A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Kids will learn about animals growing up in the wild.
Young animals face many difficult challenges presented by nature. Luck and learning new skills both play roles in survival.
Positive Role Models
Mother animals valiantly protect their young and teach them how to survive in the wild.
Violence & Scariness
Lions and cheetahs bring down prey. Hyenas stalk a cheetah and her five cubs. Offscreen, the hyenas attack two of the babies. Macaques fight over control of a field of fruit, leaving some fighters bloodied. An older male lion drives off young adult males in his quest to remain head of the pride. Bears eat salmon whole. A large male bear tries to attack and eat cubs but fails. An avalanche shows the power and danger of the snowy wilderness.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A dominant male lion drives off younger male lions to maintain his pride supremacy and have his pick of female lions.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Growing Up Wild, a 2016 Disney documentary, follows several baby animals as they meet the challenges posed by their wild habitats, predators, and enemies. Lions, cheetahs, chimps, bears, and macaques defend themselves, run from enemies, find food sources, and, in the case of predators, kill other animals. The violent implications of hunting are clear. An animal dies so others may eat and live. High grass hides views of bloody carcasses, but parents can still expect to field questions about the attacks. Offscreen, two young cheetahs are lost to predatory hyenas, a loss discussed by the narrator. A young macaque is ostracized by his community and looks like he may starve until the group's leader takes him under his wing. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The informative narrative of this film and its beautiful footage provide an unusually intimate look at young animals trying to survive in their habitats. Close-ups of animals in moments of affection with parents are certainly endearing, making this a relatively benign introduction for young children to the subjects of survival and loss in nature. Growing Up Wild focuses on the constant challenges that face young animals and their mothers, including finding food and evading dangers. Cheetahs are stalked by hyenas, predators that eventually kill and eat two of five cheetah cubs. When they're old enough, the cheetahs learn to climb trees, so the next time the hyenas come around they can evade them high in the tree branches. The narration is jaunty and informative but may raise questions. For example, macaques are said to live in complex societies characterized by a "strict social order." The movie announces that what a baby macaque is allowed to eat can be determined by who his mother is. Viewers may want to know exactly what qualifies a macaque as a member of the elite; that information is left unexplained here. Overall, the movie is a great opportunity for kids to learn about how animals live in nature.
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.