• Review Date: July 15, 2003
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1994
  • Running Time: 94 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Sweet story of a shy girl and a seal.
  • Review Date: July 15, 2003
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1994
  • Running Time: 94 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Tolerance of people who are different.

Violence & scariness

Fistfight. A young boy seems to kill Andre with a shotgun, and there's lots of threatened violence against the seal by the boy's father. Toni in peril, Andre in peril. Toni's dad nearly loses his job.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable

Very mild.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Teenagers caught smoking, Billy gets drunk.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that kids will enjoy this movie, with its adorable, raspberry-blowing, television-loving seal (portrayed by a sea lion), but there's more violence than you would expect for an animal film. Parents will enjoy the soundtrack, filled with '60s oldies.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

A shy little girl from Maine makes friends with a seal in this fact-based story about a seal that swam from Boston to Maine every summer for 24 years. Toni (Tina Majorino) is more comfortable with animals than with kids. Her father, Harry (Keith Carradine), is not very responsible, but he has a real gift for animals, and his wife manages to cope with the chaos and be \"the only grown-up in the house.\" Andre the seal is a delightful playmate, a sensational participant in \"show and tell\" at school, and a courageous life-saver, warning Harry away from a sunken mine when he is scuba-diving and rescuing Toni in a storm. The local fishermen blame the seals for their unusually low catches. One of them, a bitter man who hates Harry and his family, calls the Fish and Wildlife Administration. They send an inspector who insists that Andre must go. Finally, Andre goes to a Boston aquarium. But, set free every summer, he comes back to be with his family.

Is it any good?


Due to its episodic structure, ANDRE THE SEAL feels a bit messy, but this fits with the chaotic life of the Whitney family. The mother is impossibly understanding, the motivations are much too simplistic, and the problems are all resolved a bit too neatly at the end. Andre gets to be in an aquarium and be with the family. And, it turns out that Billy's bitterness is because he envies Harry's family and his job, and that he believes (correctly) that he would be a better harbormaster. So, he gets that job (and, one presumes, then becomes a nice guy), and Harry gets to work for the government on marine protection. Still, kids will most likely enjoy this one because of the magic of a girl befriending a seal, and Andre's irrepressible charm.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how Andre made Toni's life different. Why was Paula so angry with her father? Why did Toni think her father was "magic" with animals? What does it mean to say, "sometimes if you really love someone, you have to let them go"?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 1, 1994
DVD release date:March 12, 2002
Cast:Keith Carradine, Keith Szarabajka, Tina Majorino
Director:George Miller
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Ocean creatures, Wild animals
Run time:94 minutes
MPAA rating:PG

This review of Andre was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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, okay 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 bysagorsch April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

A bouquet of social concepts

I love this depiction of the true story. I used this movie to introduce the social concepts revolving around alcoholism, smoking, sibling rivalry, violence among youth, anger, resolving conflict, use of guns, family ties, peer preasure, teasing, self esteem and more. We've watched this movie several times, sometimes just for sheer entertainment but mostly to discuss concepts born out of the experiences of this little girl, her love for animals and her family.
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
Kid, 9 years old May 30, 2011

very good movie a good friendship for the animals

What other families should know
Educational value


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