Poll: How old are your children? (select as many as apply)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Movie #9: Beetlejuice (1988)

"Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse."

As you'll see below, even though this film has a recommended minimum age of 9, that will also depend on your child. If you watch an edited version on television, the objectionable language will likely be removed, but even on home video, the version you watch may or may not contain language from the theatrical version. Kids will probably love this film, but you may want to pre-screen it for younger viewers first.


  • Rating: PG*
    *From Wikipedia:
    In several PG-rated movies...the word ["fuck"] is used, mainly because at the time there was no PG-13 rating and the MPAA did not want to give the films R ratings; for instance, All the President's Men (1976), where it is used seven times; The Kids Are Alright (1979), where it is used twice; and The Right Stuff (1983), where it is used five times. Spaceballs (1987) is one of three anomalies in that it was rated PG after the 1984 introduction of the PG-13 rating, yet it includes Dark Helmet's line, "'Out of order'?! Fuck! Even in the future nothing works!" The second is Big (1988) which has the character of Billy asking Tom Hanks' character, "Who the fuck do you think you are?" The third is Beetlejuice (1988) which has the character Betelgeuse kick over a fake tree and scream, "nice fucking model!"

    When Disney bought the rights to Beetlejuice to air on the Disney Channel, they cut out several scenes including: The scene of a second Sandworm head emerging from the mouth of another one. In the original version, when Adam and Barbara leave the model, Beetlejuice kicks over a model tree, screams "Wow! Nice F---ing model!" and then makes honking sounds while he yanks himself in an obscene way. In the Disney version he kicks over the tree, spits, and stares up at Adam and Barbara. Several scenes of Beetlejuice attacking the Deitz family as a snake were removed. The scene where the receptionist in the Afterlife Waiting room reveals she killed herself was removed A scene during the dance number where the Deitz's all moon each other was removed

  • Minimum Recommended Age: 9 (Common Sense Media: "On for ages 9 and up")

  • Quality Rating: 75% (Common Sense Media: 4 stars, Rotten Tomatoes rating: 7)

  • Number of Lists Recommend: 6

  • Sex/Violence/Profanity:
    Sex (from IMDB):
    A ghost tries to look up a girl's skirt. A ghost snake looks up a woman's dress. A ghost caresses a dead girl's thigh. A ghost makes a jacking off motion.

    This is really where parents will be tested, if watching an unedited version of the film. Some of us who grew up with this film but haven't seen it in some time may be surprised to know that Beetlejuice yells out the "f" word in one scene. Don't believe me? See for yourself:

    The line was cut from original home video releases, but was restored for the 20th anniversary DVD.

    Other language includes the lines, "Is Connecticut so boring that you have to think up shit like this?", "Because if I tell you, you tell your friends... your friends are callin' me on the horn all the time... and I gotta show up at shopping centers for openings and sign autographs and shit like that and it makes my life a HELL. OK? A living HELL.", "Lydia is usually about half-pissed off.", "I think we really pissed him off.", and "You pansy-assed cretins!" Again, what language is included with the version you watch may vary.

  • Main Child Character Age: Winona Ryder was 17 when Beetlejuice came out

  • Running Time: 100 minutes

  • What does it have to do with Halloween? Nothing


A couple of recently deceased ghosts contract the services of a "bio-exorcist" in order to remove the obnoxious new owners of their house.

Watch Out For

See note on language above.

Common Sense Media:
Parents need to know that there are some serious themes in this outrageous film: a young married couple comes to grips with the fact that they're dead, and a teenager contemplates suicide. Because of this, it's not suitable for children younger than 9. But there's nothing here that older kids can't laugh at.

A woman blows cigarette smoke out of her slit throat. An afterlife waiting room abounds with people in various states of deadness (but it's more funny than scary). Main characters are chased by giant striped worms in a desert. A teen shrivels up like a mummy in a matter of seconds. The teen also contemplates suicide.

Overall smoking is depicted as an act which leads to a violent and unpleasant death. A ghost woman who was a smoker in life has a tracheotomy wound in her neck and blows the smoke from her cigarettes through it. Another ghost is depicted as a horrible charred skeleton/body, the implication being that he burned to death when a cigarette caught his bed on fire.

Adam and Barbara Kiss

Delia licks Charles

Barbara tries to scare off the Deetzes

Barbara makes a scary face to try to scare the Deetzes

Barbara holds Adam's head in another effort to scare the Deetzes

The sand worm

The Smoking Man

Miss Argentina displays her slashed wrists (removed when shown on Disney Channel)

The flattened messenger

A skeleton typist

Juno breathes smoke from her slashed neck

Charles asks, "Is Connecticut so boring that you have to think up shit like this?"


Betelgeuse kisses Barbara against her will

Betelgeuse proves that he can be scary

Betelgeuse grabs his crotch after exclaiming, "Nice fucking model!" (removed from some versions)

The party guests moon each other

Betelgeuse turns into a snake

Betelgeuse looks up Delia's dress

The Betelgeuse snake

Hookers tempt Betelgeuse

Betelgeuse goes into the whorehouse

Barbara makes a scary face

Adam makes a scary face

Barbara and Adam turn old

Betelgeuse puts his hand on the leg of a woman who's been cut in half

Betelgeuse sits next to the witch doctor and Shrunken Head Man

Screencaps courtesy of newsie__nympho

Of Note

  • At the 61st Academy Awards, Beetlejuice won the Academy Award for Makeup
  • Tim Burton originally wanted Sammy Davis Jr., a favorite star of his since childhood, to play the role of Betelgeuse but studio executives didn't like that idea at all.
  • Michael Keaton spent only two weeks filming his part in the film, which lasts 17.5 minutes out of the 92-minute running time. It is Keaton's favorite film of his own.
  • The title character is named for a bright red star in the constellation of Orion, Betelgeuse. The studio disliked the title and wanted to call the film "House Ghosts". As a joke, Tim Burton suggested the name "Scared Sheetless" and was horrified when the studio actually considered using it.
  • Ranks #5 on AMC TV's Ten Best Comedy-Horror Movies list
  • The success of the film brought an animated television series of the same name on ABC. The show lasted from September 9, 1989 to December 6, 1991, and Tim Burton served as executive producer.
  • Burton hired Jonathan Gems to write a sequel titled Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian in 1990. "Tim thought it would be funny to match the surfing backdrop of a beach movie with some sort of German Expressionism, because they're totally wrong together", Gems reflected. The story followed the Deetz family moving to Hawaii, where Charles is developing a resort. They soon discover that his company is building on the burial ground of an ancient Hawaiian Kahuna. The spirit comes back from the afterlife to cause trouble, and Betelgeuse becomes a hero by winning a surf contest with magic. Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder agreed to do the film, on the condition that Burton directed, but he became distracted with Batman Returns.


Watch It (uncensored version)

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