Murmur of the Heart

1971 R 1h 58m DVD

Murmur of the Heart

1971 R 1h 58m DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
Louis Malle's coming-of-age comedy set in 1950s France follows 14-year-old Laurent, who's dying to lose his virginity, but is watched closely by his tight family and suffocated by domestic problems, including his mother's marital discontent.
Lea Massari, Benoit Ferreux, Daniel Gélin, Michael Lonsdale, Ave Ninchi, Gila von Weitershausen, Fabien Ferreux, Marc Winocourt, Micheline Bona, Henri Poirier
Louis Malle
Widescreen 1.66:1
French: Dolby Digital Mono
R - Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them.
age 17+
Common Sense rating Not for kids
age 17+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that even though Murmur of the Heart is a coming-of-age masterpiece and a classic of French cinema, it's definitely not for kids. Themes of sexual awakening run throughout -- prostitution, inappropriate touching from a priest, and incest all come into play. Teens are shown shoplifting, panhandling under false pretenses, and getting drunk on wine. Parents are lax, and other authority figures are hypocritical. The movie takes a generally light approach to subjects that some might feel are too taboo for this treatment -- most obviously, incest. But for mature fans of foreign coming-of-age films like Truffaut's The 400 Blows and Fellini's Amarcord, Murmur of the Heart deserves a spot as one of the best films working within the parameters of this oft-covered film genre.

Sexual Content

Strong sexual content throughout, including topless female nudity and brief nonsexual frontal male nudity, plus naked male backsides. A shocking incestuous encounter. Two brothers take their younger brother to a prostitute. A priest touches a teenage boy inappropriately on the upper thigh. Three brothers drop their pants to measure their penis sizes (the genitals aren't visible). The mother in the film is having an affair. The main character, a teenage boy, is trying to lose his virginity. A teenage boy is shown in bed with a teenage girl, unclothed but covered by a blanket. Implication of masturbation.


Laurent is taunted and playfully bullied by his older brothers. Fistfights nearly break out at a Bastille Day dance where returning soldiers are intoxicated.


Characters speak freely (in French with English subtitles) about sex throughout, including using words like "hell," "dick," and "hard-on."

Social Behavior

There's a youthful and spirited "living in the moment" dynamic at work here that trumps the repression of government, religion, and family. That said, adolescent delinquency is on full display -- drinking, sexy stuff, disobeying authority, and much more.


Not applicable.

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Characters drink wine and smoke cigarettes and cigars. Teens are shown drinking wine and acting intoxicated. The mother seems hung over. Soldiers are shown intoxicated.

  • 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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