Mulan Movie Poster Image




Disney-fied but dignified tale of Chinese warrior.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1998
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

In addition to positive lessons about teamwork and friendship, kids will learn a bit about Chinese culture (albeit a Disneyfied version).

Positive messages

Ultimately, the movie's messages are about the importance of working hard and working together, being honest, and trying your hardest. Additional themes include humility and teamwork.

Positive role models

Mulan is brave and resourceful. While pretending to be a man, she displays crude and stereotypical male traits, but it's bravado and is played for humor. She demonstrates perseverance, integrity, and courage. Some of the male characters have old-fashioned ideas about what females are capable of, but they learn the error of their assumptions in the end. Mulan disobeys her father, but she does it to help and protect him. She also deceives her friends, but also for reasons that she thinks are right at the time. 

Violence & scariness

Mulan joins the Chinese army during wartime. She learns to fight with weapons. The Huns destroy Chinese villages and kill people (not shown). Some of the battle scenes are scary and intense. Tense sword battle at the climax. Explosions.

Sexy stuff

Some flirting. Shirtless male characters.

Not applicable

Mulan is a Disney Princess, whose brand reaches far and wide. Expect to see princess branding on consumer merchandise, food products, etc. as well as in books, websites, and other media.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One character smokes a long cigarette.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that kids under 5 may find some of the scenes in Mulan frightening. In this this lush Disney adventure, Mulan becomes a hero and helps her people -- but she does so by rebelling against authority. She also learns to fight with weapons. The Huns destroy Chinese villages and kill people (not shown), and some battle scenes are scary and intense.

What's the story?

Based on the story of China's legendary girl warrior, MULAN, this animated Disney film begins as the Huns invade China and the army calls up its best soldiers. Mulan's father is on the list, but she can see that he's too weak from an old injury to fight. So instead of staying home to find a husband, Mulan (voiced by Ming-Na Wen) dresses like a man and heads off to war, taking her father's place. Her ancestors try to send a powerful dragon to help her, but a scrawny dragon named Mushu (Eddie Murphy) sneaks off with her instead. Mulan struggles at first but becomes a brave and skilled fighter against the Huns -- and finds new friends in unexpected places.

Is it any good?


Disney took a gamble on Mulan -- she doesn't fit the princess mold, and most moviegoers had never heard of her -- and the end results are a bit mixed. The songs and supporting characters aren't particularly memorable, but the settings are gorgeous, and Mulan herself is one of a kind in the Disney canon (it's too bad that in the end she still needs to be married off to a "Prince Charming" who saves the day).

Still, many aspects of Chinese culture are incorporated into Mulan -- such as reverence to one's ancestors, the significance of dragons, and the importance of honor. The DVD includes a feature that shows how the filmmakers researched not only the Mulan legend but also Chinese art, architecture, history, and culture. There's also a feature for kids that explains the film's many cultural references, as well as deleted scenes and songs.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how Mulan reconciles defying her parents' wishes and the law versus doing what she thinks she must. When should people follow their inner beliefs first and foremost?

  • Do you consider Mulan a role model? How does she compare to Disney's other heroes?

  • How does Mulan demonstrate perseverance, integrity, and courage? Why are these important character strengths? 

  • How do Shang and the other soldiers learn humility and teamwork in Mulan?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 19, 1998
DVD/Streaming release date:October 26, 2004
Cast:B.D. Wong, Eddie Murphy, Harvey Fierstein, Ming-Na
Director:Barry Cook
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Princesses and fairies, Adventures, Great girl role models, History, Music and sing-along
Character strengths:Courage, Humility, Integrity, Perseverance, Teamwork
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:G

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 5 year old Written byslantmaster March 20, 2011

Mulan is the best disney 'princess'

This is a great movie for all children to watch. It encourages the viewers to overcome gender stereotyping and that women are capable of doing the same things men are. It is comedic and was among my favorite childhood movies, it is too bad that Mulan isn't exactly considered a 'disney princess' like the rest are. A good movie to watch.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written bySweetDisposition January 5, 2011

An inspiring Disney movie to end off Disney's greatest decade.

I first watched this movie at age 6- and I've loved it since! Yes, there is some violence, but the battles are carried out creatively (as in, not just straight up sword to sword, but there are some deaths.) Common sense overreacts a bit- It's just flirting, nothing more. Mulan herself is an amazing role model, my childhood was inspired through Disney movies such as this. And with a great soundtrack (who doesn't love 'I'll make a man out of you'?) Mulan is right up there with other Disney classics. Please, do your child a favor and show them this Disney. Not this Disney we have today.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 10 and 10 year old Written bydavid.wallace June 4, 2011

Disney gets it right- again.

Mulan is a movie about a girl who pretends to be a guy so she can go to fight in the army to prevent her elderly father from fighting. Sensitive kids may be frightened by the main villain and a few fighting scenes... but they will take good messages from the movie. Throughout the movie Mulan learns to accept herself for who she is. Mulan is a movie about honor and integrity, despite Mulan pretending to be a guy. At times this movie can be corny for adults but overall Mulan is a movie the whole family can enjoy.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence