Never Cry Wolf

Movie review by Lisa A. Goldstein, Common Sense Media
Never Cry Wolf Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 13+

Suspenseful, poignant wilderness film; a few gross scenes.

PG 1983 105 minutes

Parents say

age 8+

Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 7+

Based on 2 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 7+

High Quality - Entertaining, Challenging & Worthwhile

I saw this movie when it came out (many years ago) and remember being impressed. Tonight, I watched it with our 7 and 9 year old kids, unsure what to expect. We all really enjoyed it. The movie is challenging, particularly for today's kids, because it is relatively slow and quiet (compared to common kid-oriented fare today), and you need to pay attention to get the message and the humor and all the good stuff it has to offer. That said, there is drama and excitement and beauty and humor and thought-provoking questions that can be grasped, even by kids who are as young as seven. Unanimous thumbs up from my family!!! NOTE: There are some scenes where the adult male lead actor is nude from behind. But it was NOT sexual in nature and basically caused laughter from my 7-9 y.o. crowd. There was no sex, no swearing, no consumerism. The only "violence" was a dream sequence when the lead character dreamed he was attacked by wolves - but it was pretty mild. Also there are some scenes where animals attack another animal. And the lead guy eats cooked mice when supplies run low. But that actually fits into the story . . . . Finally, it is implied that a human kills some wolves central to the story, but the actual killing of those wolves is not portrayed. Nevertheless, a kid of seven will likely understand and it may be upsetting. My 7 y.o. cried a bit when it was clear that the wolf parents were dead and the wolf cubs were alone. But she quickly got back into the larger story, including that the wolf pack comes and takes over caring for the cubs. This is a beautiful movie - gorgeous landscapes, majesty of nature, fascinating story, human frailty and grit, what's good, bad and grey . Great touchstone for discussing complex issues with kids.
age 10+

Fine If You See The World As Natural

I don't disagree with any of the concerns raised, but those same elements are what gives the movie an honest, interesting depth. Yes, he pees to mark his territory and eats mice to test out his theory that wolves live mostly on small mammals--animals do those things. More important, it adds depth and interest to the story and character. The ending, including the nudity, just seem to lose the thread--it feels unnecessary. And the anti-hunting message seems a bit simplistic, although I like the irony of the native getting his teeth and what that means for all involved. We watched part of the 6th grade class I teach and the kids loved it. Still, I can see, out of context, parents being concerned. It feels like they would be more concerned to be concerned instead of really concerned about THEIR child. My own children were fine.

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