Clifford's Really Big Movie

  • Review Date: August 22, 2004
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 73 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Charming and harmless. Nap while your kid enjoys.
  • Review Date: August 22, 2004
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 73 minutes





What parents need to know

Educational value

Brief looks at life in a carnival and the differences between rural island life and city life.


Positive messages

Misunderstandings can happen and sometimes cause problems. It's better to talk things over than to jump to conclusions. Lying, even about little things, is never a good idea.


Positive role models

Clifford and his friends always have good intentions but make mistakes (even lie when they pretend to be strays) as they set out to win a contest and help Clifford's family. Everyone in the story, even the most selfish and/or resentful characters, learns a valuable lesson. Most grown-ups and parental figures are portrayed positively. There's ethnic diversity throughout.


Violence & scariness

Some cartoon action, pratfalls, and close calls: a cow loses her balance on a tightrope; a smoking runaway car careens down a hillside; Clifford is captured and taken away; guards with nets and lasers chase the heroes through an amusement park. Several falls and bonks -- no one is injured.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable

Clifford the Big Red Dog is a popular toy and programming franchise.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that in this full-length animated movie meant for very young kids, there are a few incidents in which misunderstanding, jealousy, and lying result in mild suspense and jeopardy to the main characters. Little kids may feel sad when Clifford the Big Red Dog and his buddies leave home, when Emily Elizabeth realizes that Clifford is missing, and when Clifford is captured and taken away. But worrisome events resolve quickly; the film has a happy ending; and characters who've misbehaved learn important lessons.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Clifford (voice of the late John Ritter in his last role) lives with Emily Elizabeth and her family on dogbone-shaped Birdwell Island. His best dog friends are T-Bone (voice of Kel Mitchell) and Cleo (voice of Cree Summer). When Clifford overhears Emily Elizabeth's parents talk to a neighbor about how much he eats, Clifford thinks he's too much of a burden for the family and decides that he, T-Bone, and Cleo should join an animal act and compete for a prize of a lifetime supply of pet Tummy Yummies. The animal act includes a trapeze artist ferret named Shackelford (voice of Wayne Brady) and a tightrope-walking cow named Dorothy (voice of Jenna Elfman). They are managed by Larry (voice of Judge Reinhold), who loves them very much but hasn't been able to make the act successful. Their only chance is to win that contest. But, Shackelford says, to do that, they need something big. Enter Clifford.

Is it any good?


Clifford is not just a Big Red Dog; he's a big, red phenomenon, hero of a series of books by Norman Bridwell, an animated PBS series, a live road show and this film, CLIFFORD'S REALLY BIG MOVIE. Clifford is a really, really big red dog, which is part of his appeal to toddlers, who live among giants and are thus drawn to huge, powerful but kind creatures who love children (like Barney). Children also like the way that Clifford explores the world around him, learning gentle lessons about getting along with others and solving problems like finding lost toys and not being afraid of a storm.

The limited animation style looks static on the big screen and the movie is too long for its intended age group, even at just 75 minutes. The story itself is questionable, with Clifford and his friends leaving home without thinking about how upsetting that will be for their families. The song lyrics justifying it are downright unsettling at times; it cannot be wise to sing to children about how "You've got to be lost if you want to be found.... It only gets better after it gets worst / happy ever after needs the scary part first." It's fine to let children know that problems can be solved, but this suggests that they cannot be happy unless they make sure something bad happens first.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how Clifford got the wrong idea by hearing only part of what Emily Elizabeth's parents said about him. What should he have done instead of leaving?


  • How do you think the animated movie version of Clifford compares with the picture book and TV versions of Clifford stories? 

  • Is it ever OK to lie or to leave home without talking to your family about what's wrong.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 23, 2004
DVD release date:August 24, 2004
Cast:John Goodman, John Ritter, Wayne Brady
Director:Robert Ramirez
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Book characters, Cats, dogs, and mice, Friendship
Run time:73 minutes
MPAA rating:G
MPAA explanation:all audiences

This review of Clifford's Really Big Movie was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

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

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bylostremote April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Made my kid cry

We bought this movie without seeing it first thinking that it's Clifford and can't be too harmful! There is a part in the movie where Clifford and the gang leave in the middle of the night to join a traveling animal show. My 3 year-old daughter cries every time she sees this (she has watched the movie 4 times) I try to skip past this part, but usually don't get to the remote fast enough. Emily Elizabeth doesn't know that Clifford is leaving and this really upsets my daughter. I would recommend this for kids older than three (maybe 4 or 5)who can understand the themes better.
Teen, 15 years old Written byCartoonaholic_C... April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Good, it's not boring. Live a little!

Come on, rapscallions, live a little! This movie is good, not boring! That Barney movie (Barney's Great Adventure) isn't lame, also good!!! Live a little, why don't you? :)
Kid, 10 years old April 9, 2012

Best kid movie ever!!!

Clifford's really big movie is a great movie from a very big red dog! I saw this in theaters and I couldn't wait to get it on dvd. This movie is great for kids. But, there are some scenes that might scare little kids. One scene is so heart breaking. When Clifford leaves Birdwell Island with Cleo and T-Bone. The song Until I Go is a sad song for kids. ''You gotta get lost if you wanna be found, you got to wind up to get unwound. Things only look up from down below, and I can't come home until I go.'' says to children you can get lost for these reasons and things only look up some times. ''It only gets better after it gets worse'' and the rest of the lyrics go on, kids learn bad things about getting lost. But for the whole movie part, it's the best!
What other families should know
Too much violence


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