Parents' Guide to

Babes in Toyland (1961)

By Renee Longstreet, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 5+

Live-action Mother Goose musical with mild slapstick action.

Movie G 1961 105 minutes
Babes in Toyland (1961) Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 18+

Very misogynistic and racist

Outwardly, it seems like a sweet and simple movie about toys and Mother Goose characters, but unfortunately the time period of this film is reflected in its view of women and “otherness.” There is a song that perpetuates the caricature of the Romani people (known as gypsies at the time). There are also two songs disparaging the female lead, one in which she berates herself for being too dumb to keep a household budget, and one in which the male lead explains to her that she is “just a toy” for his amusement. This movie is awful.
age 4+

Doesn’t have much to do with Christmas

My 5 year old watched this. He has a good attention span for movies, and sat through this thoroughly entertained. I however was a little bored. It’s long! It’s a musical, so there’s dancing and absurdity. Some parts are dated, Mary the main character is the “prize” but not just for her good looks, for her money too! Also, she’s too dumb to figure out her own finances. She sings a song about how dumb she is. (I’m over simplifying) Also there are “gypsies” and yeah that whole segment seems pretty racist.

This title has:

Too much consumerism

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3):
Kids say (1):

This movie offered many features appealing to kids, back when it was released. It had silly inventions, especially one that can shrink people; the lovable Ed Wynn as Toyland's Chief Toymaker; and the participation of some of the 1960s' major pop music stars. However, for today's viewers, this stagy, artificial film feels formulaic and doesn't have the vibrancy, innovation, or magic of the musical movies for families that soon followed (Mary Poppins, Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang). Still, the rosy-cheeked Mother Goose characters, the terrific dance numbers, and the Victor Herbert songs are enough to entertain most kids. As for comedy and slapstick, the 1934 filmed version of this operetta, which featured Laurel and Hardy as the bumbling, villainous sidekicks, is called March of the Wooden Soldiers and is considered the best Toyland of all.

Movie Details

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