Monsters, Inc. Movie Poster Image

Monsters, Inc.



Cute, kid-friendly monster movie; may scare sensitive kids.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2001
  • Running Time: 92 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

More for entertainment than education, though kids might learn a bit about factory work and how adults deal with hazards, like potential contamination (in this case, by children).

Positive messages

Strong messages about the value of friendship and that facing your fears is a positive thing. Also, you can do the right thing and still succeed. Themes include courage, compassion, and integrity.

Positive role models

Mike and Sully are loyal friends. A monster learns to make kids laugh instead of scare them. Monsters try to do the right thing and protect a little girl. A powerful figure turns out to be a bad guy, but he pays for his poor choices.

Violence & scariness

Comic peril, cartoon violence. The monsters are terrified of children for most of the film, which takes out some of the scariness. In the scariest climactic scene, the villain monster straps a toddler to a chair to catch her screams in a machine, and she appears very frightened. Her monster friend saves her.

Sexy stuff

Some flirting and discussion of dating.

Not applicable

This movie is part of the Disney-Pixar dynasty, with plenty of merchandise associated with the film. Toy Story toys are on the floor in one child's room.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Monsters, Inc. is about closet monsters, but from their point of view -- scaring kids is their 9-to-5 job. Kids might be scared of the movie's concept initially, but they'll soon figure out that the monster Sulley is a softy who takes care of the little girl in the story who isn't the least bit afraid of him. However there's one scene where a monster the child does fear straps her to a chair and tries to steal her screams. Kids will find it funny that most monsters fear any contact with kids -- when one monster gets a child's sock on him the whole factory panics and biohazard workers quarantine and shave him. Young kids may need help understanding what the monsters in yellow suits are doing to him and why. Note: The 3-D version amps up the intensity.

What's the story?

The monsters in MONSTERS, INC. are more afraid of kids than kids are of monsters. But monsters need to collect kids' screams to fuel their world, and children are getting so hard to scare that the monsters' world is suffering from rolling blackouts. Top scarer John "Sulley" Sullivan (voiced by John Goodman) and rival Randall Boggs (Steve Buscemi) work as hard as they can to break the scream-collection record. But when Randall inadvertently lets a human child into the monster world, the monsters find out what being scared is really like.

Is it any good?


This movie has the same delicious mixture of heart, humor, and technical wizardry that made A Bug's Life and the two Toy Story movies into instant classics. It's utterly delightful. It should be put in the dictionary to illustrate the word "adorable." Like Jim Henson, who decided to make his Sesame Street characters monsters so that kids would never be afraid of monsters again, the people behind Monsters, Inc. have created monsters that even the shyest child will find completely unscary. In fact, kids may decide that multiple heads, removable eyes, and hair made from snakes are kind of cute.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what Sulley learns about kids and how he changes the factory for the better in the end of Monsters, Inc.

  • They can also talk about how each kid was scared by a certain kind of monster. Why was Boo scared of Randall and not Sulley? Why was Sulley considered such a top-notch scarer then?

  • How do the characters in Monsters, Inc. demonstrate courage, compassion, and integrity? Why are those important character strengths?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 2, 2001
DVD/Streaming release date:February 19, 2013
Cast:Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Mary Gibbs
Director:Andrew Adamson
Studio:Pixar Animation Studios
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Friendship, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Character strengths:Compassion, Courage, Integrity
Run time:92 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of Monsters, Inc. was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 11 years old May 19, 2011

Very violent

I do not like the monsters roaring or the machine that catches kids screams. My little brother watched it with me once and he was afraid of the crushing machine and the monsters roaring, in one part, Mike Wizowski goes on a date for a monsters birthday but it is not sexy. It is kind of disturbing and loud when the little girl screams and cries. But this movie tells kids that there is no need to be afraid if monsters coming out of your closet and scaring you, I like this movie but parents, please read the review up top about Monsters Inc before letting your kids watch that because it is a very violent movie. But still very funny and awesome, the end is my favorite part.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 10 years old May 7, 2010

Easily Laughable

I'm 10 and I still watch Monsters inc.! It's shuch a fun movie to see. I love Sully and Boo. But I thin kit is good for 6+ because older kids might not get as good of a laugh unlike little children. No bad stuff whatsoever. Great for the whole family!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written bySinfoniarc August 5, 2010

For The Monster In Your Closet

I can't think of a better way to help a child get over their "monster in the closet" phase. The movie depicts monsters as having very human-like traits--basically just like you and me except they look different. Monsters, Inc. is a great movie for teaching the value of friendship, hard work, and doing the right thing even though it hurts. You could make Billy Crystal a serial killer in a movie and he'd still be Billy Crystal. This movie is no exception. His zany antics will leave even young kids howling in laughter. John Goodman's "papa bear" persona brings feelings of safety and security to the table as well. The friendship/camaraderie amongst them is very powerful and I think that's a good value that kids need to learn. Sully (Goodman) spend the whole movie trying to do the right thing and correct Randall's (Steve Buscemi) mistake. Randall, the bad guy, demonstrates that greed and vanity are bad, as he's constantly trying to be a more productive worker than Sully. Both monsters demonstrate a great work ethic (or in Randall's case a great desire to have a good work ethic), which is important for children to learn as well. Having said all of that, parts of this movie will scare most young children...especially the first two minutes of the movie. Randall and his accomplice (Mr. Waternoose, voiced by the late, great James Coburn) are scary at times, but both demonstrate well the power of greed. The end of the movie offers that there are alternate and more ethical ways of making a living. It also demonstrates that doing the right thing is important, whether letting go of someone you love, or refusing to cheat in order to make it to the top. All in all it's a phenomenal film. Disney really upped the ante on the upscaling of this one. The 1080p video of the Blu-Ray is stunning as is it's lossless HD-DTS soundtrack.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models