A Little Princess Movie Poster Image

A Little Princess



Wonderful adaptation of classic book; some scary moments.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1995
  • Running Time: 97 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Tolerance of individual differences. Sara is accepting of everyone, including the "nerdy" girl at school, and befriends the young African-American maid before she begins working with her. Sara also believes that "all girls are princesses" and repeats this phrase throughout the movie. Major themes include communication, compassion, empathy, and gratitude.

Positive role models

Sara is kind and imaginative. She tries to befriend everyone in her school, including the "nerdy" girl and the African-American servant who's shunned by everyone else. She uses her imagination to cope with tremendous difficulties, including the perceived death of her father on a World War I battlefield and her subsequent descent into poverty.

Violence & scariness

Difficult loss of Sara's father. Battle scenes with explosions in the background and dead bodies strewn over trenches. Neighbor finds out his son has died in the war. Mention of early death of Sara's mother. Scary escape scene where Sara almost falls from a great height.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

School girls find a bottle of alcohol in the headmistress' office.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that A Little Princess includes images of war with dead men strewn about trenches and explosions in the background. Sara loses her father in one of the battles and mourns him for much of the movie. Her mother also is dead. One scary scene shows Sara almost falling to her death. Sara is a remarkable character, however. She sticks up for herself and others at all times and captivates all the school girls with her imaginative stories.

What's the story?

In A LITTLE PRINCESS, motherless Sara Crewe (Liesel Matthews) is brought to Miss Minchin's boarding school by her father, who's heading off to war. She is the brightest girl in the school, with exquisite manners, but her odd fancies and her father's lavish provisions for her make the other girls uncomfortable or jealous. Her only friend in the school is Ermengarde (Heather DeLoach), a pudgy girl who has trouble with her lessons and is very grateful for Sara's attentions. Sara also befriends Becky (Vanessa Lee Chester), a scullery maid. When Captain Crewe is thought dead and his assets seized, Miss Minchin goes from doting on her to giving her the servant's quarters in the attic next to Becky.

Is it any good?


Based on the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett published in 1905, Alfonso Cuaron's adaptation has an appealing combination of magic, drama, boarding school bullies, and a resilient orphan. This probably made Cuaron a shoe-in for the job of directing the third Harry Potter movie a few years later.

Unlike Cedric in Little Lord FauntleroyA Little Princess' Sara Crewe can't be accused of being perfect, though she is not as deliciously unlikable as Mary in The Secret Garden. It takes her a long time to lose her temper and snap at Ermengarde, but she does, and she almost gives up hope. Although Sara is desperately hungry, she gives almost all her food to a beggar child who is even hungrier. Note the way that her compassion inspires others; the baker who watches her give the buns to the beggar child is so moved that she gives the child a home.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Sara's empathy and compassion for others in A Little Princess. Why are stories so important to her? How do they help her deal with her sadness? How do the stories she tells relate to what's going on in her life?

  • What challenges do you see in adapting a book like this into a movie?

  • What parts of life in the boarding school seem like they could be part any other school at any other time, and what parts of life there seem like they were very much part of the early twentieth century?

  • How does Sara demonstrate communication and gratitude in A Little Princess? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 10, 1995
DVD/Streaming release date:September 15, 1998
Cast:Camilla Belle, Eleanor Bron, Liam Cunningham
Director:Alfonso Cuaron
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Book characters, Friendship, Great girl role models
Character strengths:Communication, Compassion, Empathy, Gratitude
Run time:97 minutes
MPAA rating:G

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Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008
Adult Written bySirenStar November 4, 2011

Amazing family movie!! I'm 24 and still "believing in the magic"!!

I saw this movie when it first came to video when I was about 7. I loved it!! So many positive messages in the movie: friendship, treating everyone as equals, sticking up for what you believe in, never giving up, staying strong during hardships, teamwork, caring for the less fortunate, and staying young at heart. I would even say this movie is mildly educational for the fact it encourages children to use their imagination. I think 6 and under would need parental guidance for the war scene and the 10 headed demon Ravana in Sara's story; neither personally scared me, but they might scare sensitive children. Perfect movie for ALL princesses, and even princes too!! ^_^
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 16 years old Written bychartergirl July 31, 2009

one of my favorite movies

This movie was really sad but amazing at the same time.i cried about 8 or 9 times and i NEVER cry at movies.....until now!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models


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