Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that The 39 Steps is Hitchcock at his best. All the plot twists and turns, suspenseful surprises, and subtle clues are in effect here. While the violence is not graphic (especially by today's standards), characters are shown dying from being stabbed or shot. As was standard in 1930s films, characters smoke cigarettes and pipes. Some tame sexual innuendo, too. Overall, for fans of Hitchcock, and suspense films in general, The 39 Steps is essential viewing.
There's some flirtatiousness between a man and a woman, and as much sexual innuendo (tame by today's standards) as a film could get away with in the 1930s -- a woman raising her skirt to remove her stockings, a man and a woman in bed together sharing handcuffs after the police had taken them away, kissing.
A woman is mysteriously stabbed in the back and falls dead onto a bed. A man is shot, but is not killed. Another man is shot and killed in a theater. A bar fight breaks out -- characters throw punches while other characters try to restrain them. When a husband discovers that his wife gave away his best coat, he starts to slap her and she screams. The slaps aren't shown, but heard.
The idea that you should stand up for yourself if wrongly accused is certainly a theme, but the character's methods are questionable.
Drugs / Tobacco /
As a film of the 1930s, characters smoke. Social beer drinking. A man offers an agitated woman a tall glass of whiskey, which she downs in one gulp. Characters are shown holding glasses of champagne.