Alice in Wonderland

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Alice in Wonderland Movie Poster Image
Surreal animated Disney classic with mild peril.
  • G
  • 1951
  • 75 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 24 reviews

Kids say

age 4+
Based on 30 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational value

Could spark kids' interest in the book upon which the movie is based.

Positive messages

Alice explains that she gives herself good advice but doesn't listen to it. She also talks about having to learn to do what's right. The caterpillar makes Alice think about who she is and how she can "grow" to meet the challenges that Wonderland throws her way. The walrus says "nothing is impossible." Alice stands up to the tyrannical queen. 

Positive role models & representations

Alice is a role model for perseverance. She doggedly finds a way to get out of Wonderland, but not before she defends what’s right. She also demonstrates curiosity by going down the hole and eating and drinking strange foods that could be dangerous

Violence & scariness

Alice nearly drowns in her own tears. In one sequence, oysters are lured to a kitchen, where they're killed. The enchanted flowers throw Alice out of the garden, thinking she's a weed. Alice grows so tall she nearly destroys Rabbit's house. The Queen of Hearts is a murderous tyrant and frequently sentences her subjects (and Alice) to death, shouting "Off with her head!" dozens of times. During Alice's show-trial, the Queen says "sentence first, verdict later." She sets her army of cards to chase after Alice.

Sexy stuff
Language

Characters (usually Alice) use mild insults like "barbarian," "stupidest," "poo," and "fat, pompous, bad-tempered old tyrant." The enchanted flowers call Alice a "weed."

Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

The Caterpillar is shown smoking a hookah in every scene he's in. The smoke billows up in Alice's face and makes her cough and sneeze. Two other characters are shown smoking a pipe.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Disney's classic animated interpretation of Lewis Carroll's tale Alice in Wonderland is a great "starter" Alice for younger kids before moving on to more mature and theatrical versions, like Tim Burton’s trippy 2010 adventure. Disney's 7-year-old Alice embarks on a colorful journey that does include some mild violence (especially when she meets the sadistic Queen of Hearts) and taunting language like "stupidest" and "fat." Three animal characters smoke either a pipe or, in the case of the caterpillar, a hookah.

User Reviews

Parent Written byLKinBC August 10, 2012

Disappointing- a bit strange and scary for little kids

My kids found this movie quite scary, which suprised me as I had checked the rating here. It is a bit strange and scary fairly near the beginning and my kids (3...
Parent Written bymom2twogirls1boy January 15, 2010

Great for Young Children

As a relatively conservative parent when it comes to what I will allow my children to watch, I give this one two thumbs up. Although I could have done without...
Kid, -1 years old June 17, 2010
its cool so cool agian and the best wbsite ever thanks smiley miley
Kid, 11 years old November 22, 2009

What's the story?

ALICE IN WONDERLAND, the children's classic by Lewis Carroll about the girl who falls down a rabbit hole, is presented by Disney in this lively and tuneful version. Alice is reading with her sister when she sees a white rabbit, fully dressed, muttering about being late. She follows him down a rabbit hole to Wonderland, where she grows bigger and smaller, meets the Cheshire Cat, attends a mad tea party, talks to a caterpillar who puffs on a hookah, and triumphs over the Queen of Hearts, before finding that it was all a dream.

Is it any good?

Kids may enjoy the movie's silly characters, like the Mad Hatter and March Hare (especially the celebration of "unbirthdays"), and the tantrums of the despotic Queen of Hearts. Like another perennial favorite, The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland is the story of a girl who thinks she wants to go somewhere exciting, but, once she gets there, spends the entire time trying to find her way home. Wonderland may be different and exciting, but its inhabitants are often rude and unfriendly, even hostile.

It's worth noting that Alice does just about everything we tell kids not to do, including going off with strangers and eating and drinking things that may be dangerous. She acknowledges her mistakes in a song that kids will relate to: "I Give Myself Very Good Advice (But I Very Seldom Follow It)."

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the dreamy world Alice finds herself in Alice in Wonderland. Which of these wild characters is your favorite? Why do they celebrate un-birthdays in Wonderland? Could you celebrate one right now? Why does Alice sing the song "I Give Myself Very Good Advice (But I Very Seldom Follow It)"? When did you give yourself good advice and not follow it?

  • Families can talk about how this original version differs from Time Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010) starring Johnny Depp, or how it differs from Lewis Carroll's original work.

  • How does Alice demonstrate curiosity and perseverance in Alice in Wonderland? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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