Parents' Guide to

A Bug's Life

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 5+

Cute animated tale with some mild peril and scary bugs.

Movie G 1998 95 minutes
A Bug's Life Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 7+

Based on 42 parent reviews

age 7+

Don’t know how it got a G rating

This is actually the first time Common Sense has led me astray. We showed this to my just turned 5 yr old son based on this rating and he was pretty scared throughout the whole movie and continues to talk about how scary it was. The grasshoppers look, sound, and act vicious and cruel. It’s extremely violent. There are full on fist fighting, so much that the cartoon ant has a black eye and bruises. They torture ants while others look on. Hopper, the lead grasshopper threatens to kill his own brother, does kill another fellow grasshopper, threatens to kill the ants, including the very young/baby one. Spoiler: he then gets fed to baby birds in a graphic screaming/flailing way. It was disturbing on many levels even as an adult. I honestly don’t understand why these choices are made for young kids. The overall message could be good, don’t keep doing something because it’s always been done that way, embrace new ideas, celebrate your individualism, etc. but all that to us was overshadowed by the violence.

This title has:

Too much violence
5 people found this helpful.
age 9+


This is an adult movie masquerading as a kids' movie because it involves animated insects rather than live-action people. The main character gets violently beaten to the ground and is bruised and unable to get up, and then his head is about to get squashed, there's lots of talk about murdering the queen, the antagonist is slowing fed alive to baby birds, the antagonist murders one of his followers, the queen has a boy toy who is going to rub her down with lotion. It was just awful. My husband and I cringed at each other over our kids' heads.

This title has:

Too much violence
5 people found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (42):
Kids say (63):

You'll need to see this delightful movie twice to appreciate the scope of its visual wit and technological mastery. Oddly enough, this wasn't the only computer-animated movie about bugs to come out in the fall of 1998; Antz was released just a month before, and the difference between the two animated bug movies is exemplified by their lead characters. Antz has Z, voiced by Woody Allen as -- well -- Woody Allen, angst-ridden, in analysis, searching for individual identity in a world of conformity. A Bug's Life has NewsRadio's Dave Foley providing his voice as Flik, an All-American ant-next-door type who is inventive, brave, and loyal.

Helped by outstanding voice talent, the rest of the movie's characters are quirky and endearing enough to make you forget they are computer-animated. Lending their voices are Seinfeld's Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Phyllis Diller, Kevin Spacey, Spin City's Richard Kind, Frasier's David Hyde Pierce, and John Ratzenberger of Cheers. Antz was largely brown, but this movie uses a paintbox of color to produce stunning images with luminous tones.

Movie Details

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.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate