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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 9+

A classic action-adventure for older kids.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is Disney's version of the classic 19th century Jules Verne novel of the same name. Some old stereotypes come through in scenes where island natives are portrayed as primitive and brutal. There are no female characters with speaking roles in this film, either. Lots of punching among sailors, and some perilous scenes with a giant squid might frighten younger viewers.

  • Families can talk about how Captain Nemo could have better directed his genius. How does each family member channel his or her intellectual and creative energy?
  • Talk about some of the old-fashioned stereotypes in this movie. What kinds of stereotypes in today's movies will one day seem old-fashioned?
  • What more modern undersea adventure movies have you enjoyed?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Some mixed messages about justice and the value of human life. Captain Nemo wants to destroy slave ships because he was once a slave, but he kills everyone on board as a consequence. He is viewed as a madman, but his evil genius is also admired. Electrocution of natives is played for comic effect.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Main characters use violence to solve problems. Both Nemo and the professor use their ingenuity to better technology.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: Fisticuffs are pretty common among these sailors. Some fighting gets pretty extreme, though there is no blood. Cannon fire and ship collisions sinks ships. "Cannibals" are electrocuted and ridiculed while they dance in agony.

  • sex false0

    Sex: As we see in the first scene, when two dolled up gals are hanging on his arms, Mr. Land is good with the ladies. He sings songs about women whom he wants to kiss. He talks about "native" women on an island who are longing for his touch.

  • language false0

    Language: "Hell" is as strong as it gets.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Men smoke cigars in many scenes. Mr. Land says that in a case of bad luck, there is "nothing to do ... but get drunk." This he does, with the resident seal as his drinking buddy. He then is very moody and throws a glass against the wall.