Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that Stagecoach is a classic, landmark western from 1939, a masterpiece from director John Ford that featured John Wayne in his breakout role. This movie was designed for grown-ups, exploring complex psychological, moral and character issues through its simple story. Happily, it's also crackerjack entertainment, with plenty of tense conflict, humor, and action; it's also famous for one of the most dangerous stunts ever filmed. Younger kids may be bored, but for others that have never seen a western before, this is a grand place to start. It was nominated for seven Oscars and won two.
A major character, Dallas, is apparently a prostitute, though this is never actually discussed. She is treated as a morally bankrupt outcast. Another character is pregnant and delivers a baby, though -- again -- none of this is shown or mentioned.
Many characters carry guns or rifles. There's a long battle between the Apache and the characters on the stagecoach, with whizzing bullets and flying arrows. Some major characters die, and some blood can be seen.
This morally, psychologically complex story throws together eight characters from vastly different walks of life. As we come to know them, we realize that the most so-called respectable, morally upright of these characters are actually the most lowdown, selfish, greedy, and judgmental. The outcasts, bandits, drunks, prostitutes and weaklings turn out to be trustworthy, noble, and helpful. The movie teaches not to judge a book by its cover.
Drugs / Tobacco /
A major character, the doctor, is a drunk. He drinks constantly, and sobers up only to help deliver the baby. As soon as that task is completed, he begins drinking again. He pals around with a "whiskey drummer" (i.e. salesman) and drinks up all his samples. He also smokes cigars, and other characters are seen smoking.