The Shining parents guide

The Shining Parent Guide

Creepy, ominous, tense, and uncomfortable...this movie nails the horror genre.

Overall D+

When Jack Torrance signs on to caretake the scenic Overlook Hotel over the winter, he thinks it will be a good opportunity for his family to come closer together and for him to work on his book. But as the snow comes down, isolating the hotel from the outside world, the Overlook seems to come to life around them...

Release date June 13, 1980

Violence D
Sexual Content D
Profanity D
Substance Use C

Why is The Shining rated R? The MPAA rated The Shining R For graphic violence, profanity, and brief nudity.

Run Time: 146 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) has just accepted an offer to work at the scenic Overlook Hotel during its winter closure. When the small, winding mountain roads freeze up in late fall, the hotel closes, and it needs a caretaker to keep the pipes from freezing. Jack sees this long isolation as a perfect time to finish the book he’s been working on, and a great opportunity to spend more time with his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and son Danny (Danny Lloyd). But once they’re tucked up in the massive hotel, all by themselves, they start to realize that they might not be quite as isolated as they thought.

I’ve written before about the perils of Stephen King adaptations (see Pet Sematery), so I’ll spare you from further rantings (although King’s personal opinion about this adaptation is an interesting story). The Shining deviates in a lot of places from the book (colder, less personal, and considerably less clear) but as an art film, it, well…shines. The camera creeps smoothly behind characters, sliding ominously around the abandoned hotel, and making even innocuous scenes tense and uncomfortable. The soundtrack is another chilling guest in the Overlook Hotel, full of shrieking violins and unsettling dissonance. It also just so happens to be completely awesome. Playing the nightmarish soundtrack may not make you popular with the people you live with, but it’s a great choice for a drive through the mountains.

Not that the movie really needs the help to be unsettling: casting Jack Nicholson took care of the creepy factor all on its own. Although he is considerably less sympathetic than Jack Torrance in the book, he’s a good deal more fun. Nicholson’s jack-o-lantern eyebrows and haunting smile are more than enough to make the Overlook feel possessed by evil. Shelley Duvall is doing an equally incredible job of selling that terror- in no small part because of her own talent, but certainly aided by Kubrick’s brutal treatment of her during filming.

As with most arthouse horror, this is not suitable for family viewing. Although it is considerably less profane and gory than a lot of modern horror flicks, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t both profane and gory. Graphic nudity also tends to make this a poor choice to watch with grandma and the kids. But for quarantine/snowed-in/in-laws-staying-over viewing, this is just about perfect. The Shining captures (and exaggerates) some of the psychological consequences of prolonged isolation- just don’t start drinking and wandering the halls of your home with an ax. That tends not to end well no matter how good the soundtrack is.

Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, and Scatman Crothers. Running time: 146 minutes. Theatrical release June 13, 1980. Updated

The Shining
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Shining rated R? The Shining is rated R by the MPAA For graphic violence, profanity, and brief nudity.

Violence: A large volume of blood is seen throughout the film. There is a reference to a murder-suicide. Two dead children are shown covered in blood. A child is shown with a bruised neck. A person is struck repeatedly with a bat. An individual is cut across the hand. Someone is struck in the chest with an axe and killed. A frozen corpse is shown.
Sexual Content: Two women are shown completely nude. A man’s nude posterior is shown. There is a scene without nudity that implies a sexual act we can’t describe on a family website.
Profanity: There are approximately 30 uses of profanity or coarse language, including ten uses of the sexual expletive, three uses of a racial slur, and a dozen other uses of mild profanity. There are also a number of terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Individuals are shown smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. An individual is portrayed as a drunken alcoholic.

Page last updated

The Shining Parents' Guide

Jack struggles with alcohol abuse, which causes him to lose control of his temper. If you or someone you love struggles with alcohol, a number of great resources can be found at the Alcohol Addiction Centers website.

Domestic abuse is also a theme of the film and a serious global issue. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence website offers resources to find help and make long-term plans to get out of dangerous situations.

Loved this movie? Try these books…

The eponymous novel by Stephen King is one of his best and focuses more on Jack’s humanity and the factors that make The Overlook so dangerous for the Torrance family. The sequel, Doctor Sleep, follows up on young Danny Torrance’s life after he escapes the hotel.

In the novel, King makes frequent reference to The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe, a short story about an extravagant party thrown by Prince Prospero during a plague.

Home Video

The most recent home video release of The Shining movie is October 23, 2007. Here are some details…

Related home video titles:

The horror genre doesn’t appeal to all viewers, but for adults who like to lean into the terror, there’s plenty to choose from. To see the effects the supernatural, several feet of snow, and social isolation have on a group of people, John Carpenter’s cult classic The Thing is a great choice. The Lighthouse, which stars Robert Pattison and Willem Dafoe also focuses around the increasing strangeness of relationships in an enclosed environment. The Lodge focuses on a small family who decide to spend Christmas together at a small cabin in the middle of nowhere…and learn the hard way that togetherness does not always mean fondness. Another Stephen King adaptation, Misery, explores a similar concept.

Doctor Sleep, starring Ewan McGregor, released last year and is a sequel to The Shining. It addresses many of the same themes of alcohol abuse and self-control.