Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
Cars Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Pixar comedy is full of four-wheeled fun.
  • G
  • 2006
  • 116 minutes

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 116 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 172 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Characters learn to appreciate one another's differences. Themes include humility and integrity. Some racial/ethnic stereotypes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Lightning learns the importance of appreciating the differences in everyone.

Violence & Scariness

Car falls off his transport truck, briefly faces "gang" of cars; rip-roaring chase through small town leaves road torn up.

Sexy Stuff

Flirting between cars.


Use of the word "hell."


Tons of merchandise associated with Cars, including toys, food products, and consumer goods. Within the movie, Goodyear tires and NASCAR are featured.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that in Cars, the automobile characters do some pretty raucous racing, careening off walls, trees, and each other. A group of The Fast and the Furious-style vehicles briefly threaten another car. Cars argue with one another, lose their tempers, and look sad or lonely. There's some innocent flirtation between boy and girl cars. Some mild language -- at least one use of "hell." At 116 minutes, it's on the long side for animation and may be too much for some really little kids. But stick around for the closing credits!

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byzan27 April 1, 2011

Name calling used is NOT okay.

The name calling in this movie is not appropriate. I am surprised it is rated G. Here are quotes from the movie:
"You Idiot"
"You Fool"... Continue reading
Parent of a 1 and 3-year-old Written byParental Unit September 14, 2011

Not For Young Kids.

I let my 3.5 year old watch some television, and he's watched a Thomas and Winnie the Pooh movies as well (slow paced but lengthy). We know people who have... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byDeepFriedTwinkie April 27, 2020


Its a good movie for little kids. Besides the part where they mention convertible waitresses. The movie is kind of annoying and predictable . I have to put this... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byModernWarfareGamer May 18, 2020

Pathetic parents

C’mon guys it’s Cars

What's the story?

As his name suggests, Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is all about speed in CARS. A hotshot red stock car who's poised to be the next champion -- Lightning wants to win the coveted Piston Cup. As the movie begins, he hits the track in a race against two legendary race cars. A dead-heat finale sends these three key contenders off to a showdown. Lightning boards his transport truck Mack (John Ratzenberger) and aims west along Route 66, but he's sidetracked when he falls off the truck in a small town where he meets his life teachers, including Sarge the reveille-playing, surplus-selling Jeep (Paul Dooley), Ramone the hyper-detailed lowrider (Cheech Marin), and new best friend, Mater the tow truck (Larry the Cable Guy) provides the requisite proud-to-be-a-redneck jokes. Sentenced to community service, Lightning tries to escape but eventually gives in. Lightning grumbles on the night shift, but by day, he discovers the beauty of the western landscape, all big skies and grand canyons, the sort of mythic imagery that, according to the movie's nostalgia, families once drove across country to consume.

Is it any good?

Colorful and often charming, this film renders its nostalgia for a mythic past via state-of-the-art technologies. But once Lightning settles into the small town, the door opens for marketing opportunities. Cars reframes many youthful fancies as consumable objects, ensuring that movie and NASCAR tie-in products will be in circulation.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the relationship between the old cars and the newer ones in Cars. They have different values. How does the film set up a choice between the current era (selfishness, commercial and celebrity culture run rampant) and a more ethical-seeming past (Doc embodies patience, skill, and dedication to community)?

  • How does Lightning learn to appreciate and also, conveniently, enhance that simpler life?

  • How do the characters in Cars demonstrate humility and integrity? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animation

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

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