Peter and the Wolf

Movie review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
Peter and the Wolf Movie Poster Image
Dark, superb short film introduces kids to classical music.
  • NR
  • 2008
  • 34 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids will hear Sergei Prokofiev's unforgettable music. For many this piece is a first introduction to classical music and its various instruments. A feature on the DVD matches up an instrument playing each theme with the character.

Positive Messages

There's an added element to this version that deals with forgiveness and understanding.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Peter's best friend, a duck, is eaten by the wolf and he has to make a choice between letting a butcher kill him, selling him to a circus, or letting him go free. He chooses forgiveness. Earlier on he disobeys his grandfather and takes his keys to venture into the woods even though he knows it's forbidden.

Violence & Scariness

Peter is bullied by some hunters. They throw him in a Dumpster and point a gun at him; later they shoot a hole through the cat's ear. Grandpa has a gun. The wolf terrorizes all of Peter's animal friends, finally eating the duck in two gulps in front of a horrified Peter. Peter ties a rope to the wolf's tail and uses a tree branch as a pulley to hold him there; his face gets a slash.

Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One of the hunters smokes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this award-winning animated short is 34 minutes long and narration-free. It's a bleaker more artistic take on the classic tale and so better enjoyed by tweens and up. Set in modern-day Russia, Peter is shown as a poor loner who gets bullied by hunters who point a gun at him and throw him in a Dumpster. Of course when the wolf shows up, as the story goes, the duck gets eaten. It's even sadder here because the duck is one of Peter's only friends. In the end though, the focus is on forgiveness and understanding.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 5 and 7-year-old Written byLH Powell April 12, 2014


This is a haunting animated short that is beautifully made but it is not for children. Unlike most children's entertainment that includes or implies violen... Continue reading
Parent of a 8-year-old Written byameyer75 January 7, 2014

Too violent for 8 years old.

I thought this would be appropriate for my 8 year old, but the opening scene had a boy shoved in a dumpster with a rifle pointed at him. I was appalled, and tu... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byMAGJAK March 4, 2021
May be haunting and nightmare indusing with younger children. most children should be able to handle it at 6.
Kid, 9 years old May 3, 2020

What's the story?

Peter is a loner who lives with his grandfather in a rundown shack outside a small town. It's fenced up tight to keep Peter away from the woods and the dangers that lurk. But he and his only friends, a duck and bird, steal grandpa's keys and head out to the frozen pond to enjoy themselves. Grandpa's cat comes along too and trees the bird, distracting everyone from the approach of one hungry wolf. As he eyes the duck, attacks, and gulps him down Peter is both frightened and bent on revenge. With the help of some rope and a tree branch Peter snags the wolf's tale and then has to decide what to do with the him next.

Is it any good?

What a gorgeous take on this classic story. The wonderful expressiveness of the stop-motion animated characters is part of what makes narration unnecessary. The modern-day impoverished setting adds a layer of bleakness and makes lonely Peter a more complex character.

Viewers will also notice that the hunters are the bad guys here, bullying poor Peter and then showing up after Peter's already captured the wolf to make a bumbling macho display by shooting the cat's ear. So Peter not only gets to be the hero, but then gets to display maturity beyond his years when he decides to let the wolf go. Having the duck's theme play right before he makes the decision makes it all the more poignant. It's subtle touches like that one that make this short worth many repeat viewings.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about this version of the classic tale. Did you like this artistic take? Would it have been better with narration or wasn't it needed?

  • Families can also talk about the music here. How does it help tell the story? Did you recognize the different instruments as they played the various themes?

  • Families can also talk about forgiveness. Right before Peter lets the wolf go you hear the oboe play the duck's theme. Peter is clearly thinking about the duck but lets the wolf go anyway. Would you do the same?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animation

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