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Bedknobs and Broomsticks Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 7+

Delightful Disney charmer may be too long for youngest.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this classic Disney movie, re-released for its 25th anniversary, is more than two hours long and better suited for longer attention spans or partial viewings. The framework of the movie -- World War II, Nazi invasions, and bombings in London -- is about as un-child-friendly as it gets, but the film manages to take a lighthearted approach. Main characters never seem frightened by the war or soldiers, though the children talk briefly about losing their parents to the war. The climax of the film involves a drawn-out battle between the main character and a small group of invading Nazis in which the enemy soldiers wield swords and machine guns against her. Despite this apparent violence, no blood is shed, no one is hurt, and the main character retains a smile throughout the entire battle.

  • Families can talk about the difference between fantasy and reality, since it may not be clear to many kids.
  • Talk about magic. What kind of magic do you wish you could perform and why?
  • Families can talk about what makes a movie scary besides the story. How does the music or the lighting make you feel?
  • Families can talk about language and accents. Did you find it difficult to understand the British accents? What other kinds of accents are you familiar with?

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true1

    Educational value: Older kids might learn a bit about World War II and the Blitz.

  • message true1

    Messages: The main character works hard to make a difference in the war effort. Along the way, she cooperates with others, and comes to understand the value of family and the wisdom of children. But these messages are clouded with subtle, but outdated ideas about women's abilities and an attitude toward war that might seem unfamiliar to modern kids.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: The main adult character, while quirky, is strong, confident, and determined to make a positive difference. She's kind and respectful to the children and encourages the kids to be helpful. The secondary adult character is a bit of a swindler, but he's thoroughly reformed by the end. The older boy starts out very sassy, and even tries to blackmail the main character. But, he too, is reformed in the end.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence and scariness: The children have been orphaned by the war and Miss Price, the witch, is searching for a magic spell to fight off the Nazis. Several scenes of cartoon violence during a wildly physical soccer match, as well as one real-life scene where the group is threatened with a knife. The final battle scene, where a ghost-like army of knights fights machine-gun wielding Nazis, might be very scary for some kids.

  • sex false0

    Sexy stuff: Some very mild flirtation between Miss Price and Professor Browne, including the suggestion that they will marry. In the animated portion, male and female fish dance cheek-to-cheek.

  • language false0

    Language: The older boy tells his siblings to "shut up."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: A cartoon fish smokes a cigar. A main character talks to a child about wanting to go to the pub for a drink.

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