Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper



Updated fable features romance; a few positive messages.
  • Review Date: July 8, 2013
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 85 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

The movie features singing and an interest in science, which could inspire those interests in young viewers, and draws attention to class inequality.

Positive messages

Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper offers positive messages about loving people just as they are, the insignificance of material things or wealth, the power of friendship, and the importance of following one's dreams.

Positive role models

The characters in Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper are largely positive, but fairly one-dimensional: the kind princess, the dreamer, the concerned mother, the evil henchman. Most of the characters in Barbie's world strive to be good people who do the right thing.

Violence & scariness

There is very mild violence and some suspenseful stretches. In one scene, Princess Anneliese is kidnapped and locked up. In a later scene, she and friend Julian are trapped in a mine shaft with rising water that threatens to drown them. There's some slapstick used elsewhere -- a character is bonked on the head, another is tripped on purpose.

Sexy stuff

No innuendo, but the plot is largely driven by the fact that the princess is destined to be married to someone she does not love, and the growing romance between the pauper and the king.

Not applicable

Other Barbie movies are advertised prior to the feature.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper involves some kidnapping, and for a spell, a mother's belief that her daughter is dead. It also takes the familiar fable and gives it a significantly more fairy tale-like ending with this romance-driven plot, though it does throw in a few modern updates. 

What's the story?

Two girls, a blonde princess Annaliese and a brunette pauper Erika (both voiced by Kelly Sheridan) look identical, but could not be more different in backgrounds. A chance meeting leads to an unlikely friendship, but when a scheming royal advisor, Preminger, plots to kidnap Annaliese and then "rescue" her to worm his way into the queen's heart, the women's similarities suddenly become essential to unraveling his evil plot.

Is it any good?


Barbie movies seem stuck in a limited approach to girl entertainment, often drawing on extremely traditional models and trying to update them. They almost succeed: Here, Princess Anneliese and Erika are both interested in things outside of their roles as princesses or servants (science and singing), and the film makes a point to show them making room for those interests, and even putting them first over romance, for a moment. But the big finish still centers around them pairing off, fairy-tale style.

Kids will enjoy the castle stand-in for the Barbie dreamhouse, the funny cat who barks, and the suspense of the swapped identities. The animation quality is expected for 2004, and much improved from previous Barbie films. Parents may appreciate attention drawn to class inequality, and the precious few scenes focusing on girls liking science, books, and less passive pursuits.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the class differences between the Princess Anneliese and Erika. How are there lives different? How are they the same?

  • Princess Anneliese enjoyed gemology, the study of different gemstones. Have you ever looked at rocks or gems and tried to identify the different types? 

  • The film underscores the importance of following your dreams, whether in art or science. What are your dreams for when you grow up? What would you like to be?

Movie details

DVD release date:September 28, 2004
Cast:Kelly Sheridan
Director:William Lau
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Princesses and fairies, Friendship
Run time:85 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper was written by

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


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Fantastic princess adventure is fun, with great messages.
  • Disneyfied but dignified tale of Chinese warrior.
  • First African-American Disney princess is a good role model.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 11, 16, and 17 year old Written byBrittanySnow August 24, 2013


It gives them the whole feel to a fantasy life. My daughter loved it when she was younger. It is the best barbie movie ever! Under 2s wouldn't understand this.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written byApplesauce Doctor August 17, 2013

Barbie at her Best

An excellent Barbie movie, with great characters, interesting story, and positive messages.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byAriaSaeryen July 14, 2013

My very favorite movie!

This is an outstanding movie with great role models, especially Erika. Young girls are encouraged to follow their dreams. The characters are all likeable (or hate-able) and the scenery is fantastic. This has been my favorite movie since I first saw it at age 8. The only thing that's a concern is one time when two characters get trapped in a gold mine (they escape). I would recommend this for everyone. Positive Messages: Wonderful messages about following one's dreams. Positive Role Models: The two protagonists are very good role models. They have a sense of doing what's right and follow their dreams. They are very polite. Violence: Mild. A mean dog chases a cat. Later, that same cat gets captured. A henchman of the main antagonist punches and insults the other. A princess is kidnapped. Two characters are trapped in a mine collapse and a queen believes her daughter to be dead. No actual deaths. Sex: Very mild. One character confesses that she loves another one. A couple hugs. Two characters sing a love song together. Language: Very mild. The main antagonist calls his minions "moron" and "idiot". Consumerism: Part of the Barbie franchise, though I personally think Barbie's a better role model than the world makes her out to be. Drugs: Not a concern.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide