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Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 6+

A fantastical car story custom made for kids.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while there are scenes in this film in which the Potts family members and others are in jeopardy, they are fantasy sequences filled with comic pratfalls, exaggerated action (Grandpa, in his outhouse-like hideaway carried away by a zeppelin; a baroness shot into the sky and retrieved by canon shots letting the air out of her billowing skirt), and arch clown-like villains with twirling mustaches, and one even wielding a hook. Only the very youngest or most apprehensive children may find the images scary; other kids will understand the intent and likely find it funny. There is an entire kingdom made up of buffoonish Germanic stereotypes who are more bumbling than menacing.

  • Families can talk about which part of the story "really happened" and which was make believe.
  • What would you do with a car like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? What kinds of things would you like to invent?
  • For older kids: Why were the people of Vulgaria depicted as fools? How do real-life political events affect movies? Can you imagine looking back at today's movies and recognizing how politics influenced them?

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true1

    Educational value: Interesting footage of early auto races "British Grand Prix" showing cars in the very early 1900s. An array of inventions created by Mr. Potts which predate their actual development, early versions of a vacuum cleaner, hydroplane, and many more.

  • message true4

    Messages: There's beauty and worth to be found in even the most unconventional people. The most valuable part of life is having people to love and care for and being loved and cared for in return. Even failure can be a positive experience if you learn from your mistakes - "from the ashes of disaster come the roses of success." And finally, dreams can come true, but you have to be practical, too.

  • rolemodels true3

    Role models: Mr. Potts is a hero to his children. He's more creative than successful, more loving than responsible, and fills their simple needs in unorthodox ways. In spite of the unusual life they lead (home-schooled, an eccentric father, a wacky grandfather, a lack of material possessions) Jemima and Jeremy are happy, unselfish, bright, and loyal. The villains who live in a land called "Vulgaria" are essentially bumbling Germanic stereotypes.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence and scariness: All of the action is exaggerated and clownish; no one is injured or killed. A couple of minor car crashes occur in a sequence showing very early 1900s auto racing. One car catches on fire. An experiment with a rocket ends when it sparks and catches fire, briefly putting its inventor at risk. In a fantasy story-within-a-story, the Potts and friends end up in danger in a fictional kingdom. There are numerous pratfalls, pirate attacks, canon fire, and dynamite, an evil "child catcher," two farcical villains who try lots of cartoon measures to capture the Potts family, and a lengthy comic battle between soldiers and our heroes, who fight alongside an army of children.

  • sex false0

    Sexy stuff: One romantic kiss as a man asks his sweetheart to marry him.

  • language false1

    Language: One use of "ass."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not applicable