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  • PG
  • 2h 8m
  • 1990
Common Sense Media Iconage 13+
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From the Academy Award® winning director of Bugsy, Avalon is based loosely on Barry Levinson's own family and their real experiences emigrating to Baltimore in the early 20th century from Eastern Europe. The third in Levinson's group of "Baltimore" chronicles, which include Diner and Tin Men, Avalon.
© 1990 TriStar Pictures , Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media Iconage 13+
Common Sense Says
Character-driven Jewish family drama tackles mature themes.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Avalon is writer-director Barry Levinson's third semi-autobiographical film in a series of four set in his hometown of Baltimore. As viewers follow a Polish Jewish immigrant family in mid-20th century United States, topics such as concentration camps, refugee camps in Poland, and the advent of television and modern retail all provide historical backdrop. Avalon's serious themes may be best suited for teens and up: A child thinks he's responsible for the fire that destroys his father's business, family members argue and hold grudges, and grandparents die or experience onset dementia. Adults consistently smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol. Perilous situations include kids playing with explosives like firecrackers, sparklers, and fireworks. A large building catches fire and goes up in smoke, with sirens blaring and firefighters on the scene. Positive messages of resilience and perseverance enter the story, much of it seen through the eyes of young Michael (Elijah Wood in one of his earliest roles). The largely sweet and nostalgic, if a bit melancholy, film deeply humanizes Jewish Americans and immigrants, although that doesn't extend to Native Americans, who are invisible except as illustrated mascots or balloons seen on TV sets.

A Lot or A Little?

The parents’ guide to what’s in this movie.
Positive Messages
Positive Role Models
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
More on Common Sense Media

Additional Info

  • Genre:Drama
  • Release Date:October 5, 1990
  • Languages:English, Spanish
  • Captions:English, Spanish
  • Audio Format:
  • Screen Pass Eligible:Yes
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