Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! Movie Poster Image

Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!

Four classic Seuss animated TV specials.
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1970
  • Running Time: 30 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Birds are portrayed as gossiping and lazy. Possitive lessons about how much even the smallest voice and smallest person matters, and dedication to protect living things and fulfill promises.

Violence & scariness

Very little and of the cartoonish variety -- Wickersham brothers threaten to boil the dust speck and cage Horton. In a throwaway gag in Horton Hatches the Egg, a Peter Lorre look-alike fish fatally shoots himself in the head. Two lands are on the verge of disaster in the inconclusive finale of The Butter Battle Book.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable


Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that kids will see some cartoonish violence. Most notably, some characters cage Horton and almost throw the dust-speck world he discovers in a cauldron of boiling water. There are three more stories on the 2008 DVD: The Butter Battle Book (1989), Daisy-Head Mayzie (1995), and Horton Hatches the Egg. These three tales range in tone from light-hearted to heavy. Horton Hatches the Egg is the most kid-friendly, though it unfortunately ends with a throwaway gag where a fish shoots himself in the head. Preschoolers should enjoy the simplicity of the stories and the Seussian wordplay, although the dark messages, such as mutual destruction (The Butter Battle Book), and loneliness (Daisy-Headed Mayzie), will fly over their heads.

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What's the story?

Based on the Dr. Seuss book Horton Hears a Who, the main story concerns the selfless elephant Horton whose big ears allow him to hear a voice from a whole world that exists on a speck of dust perched on a flower. The other jungle animals think he's crazy and try to destroy the speck, making Horton and Whoville do everything to try to be heard. Then Horton shows he's "faithful 100 percent" in Horton Hatches the Egg, when a lazy bird asks him for a very big, embarrassing favor. In The Butter Battle Book, creatures known as Yooks and Zooks divided by a wall battle out how to butter their bread. In Daisy-Headed Mayzie little Mayzie McGrew unintentionally causes a sensation when a daisy flower sprouts from her hair.

Is it any good?


Of the four animated stories, of course Horton Hears a Who stands out. It's directed by Chuck Jones who did the excellent Grinch TV special four years earlier. The songs here aren't nearly as good, and the villains aren't as engaging (are those blue furry brothers supposed to be monkeys?), but Horton is such a great Seuss character that these things are easily forgivable. He's selfless in this story -- picking through thousands of pick flowers to find the lost one with his speck -- and loyal and sweetly maternal in his second story, Horton Hatches the Egg.


It's hard to figure out why Horton Hears a Who was repackaged with the other three stories, which can also be found in The Best of Dr. Seuss, but since the Whos are the highlight and Seuss stories are engaging in whatever form, it's worth watching.

Families can talk about...

  • Families who watch this DVD with their youngest might want to also introduce their kids to Seuss books (including Horton). Parents with slightly older kids might discuss Horton and the lessons he teaches.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 1, 1970
DVD/Streaming release date:March 4, 2008
Cast:Hans Conried, June Foray
Directors:Chuck Jones, Ralph Bakshi, Tony Collingwood
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Family and Kids
Run time:30 minutes
MPAA rating:NR
MPAA explanation:Not Rated

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Teen, 16 years old Written byktk1992 April 9, 2008
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008


this is a great movie
Adult Written byVoicesMP April 9, 2008

Third Time's a Charm

Finally, an adaptation of Dr. Seuss that sticks to the story the way it was written. The extra time was made up in detail instead of new scenes. Jim Carey plays the role of Horton with just enough of his standard crazyness to believable and enjoyable. Carol Burnett as the Sour Kangaroo adds just enough fright to keep the story moving.