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African Cats Review Critics


Dave White Profile

The circle of life? Turns out it includes death. Read full review


Grae Drake Profile

Less talk, more roaring. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    This is Disneynature's third and best release, after 2009's "Earth" and 2010's "Oceans." With its compelling narrative of survival, it will probably be the one that most enthralls audiences.

    Read Full Review

  • 83

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Not coincidentally, African Cats opens on Earth Day. Meeting these magnificent fellow creatures might be a fine way to celebrate.

    Read Full Review

  • 90

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    The cinematography and editing are as superb as the film's feline stars are photogenic and heroic.

    Read Full Review

  • See all African Cats reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 6+

Nature docu emphasizes a mother's love and sacrifice.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this nature documentary features some breathtaking cinematography of the African savannah, but despite its G rating, there are some potentially upsetting scenes of animals hunting and dying. Nothing is overtly bloody, but the disappearance (and implied death) of a couple of cubs and the death of a central character is likely to disturb young children and squeamish adults. Children will learn about the African savanna, how cheetahs and lions differ in terms of their family groups and hunting styles, and how mothers -- even in other species -- are willing to sacrifice for the sake of their babies.

  • Families can talk about the popularity of wildlife documentaries. What attracts families to nature films?
  • Does humanizing the animals in movies like this one make them more or less likable? Is it right that some are depicted as "good" and some as "evil"? Aren't all the animals just acting like animals?
  • Some criticize G-rated documentaries for depicting the way that animals hunt and (in some scenes) die. Do you think that kind of content is appropriate for all audiences?

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true2

    Educational value: Kids will learn about the way that female cheetahs, who are solitary by nature, make an exception for raising their cubs and teaching them how to hunt, where to live, and more. Kids will also learn the way that lionesses live in a pride, hunting and raising cubs together while they're protected by an alpha lion.

  • message true3

    Messages: The movie's messages are quite sweet and family oriented. Layla and Sita are both exemplary mothers who prove that even in the animal kingdom, mothers have an imperative to watch over their young, teach them how to survive, and make tough decisions that will ultimately benefit their offspring.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: It's hard to ascribe human characteristics to wild animals, but since the narration already does that for us, it's easy to make the leap and say that the two animal mothers are positive role models. They're selfless, they make difficult sacrifices, and they face danger on a regular basis to raise their young and secure their safety.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence and scariness: There are various scenes in which the big cats hunt animals or confront enemies. Some prey animals are killed (no blood, but the predators are shown eating), a couple of cubs don't survive, and a few sequences are filled with suspense and tension that might be overwhelming for young kids. One mother animal dies peacefully.

  • sex false0

    Sexy stuff: Not an issue

  • language false0

    Language: Not an issue

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue