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Parents' Guide to


By Pam Gelman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Magic-filled fantasy adventure has monsters, battle scenes.

Movie PG 1988 126 minutes
Willow Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 26 parent reviews

age 12+

Quite a scary opening

A bit of a warning - in the opening scene, the evil queen is trying to kill a newborn girl (because of a prophecy), so she throws all pregnant women to the dungeons and checks every newborn girl for a magic mark. Once the girl is born, the midwife saves her and runs away with her tucked in laundry. The queen then kills the mother (given order - "kill her" followed by a scream) and sends the hounds after the midwife. The midwife manages to hide the girl, but then she's mauled by the hounds (which are actually a cross of wild boar and wolf) - you can see them jumping at her, biting her and then, from the distance, eating her body. We had to stop at this point as my 9yo was shaking and crying. That's the first few minutes of the movie - I know it gets much lighter after that, too bad we didn't get there.
age 18+

Boring +uncalled for sexy stuff+weirdo occult ritual stuff=just watch Lord of the Rings or some Studio Ghibli again

I saw this in the theaters when it came out; that's been a few years so I'd mostly forgotten what it was about. After we saw Warwick Davis in Prince Caspian, this movie came to mind, so we checked the reviews here and rented it. Strike one: banal dialogue and awkward pacing. Strike two: when Val Kilmer is in drag trying to hide from a cuckolded husband, the husband squeezes his "breast" and asks if he "wants to breed." Strike three: the long, long slog through the "ritual" the evil queen performs to neutralize the baby's power, or kill the baby, or make Orcs--I don't know because we finally abandoned ship after the "good guys" stormed the castle. It is somehow both disturbing (in that it looks like a Satanic ritual) and mind-numbingly dull. We all, including our child, are fans of many slow-paced films (Studio Ghibli, though Howl's Moving Castle was slow for them, and pointless to boot), but this bored us all. My only regret is watching as far as we did. My advice is to pass and watch "My Neighbor Totoro" for the younger kids or the Lord of the Rings trilogy for older kids who can handle the scary Orc stuff.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (26 ):
Kids say (11 ):

This beloved 1980s adventure will surely be of interest to any fantasy lover. There's no more violence in Willow than in Harry Potter or Star Wars -- in fact, there's probably less. Directed by Ron Howard and based on a story by George Lucas, it's a great film for kids interested in magical movies.

The story is easy to follow and full of school-age humor, and the two brownies (played by Kevin Pollak and Rick Overton) provide comedy with their slapstick, strange voices, and snappy one-liners. Lucas' fantasy has interesting-looking characters and villages, gothic castles, and, most of all, magic. Don't expect big surprises; it's pretty clear who's good and who's evil. Some kids may want to fast-forward through the fight scenes, but Willow is an excellent choice to give children a taste of fantasy. And hey, if they become fans, they can also watch the TV series, released almost 25 years after the original film.

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