Balto

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Balto Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Brave dog saves kids in fun but tense fact-based film.
  • G
  • 1995
  • 78 minutes

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 26 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Since the movie is based on a true story, kids will learn some lessons about the role dogs play in Alaska's rural communities.

Positive Messages

Positive themes of friendship, acceptance of those who are different, bravery, and selflessness.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Friends help each other save the day. Their friendship is almost as important as the main character's heroic deeds, because they encourage him to believe in himself.

Violence & Scariness

This adventure contains plenty of peril: from dogs falling off of snowy cliffs to children who are so ill that their lives hang in the balance. We see small coffins being fit for those kids who might not make it through the epidemic. Dogs growl and fight. Some kids will be scared of Steele, the bully, and the grizzly bear. There are also bonks on the head given for comedic effect.

Sexy Stuff

Some flirtatious behavior between dogs. "I know where all of the bones are buried," says Steele to Jenna when he is trying to get her to go out with him.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there are thrills aplenty in Balto, an animated adventure based on a true story about rural Alaskan kids with a serious illness. Youngest viewers might not understand the threat that looms over the town, but older kids will get the gravity of the situation when they see small coffins being fit for those kids who might not make it through the epidemic. Dogs growl and fight and are in peril; some kids will be scared of Steele, the bully, and the grizzly bear. On the positive side, the movie promotes acceptance and reinforces the value of friendship.

Wondering if Balto is OK for your kids?

Parents: Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 5 and 9-year-old Written bykaloren June 12, 2011

Great family adventure

This is a great movie about helping others and courage. Yet, it can get really scary with dogs figting and coffins that are kid sized. Be sure your kids are re... Continue reading
Adult Written bydpsg January 9, 2010
It's a feel good movie in the end. I got it based on the write-up here that did not mention how much tension there is. There are some scary parts (for ev... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byWhy1379 June 1, 2020

Not a review

Had to say this someone litrally said nudity in a dog movie. THERE DOGS! they dont were clothes
Teen, 13 years old Written byChristianSoldier May 7, 2020

This will not be completely on the movie: heads up!

The movie was really nice, and Balto's character was very likeable. No more violence than the average 8 year-old can handle. (To be on the super-safe side,... Continue reading

What's the story?

Based on a true story, BALTO centers on a brave dog who saved the lives of Alaskan children with diphtheria when he brought medicine to them through the snow. Half wolf, half domesticated dog, Balto (voiced by Kevin Bacon) has a hard time fitting in with either species. A jealous rival frames Balto for theft, ensuring that Balto will not be chosen to lead a rescue mission. But when the rescue party gets lost, Balto steps in to save the day, with the help of his friends, a Russian goose (voice of Bob Hoskins) and two polar bears (both voice of pop star Phil Collins).

Is it any good?

Though it's not the most original or beautifully animated kids' movie out there, Balto is engaging, and kids will probably be quite entertained. There are some good laughs, and the voice performances are well done. Be aware that there is some peril and scary scenes involving the mean dog Steele and a grizzly bear encounter. Kids may also get upset when they see the small coffins that are being made for kids who might not survive the epidemic. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Balto's struggle to fit in. Was it fair of the other dogs not to accept him? Can you think of examples this type of unfair judgment that you've witnessed?

  • How did Balto's friends help him in difficult times? Are your friends there for you when you're having problems?

  • How could you find out more about the dog who inspired this movie?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animal movies

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate