Here Comes Peter Cottontail

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgas..., Common Sense Media
Here Comes Peter Cottontail Movie Poster Image
'70s Easter classic has very mild scares and peril.
  • NR
  • 1971
  • 50 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Meant to entertain rather than educate.

Positive Messages

Don’t give up hope. Don’t tell fibs. Be responsible. Everyone should get a second chance.
 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Peter oversleeps, boasts, and fibs, all of which lead to a threat against the fun and colorful egg distribution of Easter. Irontail plays dirty to steal the Chief Easter Bunny job from Peter, just so he can ruin Easter for all children.   

Violence & Scariness

Kids once roller-skated over a bunny's tail, leaving him with a fake tail and a lot of vengeful anger. Peter nearly falls from a flying time machine. An evil bunny sends witches to steal eggs from Peter. The witches aren't that scary but the evil bunny's laugh may scare some young kids. Irontail feeds gum to a rooster alarm clock, gagging him, which causes Peter to oversleep. Irontail vows he will replace pastel Easter colors with mud and concrete grays and eliminate Easter bonnets in favor of galoshes.
 

Sexy Stuff
Language

"Great mealy-mouthed meatballs!" and "great twisted tarantulas!"
 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Here Comes Peter Cottontail is a 1971 Rankin-Bass made-for-TV animated Easter story based on the Priscilla and Otto Friedrich 1957 novel, "The Easter Bunny That Overslept." This is sweet, tame fare for young children. A boastful, fibbing, wayward bunny overconfidently competes to become Chief Easter Bunny. When his imperfect judgment leads him to mistakenly assume victory, he loses the competition to a killjoy who wants to ruin Easter.  A few scary moments ensue as Peter travels in time through some major holidays to earn back the privilege of giving eggs to kids every spring. An evil bunny sends witches to steal eggs from Peter. The witches aren't that scary but the evil bunny's laugh may scare some young kids.

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What's the story?

In HERE COMES PETER COTTONTAIL, Seymour S. Sassafrass (the voice of Danny Kaye) tells the story of how Peter Cottontail (Casey Kasem, who voiced Shaggy in the Scooby-Doo series) became the Chief Easter Bunny. His rise to power as head egg deliverer did not come without drama. Irontail (voiced by horror movie veteran Vincent Price), a curmudgeonly hare vowing vengeance against all children owing to a tail accident, is bent on deposing Peter. Sassafrass, who kindly points out Peter's tendency toward fibbing and boasting, nevertheless offers Peter some magical assistance. Off Peter goes in the Yestermorrowmobile, enabling him to travel back in time to do Easter over again, this time to wake up on time to beat Irontail at distributing the most eggs. Complications follow, requiring that Peter time travel though the entire year of holidays in the effort to unload enough eggs to beat Irontail and gain the title of Chief Easter Bunny. 
 

Is it any good?

Danny Kaye's specialty, charming children, is in full effect in this Rankin-Bass classic. Preschoolers may be young enough to appreciate that without disdaining Here Comes Peter Cottontail's low-tech special effects and jerky stop-action animation. Older and more sophisticated viewers may not be as generous. The format is designed to accommodate commercials, so story points are repeated after every break to remind young viewers of exactly where the action left off before the 1971 soap ads (blackouts in this version) so rudely interrupted. Sensitive kids might find the evil bunny's laugh a tad creepy but otherwise there's not much to worry about.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why fibbing can be a harmful habit. How did fibbing get Peter Cottontail into trouble in Here Comes Peter Cottontail?

  • Sometimes thinking too highly of yourself will keep you from working hard enough to achieve your goals. Why is hard work important when you set difficult goals for yourself?

  • Irontail wants revenge on all children just because one child accidentally hurt him a long time ago. Do you think it's important to forgive people after they make mistakes? Why?

Movie details

For kids who love the holidays

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