up; man's waist up); a woman references seven previous miscarriages.


Slapping children; spanking; yelling; mother locks daughter in changing room, insists she eat unrefrigerated leftovers from previous night's unfinished dinner, cuts daughter's hair roughly, hits daughter with bottle of cleaner, violently cuts rose bushes.


"F--k," "goddamn," "hell," "bitch," "s--tty," "for Christ's sake"; harsh tones and verbal abuse such as "quitter."

Social Behavior

Surviving an abusive childhood.


Not applicable

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Casual smoking and drinking throughout; references to alcoholism; daughter finds mother passed out, ostensibly drunk.

  • 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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