Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

Family movie night? There's an app for that

Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.

Parents' Guide to

Courage Mountain

By Scott G. Mignola, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

A ridiculous retelling of the Heidi story.

Movie PG 1989 94 minutes
Courage Mountain Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 12+

Dark Movie

The character for Heidi was not at all accurate to the original Heidi's personality. She lacks joy and is quite selfish. The rating of this movie is inaccurate. There is a good bit of sexual connotations. The milkman starts kissing a loosely dressed woman and enters her home. It has a bad message in that Heidi excuses this immorality by saying that there is nothing wrong with it because they "Love each other." There is also a scene in which young girls are in their underclothes and also there are a few flashes of statues of naked men. At the end there is a little peck on the mouth between Heidi and Peter.
age 12+

A bit dark for younger viewers

Enjoyed it but be aware [SPOILERS] that it features a scene with kids picking their way through a WWI battlefield strewn with dead soldiers. The bodies are somewhat off-camera, but here and there you can see a leg or the back of a head (with the rest of the body obscured by dirt or a wagon or whatever - there aren't "body parts," it's just that they only show part of each dead soldier). The girls scavenge among the dead for clothing. This scene is unnecessarily long, as well as entirely unnecessary. There is also a quick shot of a child's skeleton in a sewer, and repeated references to how the villain would likely put a child down there if he wanted to get rid of the child. Two villains also discuss that when they capture a group of children they are going to (and here, they draw their finger across their necks, and say "KRRRRCKT!!"). My youngest viewer didn't understand the reference, but older ones will. The movie culminates with the villain dragging a group of girls away to an isolated place, because he intends to murder them. He offhandly mentions that they should see the fantastic view "before they die," and the girls all begin screaming. They are rescued, but not before the audience is shown a screaming human fall a half mile to his death. The body bounces down the mountain and only the final impact isn't shown. No blood, but intense. I'd save this film for ages 12 and up.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (4 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

For young viewers, there are hints of a good story here. There's Heidi, a spunky girl who isn't afraid to stand up for what's right. There's also a loving grandfather, and a caring schoolmistress who helps Heidi adjust to her strange new surroundings and taunting schoolmates. Spice that up with a little love and war and a dangerous trek across the Swiss Alps, and it sounds downright palatable. But a hundred years ago, author Johanna Spyri probably didn't foresee her beloved children's character Heidi growing up, going to boarding school, breaking out of a Dickensian orphanage, and being pursued across the Swiss Alps by a gun-toting madman. Why somebody else did is something of a mystery.

The main issue in COURAGE MOUNTAIN is the implausible script, which is emphasized at times by some heavy-handed direction. The movie's villain is so vile, so dastardly, that he puts Around the World in 80 Days' Phileas Fogg and Babes in Toyland's Barnaby both to shame. His gruel-powered sweatshop of an orphanage would be funny if it wasn't so out of place. That he gets his comeuppance in a fairly gruesome manner is sure to delight children. For star power there's Charlie Sheen, who should be Swiss but makes no attempt to disguise his Hollywood accent. That's okay. This one's for the girls, who will find him dreamy in his Italian army uniform and impeccable haircut. Youth passes too quickly. Let them have their fun.

Movie Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

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