Labyrinth

  • Review Date: August 12, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 1986

Common Sense Media says

Surreal coming-of-age fantasy -- with Muppets.
  • Review Date: August 12, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 1986

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Sarah realizes that her own creative power and imagination is stronger than the Goblin King.

Positive role models

Sarah is delighted to use her intellect to figure her way out of logic puzzles and dilemmas. In brief domestic scenes the young heroine is portrayed as so plunged into fairy tales and fantasies that she behaves as if her real mom were a cruel Brothers Grimm stepmother. The slightly mixed message is that she triumphs because of the same mania for make-believe.

Violence & scariness

Monster roughhousing, tussling, sword fighting, a giant axe-wielding robot-like thing, and even a goblin machine-gunner, but no blood, and despite occasional talk of "certain death," none of the peril meant very seriously. The "Fire Gang" is a group of creatures who playfully pull their bodies apart and reassemble each other (and talk of doing the same to the fleeing heroine).

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language

Mild, with a few "hells" and "damns."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film, while lighthearted, deals with the theme of separation of siblings, the threat that the youngest child could be turned into a goblin, and some mostly childish dangers (like being covered in a bad smell that lasts forever). Also, some of the creatures may disturb younger kids.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Sarah (Jennifer Connelly, A Beautiful Mind) is a modern teenager steeped in medieval fantasy lore, who doesn't like babysitting her tiny stepbrother Toby. One day she wishes that goblins would take him away. Jareth (David Bowie), the Goblin King, hears this and does exactly that, kidnapping the tyke into his otherworldly realm. Sarah immediately regrets her wish, but Jareth says she can regain Toby only by finding his castle, perched in the center of an immense labyrinth. While exploring the labyrinth, Sarah meets an assortment of puzzles, perils, and semi-comical creatures. Some monsters, like an apelike giant called Ludo, are friendly, while others are under Jareth's control, ordered to thwart Sarah.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Sound like a funky version of Alice in Wonderland? It is. And that's where its fun lies. Labyrinth bursts with imagination and playful weirdness in a way that's both delightful and a little too far-out. LABYRINTH showcases the artistry of Jim Henson, and features some of his most complex Muppets. Beyond Muppets, director Henson turns a simple collection of human hands into a lively and expressive wall of faces when Sarah stumbles across their lair.

This is puppetry at its finest, and the filmmakers ensure that none of the monsters are too monstrous, but always impressive. One massive, sword-wielding creature turns out to be just a robot with a silly little goblin perched in its cockpit helmet. The plot isn't quite up to the visuals. It meanders as much as Sarah does, and leads up to a final face-off with the Goblin King that's a confused fizzle.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about other far-out fantasy tales, such as Alice in Wonderland.

  • What do fantasy stories offer us? Is it possible to become too wrapped up in fantasy?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 27, 1986
DVD release date:February 3, 2004
Cast:Brian Henson, David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly
Director:Jim Henson
Studio:Sony Pictures
Genre:Fantasy
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures
Run time:101 minutes
MPAA rating:PG

This review of Labyrinth was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 15 years old Written byDominicboo1 March 25, 2011
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

One of My Favoirte Films!

David Bowie's songs and Jim Henson's puppetry make this film a sure winner. Characters like Hoggle, Ludo, and Sir Didymus will delight young children and should get some chuckles out of adults.Sarah learns the errors of her ways, and Jareth is a sympathetic villian that can love someone. Goblin City violence is very mild.

What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Kid, 8 years old January 9, 2011
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

Wonderful and funny

I think this movie is a bit funny because when the fierys try to take Sara's head off and when the goblins are fighting because Ludo calls the rocks and the goblins get squashed. It is also funny at the beggining of the movie when Sarah goes into the labyrinth because she sees Hoggle weeing in a pond.

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 6, 11, and 13 year old Written byshadowfc May 5, 2010
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

Great fantasy movie with some good messages

Other than a few mild curse words, this movie was completely family friendly. I agree with the other viewers that some parts can be frightening for younger viewers, but use your descretion. My 6 year old was fine watching it (she has seen Harry Potter also). My kids give me a really hard time about picking these movies from the 80s because they feel they are dated or cheesy. They absolutely love this movie and asked me a million questions about David Bowie. I think my 11 year old has a crush on him now. This movie has great messages for young kids about life and independance, as well as overcoming challenges in life and not giving up.

What other families should know
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Top Kids' Movies: An Essential Guide for Families