Beautiful, not factual depiction of missing Russian duchess.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Review Date: May 19, 2003
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1997
  • Running Time: 94 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Beautiful animation depicts simple sights, sounds, and culture of Europe in the early 20th century. The movie shows the geographical connection between Paris and Moscow, as well. Though based on overthrown Romanov royalty at the time of the Russian Revolution, this tale of Anastasia is a fairy tale rather than factual.


Positive messages

Fairy tales can come true. Goodness and perseverance are rewarded. Evil is destroyed by courage, honesty, and doing the right thing. Life is full of choices; make good ones and never give up hope.

Positive role models

Anastasia is a thoroughly modern, courageous role model for girls. She's feisty, honest, stands up for herself at all costs, and is effective even in the most dangerous of physical pursuits. Dimitri, the young hero, is her equal and they work together to achieve their goals. Though Dimitri is not 100 percent honest early on, his true goodness and loyalty surface by the finale.


Violence & scariness

Anastasia faces a powerful enemy (often appearing as a rotting corpse) who has placed a mighty curse on her and her family. Cartoon danger in several sequences: the fiery destruction of a castle and its surroundings; a runaway train on fire, as it heads for a crumbling bridge; the heroine sleepwalking on a ship in torrential rains, precariously in danger of being thrown into the sea. After a scary attack, Anastasia believes Dimitri is dead, but he awakens almost immediately. In one scene the young princess slaps her "prince charming" in anger.


Sexy stuff

A young woman and a young man fall in love over the course of the film, kiss at the end.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Anatasia is a very romantic, fun, animated fairy tale about a long-lost princess and her quest to find her family and rightful place in history, but it's intercut with scenes in which the evil Rasputin attempts to kill the young heroine. Thus, Anastasia and her helpmates are often in great danger (i.e., a runaway train, a fall into a raging sea). In many of the villain-centered scenes (which young or very sensitive kids might find scary) Rasputin's body comes apart and he's surrounded by green bats, dark music, and crashing noise.

What's the story?

In this retelling of the mystery surrounding Russian Tsar Nicholas II's daughter, little Anastasia and her adored grandmother (voice of Angela Lansbury) are separated after escaping the execution of the royal family during the Russian Revolution. Years later, "Anna" (voice of Meg Ryan), who remembers nothing of her early years, leaves the orphanage where she has been raised and goes off in search of her family. She's discovered by a couple of con men who have been searching for a young woman they can pass off as Anastasia, to get a reward from the dowager grandmother, who now lives in Paris. They convince her that they are just trying to help her find out whether she is in fact the missing Anastasia, never suspecting that she really is. Trying to stop her is the evil spectre Rasputin, who becomes so angry that pieces of his face and body fall off and have to be reapplied.

Is it any good?


A sumptuous (if completely inaccurate) animated story about Anastasia, this movie will captivate kids and their families. The animators learned their craft at Disney, and it shows. Other than the mostly forgettable score, the production is first-class, with an appealing heroine, exciting action, glamorous settings, and a tender love story.

Anna is smart, brave, and loyal. She is also a rare leading lady who vanquishes the bad guy on her own. This film may prompt older kids to learn more about the real story of the Romanov family.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how Anastasia (as depicted in this film) compares with other royal film characters, such as Princess Fiona of Shrek, and Sleeping Beauty's Princess Aurora.

  • How do you feel about the scary parts of Anastasia? Does the funny bat character Bartok help make the scenes with evil Rasputin easier to watch?

  • Families can also use this film as a springboard into further research about the real Anastasia and Russian history.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 21, 1997
DVD release date:February 19, 2002
Cast:John Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, Meg Ryan
Directors:Don Bluth, Gary Goldman
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Princesses and fairies, Adventures
Run time:94 minutes
MPAA rating:G
MPAA explanation:some scary scenes

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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; OK 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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Adult Written byChristine CSW April 9, 2008

Good Story! Great Music! Beware the villain!

Let me begin by saying that this movie was very enjoyable. The music/lyrics, written by Flaherty/Ahrens, is often like listening to a Broadway show. (These writers also wrote Broadway's 1990's "Ragtime".) The voices of the singers are also from Broadway (Liz Callaway as Anastasia.)The musical numbers are all upbeat and fun. My 2 year-old loved the group numbers with all of the dancing and lots of movement on the screen. Even Rasputan's song is written to sound "happy" - somewhat like feeling of The Haunted House in Disneyworld. The plot is intriguing,and actually inspired me to find out more about this true story. Did Anastasia actually survived the execution of her entire family? I recently saw this movie at a theatre during a summer movie festival. I took my young 2 year-old and young 4 year-old to see it. Though I had seen Anastasia years ago when it was in the theatres the first time, I had forgotten all about the Villian and the opening scene. The Villian, Rasputan, is introduced in the opening scene where he puts a curse on the royal family. The family is then executed, off screen. This entire sequence can be scary for young children. Rasputan is then seen next (and throughout the movie) as a decaying body hanging in the balance between heaven/hell. (This is not specifically mentioned, but we are led to believe it.) Though it is portrayed as humorous when his whithered hand falls off, or when his little "demon/bug" friends sing "In the Dark of the Night" this can also be scary for little ones. I laughed it off with my kids so they wouldn't get upset. "Look, the silly man's hand fell off!" I found myself wide eyed as I watched those few scenes hoping my kids wouldn't freak out. They both made it through, albeit on my lap and tucked under my arm. My 2 year old sat still for 90% of it and my 4 year watched the whole thing. However, in hindsight, I probably would have waited until they were at least over 5. Use your judgement with your own kids. Mine aren't having nightmares, but if they did, I could see why! Overall, we really liked it. We are playing the soundtrack at home as a reminder of a fun day at the movies.
Parent of a 3 and 6 year old Written byTTU03Grad April 28, 2011

Inappropriate for young children!!

This movie was NOT what I expected. Given it's "G" rating, I didn't think twice before letting my 3 and 6 year olds watch it. We turned it off within 15 minutes. Way too many creepy, evil scenes! Very dark for a movie marketed to kids.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written bysara_rose April 13, 2009

Love it!!

I'm fourteen and i absoulutely love this movie and I watch it over and over and over! I do have some concerns about it though. The plot can be too complicated for little kids to understand and some parts can be too scary. Some of the parts are wasted on little kids. I watch it with my 5 year old brother and some parts of the movie frightened him. Still, it's a great movie! The music is fun and something you can enjoy and sing along to. Liz Callaway was perfect for Anastasias singing voice! She has such a beautiful voice and has been on broadway many times. The characters were well defined and enjoyable. Never too old to enjoy this movie!


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