Azur & Asmar: The Princes' Quest Movie Poster Image

Azur & Asmar: The Princes' Quest

Foreign fairy tale teaches cultural understanding.
Parents recommend
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 99 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The movie doesn't shy away from prejudice. At first, Azur and Crapoux talk endlessly about how awful/terrible/ugly the "land across the sea" is and how their country is much better. Azur won't open his blue eyes at first, because people think blue eyes are a curse. Azur's nobleman father is cruel to Jenane and Asmar, firing them and throwing them off his property. But eventually the two main characters, who were raised as brothers despite their different skin color and culture, collaborate and save each other's lives.

Violence & scariness

Scenes of animated peril include characters being stabbed, falling to their deaths off cliffs, being tied up, fighting with swords, and having to overcome dangerous obstacles.

Sexy stuff

Azur and Asmar each want to fall in love with the Djinn Fairy. Several couples dance and embrace. While it's not sexual, there is a glimpse of Jenane breastfeeding baby Asmar.


Mild insults -- "idiot," "stupid" -- and taunting language: "I'm more handsome than you," "Your blue eyes are ugly," etc.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this French production's English-language version tackles issues of race, gender, class, and religion. Despite being set centuries ago, the story deals with more mature themes than many other animated films. The two main characters must overcome dangerous obstacles to save a fairy princess, all the while struggling with discrimination and cultural insensitivity. The majority of characters speak Arabic, and one character loves to point out everything that's "ugly" and "terrible" about the land's language and the people. Violence, while animated, is mostly realistic looking, with characters dueling, falling off cliffs, and facing trials of peril. The language includes mild insults and bigoted/superstitious remarks.

What's the story?

In this English-language edition of an acclaimed, animated French production, the two titular characters, Azur (voiced by Steven Kynman) and Asmar (Nigel Pilkington), are both raised by Asmar's mother, Jenane (Suzanna Nour). Azur is a nobleman's son, and Asmar is the Arabic-speaking nanny's son. Despite being from opposite worlds, the two act like brothers until the lord of the house kicks Asmar and Jenane out and sends Azur to boarding school. Years later, Azur -- who believes Asmar and Jenane are dead -- travels to "the land across the sea," where he's determined to find and liberate the Djinn Fairy, an imprisoned fairy princess Jenane used to tell the boys about when they were young. When Azur arrives with his cursed blue eyes, he must overcome local superstition and his own bigotry to find the fairy -- something other adventurous suitors are also trying to do.

Is it any good?


Although the animation itself is quite stylized, the film's story and colors are original and beautiful. It's rare to find a children's film that tackles issues of race, class, and religion head-on, without sugar-coating them. There's nothing subtle about the way Crapoux, Azur's companion, trash-talks the Arabic language, the local superstitions, and the people themselves. Late in the film, when Azur and Asmar are reunited and accomplish their goal together, the story proves that underneath all of our differences, we're all the same. It's a lovely message and adds to why the whole family will enjoy this memorable adventure.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's take on cultural prejudice. In what ways do Azur and Asmar have to overcome discrimination? The film takes modern issues of race, class, and gender and applies them to an old story. Is it effective? How does the character Crapoux learn his lesson? Kids: What do you think about the film's twist on the standard "happily every after" ending?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 17, 2008
DVD/Streaming release date:March 17, 2009
Cast:Nigel Pilkington, Steven Kynman, Suzanna Nour
Director:Michel Ocelot
Studio:Weinstein Co.
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Adventures, Book characters
Run time:99 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:thematic material, some mild action and peril.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byCharade April 1, 2011

Refreshing, poetic, beautiful!

(As a frenchspeaker family, we watched "Azur & Asmar" in its original soundtrack.) With this movie, we discovered and enjoyed a new rythm, a new tone, a new aesthetic, a new way to tell a story, far away from the "all-the-same" movies we usually watch. Refreshing, poetic, beautiful!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educational value
Great messages
Parent of a 5 and 7 year old Written byStillman December 22, 2011

Beautiful film

This movie is done in beautiful colors but the animation is very different from what most are used to. My sons LOVE this movie. I think the messages are good. It's nice to see an animated movie where the "princes" are center stage.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Parent Written byDecaturMamma July 10, 2010

RAVISHING Visuals and An Outstanding Story

This French animated film is extremely popular at our house-- we've rented it 3-4 times and checked it out of the library twice. I just have to give in and buy our own copy. Both my children love it, as do my husband and I. It is the story of two boys who are raised by the same woman, mother to one and nanny to the other. They are like brothers when they are small and are later separated. Many adventures later, they are reunited and must get over their initial resentments to return to their former love for each other and to complete their quest for the Djinn Fairy. This story, on its own, is visually stunning, and an excellent adventure tale. It has peril, magic, friendship, prejudice (overcome), persistence, and wisdom. However, it is so much more: an allegory about tolerance and believing in yourself and following your own path. Watch it and fall in love.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models