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

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 101 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 127 reviews

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 an infant and 2-year-old Written byluckyl8dybug February 14, 2011

Inappropriate inuendos

I have to admit that I didn't even make it through this whole movie. My son is 2.5 and I am not sure when I will allow this one. It was easy for me to figu... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old June 17, 2011


Kid, 12 years old April 4, 2009

Best of Pixar

Pixar has done a lot of cool stuff, but this is just phenomenal! I was surprised by the use of "hell", but the animation is killer!!! The lighting and... Continue reading

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

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love animation

Our editors recommend

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