The Aristocats

  • Review Date: January 12, 2004
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1970

Common Sense Media says

Jazz and hijinks make this Disney cat tale meow.
  • Review Date: January 12, 2004
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1970

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

A Siamese cat called "Chinese cat" is a negative Asian stereotype typical of movies made at the time, complete with buck teeth and stupid grin. The greedy butler Edgar drugs and abandons the cats, then gets his comeuppance.

Positive role models

Duchess learns about a whole jazzy community, falls in love, and remains a lovely kitty cat.

Violence & scariness

Edgar spikes milk for the cats with sleeping pills. Kittens and their mom are kidnapped and abandoned in the country. A few prolonged chase scenes where it looks like animals and people could get harmed, especially when animals are chased with a pitch fork.

Sexy stuff

Lots of girl-cat eye-batting at O'Malley's flattery. More than a few giggly shots of Edgar the butler's underwear.

Language

"Hush your mouth" uttered by a dog.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A goose exits a restaurant falling down drunk after being "marinated" by a chef -- played for many laughs.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that younger and sensitive kids may be upset by the drugging and abandonment of a mom cat and her three kittens. For a brief moment the kittens can't find their mom. In some slapstick chase scenes it looks like animals or people could be injured, especially when Edgar the butler wields a pitch fork. Plus played for laughs are shots of Edgar the butler's underwear and a drunk goose weaving down the street.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Disney's animated story takes an elegant cat named Dutchess (voiced by Eva Gabor) and her three kittens out of their high-brow element when a cantankerous butler dumps them in the country after he hears the cats are to inherit his employer's fortune before him. On their way home the cats encounter O'Malley the Alley Cat who gets them out of a number of scrapes and introduces the brood to his jazz-playing "hep cat" friends. And just like Lady and the Tramp, Dutchess can't resist the charms of the scrappy O'Malley.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The 2008 DVD re-release calls this a "Jazzy Classic," and sure enough the highlight is the toe-tapping song "Everybody Wants to Be a Cat." There's little plot (cats journey home) and the characters are less memorable than other animated animal capers like Lady and the Tramp and 101 Dalmations. Phil Harris, who plays Baloo from the original Disney Jungle Book, is fun as O'Malley, but lacks some of the rapscallion antics that would make him stand out.

Kids will love the silly chase scenes with Edgar the butler and the country hounds, Napoleon and Lafayette, especially the one around the windmill. They're choreographed for lots of giggles -- complete with failing-suspenders gags. But once the big jazzy number and madcap running about are over the movie falls flat. In a DVD extra one of the composers reveals a lullaby-like song that was left on the cutting room floor about the owner's love for her cats. That's the kind of sweetness that could have made this movie the cat's pajamas.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Edgar the butler. He doesn't seem really mean like Cruella De Vil, but he's still not nice to Madame's cats. How come?

  • Why does he go back to the country for his hat and umbrella?

  • Where's Timbuktu?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 24, 1970
DVD release date:February 5, 2008
Cast:Eva Gabor, Liz English, Phil Harris
Director:Wolfgang Reitherman
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Adventures, Music and sing-along
Run time:79 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of The Aristocats 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.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 2 year old Written byslm76 September 21, 2009
AGE
3
QUALITY
 

As far as Disney movies go, this one is pretty mild. The negative elements of the movie are too complicated for a toddler - which involve the drugging of kittens so they will go "night night" and can be relocated to the country-side because the man who does this wants to become first inline to inherit his employer's fortune since the kittens precede him in the employer's will. Once this story line is established at the outset of the movie, the majority of the movie is about the cats' funny and quirky adventures in trying to get back home. When they eventually do return home, a physical fight ensues between the animals and the butler and a pitch fork gets thrown at a cat, but besides that there isn't much violence. The evil character is a goofy butler, who is not that scary compared to other Disney antagonists. For small children, this is a cute, relatively harmless movie.

Adult Written byBostonMomof2 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Nothing to scare sensitive toddlers

My daughter is pretty easily frightened by concepts of loss and malice, like Bambi's mother getting shot or the wicked stepmother trying to poison Snow White. She loves this movie and nothing about it upsets her.

Educator and Parent of a 5 and 7 year old Written bycelinac January 29, 2010
AGE
4
QUALITY
 

A mostly middling effort for Disney. Redeemed by terrific work from its voice cast and some jazzy tunes.

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