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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The real wild ponies of Assateague Island off the coast of Virginia and Maryland are at the heart of this film. It illustrates the origin, history, and traditions that define the lives of these beautiful creatures -- and the people who looked after them (at least until 1961).
Loving another may mean that we have to let that loved one go. Unselfish love demands that the happiness and welfare of the person (or, in this case, animal) come first. In keeping with Misty's concern for wild animals and their young, the film shows the difference between "gentling" and "breaking" an animal as a means of training. It also stresses responsibility to others and working hard to reach a desired goal.
Positive Role Models
No villains here. Grandparents and other grownups are loving, reliable, wise, and generous. The kids' basic good nature enables them to grow and learn from their mistakes. Surprisingly, for a film made in 1961, some of the conflict involves a girl's right to participate in traditionally male-only ventures.
Violence & Scariness
A horse chases a boy across an island. When a young foal appears to be drowning, the boy jumps in to save her.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A grandfather smokes a cigar.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Misty is a family-friendly film from 1961, inspired by a true story and based on the Newbery Award-winning book of the same name by Marguerite Henry. It offers gentle messages about responsibility, love, and patience, and about humane treatment of creatures in the wild. There are two mildly suspenseful scenes: A pony is thought to be drowning, and a stallion chases a young boy; both are resolved quickly. In an early look at gender discrimination, the young heroine asserts her right to participate in the same activities as her brother. Brief reference is made to the fact that the two kid protagonists have lost their parents and are adjusting to life with their grandparents. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
MISTY does a great job of showing the challenge of teaching Misty independence -- how hard it is for her, but how much love it shows. When Paul has to let the Phantom go back to Assateague, he tells Misty to go, too, but Misty stays and runs after them. Her home is with them, now. Misty provides a good opportunity to talk about showing love by letting go. The brother and sister have a very good, supportive relationship. And their grandfather (Arthur O'Connell) is strict and proud but understanding, as shown by his reaction when Paul goes off to Assateague alone.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.