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Pinocchio Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 6+

Disney masterpiece is darker than you may remember.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this Disney classic handily passes the test of time for a beautiful and effective lesson on the perils of doing wrong when you should know better. Some scenes and themes may be intense for younger or sensitive viewers, such as when Pinocchio is kidnapped and caged, threatened with destruction, can't find his father, and/or nearly drowns. They should also be aware that Pinocchio's friend Lampwick introduces him to cigar smoking, but is punished for it. Kids may be disturbed by Pleasure Island, where "bad boys" are turned into donkeys and sent to work in salt mines. But overall this morality tale is a good reminder of the importance of listening to your conscience.

  • Families can talk about what it means to "let your conscience be your guide." How do you tell the difference between right and wrong, and what do you do if you can't figure it out? When Pinocchio is first kidnapped, Jiminy wants to tell Geppetto but worries about being "snitchy." What's the difference between being a tattletale and helping a friend in danger?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: The main character learns in the roughest of circumstances what happens to little boys who are not brave, truthful, and unselfish. He is tricked, cheated, lied to, and kidnapped, sometimes with his own consent as he ignores his conscience as embodied by Jiminy Cricket. This is a great movie to start a conversation about letting your conscience be your guide and recognizing right and wrong, as the characters here show both possible paths.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence and scariness: Cartoonish examples of guns firing, characters clubbing one another, "poking" i.e punching. A kitten is handled very roughly, and a child plays with fire in a way that might give ideas to impressionable viewers. Coded talk for a contract killing will probably sail over most kids' heads.

  • sex false0

    Sexy stuff: Not applicable

  • language false1

    Language: Dated use of the word "gypsy" may be offensive to some.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: That Red Lobster inn predates the actual restaurant chain by 28 years!

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Lots of cigar smoking and beer drinking, even by kids, but the substances are clearly identified as a source of the ensuing punishment and made to seem very unappealing.