Banjo the Woodpile Cat

Movie review by
Paul Trandahl, Common Sense Media
Banjo the Woodpile Cat Movie Poster Image
Great animation, so-so story.
  • NR
  • 1982
  • 28 minutes

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Banjo learns life lessons and learns to overcome obstacles.

Violence & Scariness

Rats and vicious dogs harass Banjo.

Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Examples of Banjo's misbehavior include smoking a pipe and sampling a mug of beer.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie has lavish visuals and beautiful character animation, the somewhat syrupy story will probably entrance only the very young. There are some intense themes here: Banjo feels misunderstood and experiences mild peril alone in the city. More sensitive children may be disturbed by Banjo's separation from his family. The ideal age group for this movie is grade-school kids. Most will be able to identify with Banjo who constantly gets into trouble for misbehaving. Older children may still enjoy it, but 11- and 12-year olds may find the simple story too sentimental for their tastes.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bynduns January 6, 2009

A good first film for Don Bluth

Though amazing tame for a Bluth production. The visuals might be a bit too extreme for a really little kid, but the film is very sweet and Banjo himself is ado... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

Young cat Banjo, living on a country farm with his mother, father and two sisters, has a knack for getting into trouble. When Banjo's father threatens punishment, Banjo, feeling misunderstood and unloved, runs away. He hops onto a delivery truck and heads toward the bright lights of Salt Lake City. City life is exciting at first, but soon becomes more frightening than expected, and Banjo longs to return home. He befriends a streetwise alley cat named Crazy Legs (voiced by Scatman Crothers) who vows to help get him back home. Numerous obstacles need to be overcome before Banjo can return to his comfortable lair.

Is it any good?

After leaving Disney, animator Don Bluth set out to create his own animated films equal in quality to the Disney classics he helped create; to an extent, he succeeded here. BANJO THE WOODPILE CAT is Bluth's first attempt and it has the look of a classic Disney feature of the 1940s. In the scene in which Banjo tries to find shelter during a rainstorm, the animation is tour de force. The animators depict not only the falling rain, but also the raindrop splashes on the ground and the ripples they create in puddles of water.

Where the film falters is in its by-the-numbers story. Banjo runs away, discovers the outside world isn't as wonderful as he thought, and returns home. The filmmakers fail to include the drama and humor necessary to bring Banjo's plight to life. Still, younger viewers should enjoy the cute characters, while not encountering anything too threatening. And parents can heartily approve of the film's "There's no place like home" moral.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why Banjo made the decisions he did. Why did he feel he needed to leave home? Can you see scenes where Banjo's parents showed they loved him, even when he was being disciplined?

Movie details

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