Fly Away Home

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Fly Away Home Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Thrilling, touching adventure for animal lovers.
  • PG
  • 1998
  • 107 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 18 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids will learn a lot about geese -- how to incubate them, raise them once they've hatched, their migration patterns -- and the importance of wetlands as an ecosystem. They'll also learn a bit about ultralight planes and see how one passionate activist can make difference -- even a kid standing up to a government for what she believes in.

Positive Messages

Major themes include communication, perseverance, and teamwork. Habitats and the animals who need them are worth protecting from sprawl and overdevelopment. Taking care of animals -- wild animals in particular -- requires a great deal of love, time, and effort. Through difficult circumstances, loved ones who have had problems in their relationships in the past can find it within themselves to make things better. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Amy Alden is a loving protector of her adopted gaggle of Canada geese. Her father, Tom, is a hardworking and creative inventor, willing to help his daughter figure out a way to protect the Canada geese from being taken by the government. 

Violence & Scariness

Early in the film, a car accident is shown from the point of view of the driver's seat as the car flips several times. A character hits a police officer over the head with a metal bowl after the officer attempts to clip the wings of one of the Canada geese. Hunters are shown shooting at geese.

Sexy Stuff

While in the shower, Amy gets soap in her eye and screams in panic; when her father kicks down the door, a friend of his sees her naked (implied -- no nudity is shown).


One use of "s--t."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink wine at dinner but don't act intoxicated. A character falls asleep in front of the TV while drinking beer. At the end of the film, in the background, a character is smoking a cigar.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Fly Away Home is a poignant and inspiring film about a 13-year-old girl from New Zealand sent to live with her father in Canada after her mother dies in a car accident. The car accident at the beginning may be difficult for younger viewers and for anyone who has experienced a similar tragedy. But Fly Away Home's message of concern and protection of Canada geese and their habitats, and the inventive ways Amy and Tom Alden work together to save them, should delight animal lovers of all ages. As a "mother goose" to the gaggle of geese she helps to fly south for the winter, Amy shows a great deal of care and conviction.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byerickandmegan March 4, 2015

Needs parental editing

This is a great movie with some really unnecessary swear words and inappropriate content. My daughter's 2nd grade class (7 and 8 years old) is going to wa... Continue reading
Parent of a 6, 8, and 10-year-old Written byrinder April 5, 2019

A Great Movie for Tweens, with Two Warnings

Most of this movie is fantastic for kids between 9 and 13.

There are two things to be aware of.

The main character's mom dies in the opening scene. There... Continue reading
Kid, 7 years old April 9, 2008

A cool movies based on an actual event

This was a great movie about a girl who trains geese to fly. She found them under a log. It's sad and happy at the same time because it's cool to se... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old April 15, 2020


I think it's a really good movie. I recommend it I think it's amazing.

What's the story?

In FLY AWAY HOME, 13-year-old Amy must go live with her father Tom (Jeff Daniels), whom she barely knows, in a new country after her mother is killed in a car crash. Amy does not want to be comforted, and wanders silently through the marshes near her new home. When developers illegally mow down the marsh, killing a goose, Amy finds the eggs she left behind, and begins to resolve her loss by mothering the goslings. Since she is the first thing they see when they hatch, they "imprint" her, and think of her as their mother, following her everywhere, even into the shower. The local authorities insist that their wings be clipped, since without their mother they can't learn to migrate and will cause problems for the community when they try to fly. But Amy and her father won't allow the geese to be impaired. Tom and Amy work together to teach the geese how to fly, and then migrate. As they work together, Amy finds a way to begin to heal her loss of her mother and her relationship with Tom.

Is it any good?

This film is a thrilling adventure, exquisitely told, by the same director and photographer who made The Black Stallion. Ballard has the patience to let the story tell itself in Fly Away Home, and the quiet moments are breathtakingly beautiful and heartbreakingly touching.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why it's so important to Amy to keep the geese wild and free in Fly Away Home. What kind of a life would they have had with their wings clipped?

  • Families can also talk about the importance of preserving wetlands and their importance as an ecosystem. What's lost if too many wetlands are developed?

  • How does Amy's cause help her heal after her mother's death?

  • How do Amy and the other characters in Fly Away Home demonstrate communication, perseverance, and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animals

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

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