Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Pollyanna Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Wonderful family film with excellent messages.
  • NR
  • 1960
  • 134 minutes

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 3+
Based on 4 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Shows the power of positive thinking, helping others, and expecting the the best from everyone.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Pollyanna demonstrate empathy and gratitude.

Violence & Scariness

Scary fall from a tree.

Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pollyanna is a wonderful family film with themes of the power of positive thinking, helping others, and expecting the the best from everyone.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bysss April 9, 2008

excellent movie!!

in the beginning of the movie, there is a scene with a boy's naked bottom as he jumps into a lake. there are some love interests, some kissing, and a few... Continue reading
Parent Written byRose F July 7, 2018

Surprise Traumatic Ending

I remember loving this movie as a kid. I must've blocked out the ending! Pollyanna falls from a roof and is terribly injured. She is taken away on a train... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bytothewesternwoods January 20, 2021

sweet heartfelt movie

really sweet movie! I prefer the book because it's obviously more discriptive and you can understand her character more. I'm not sure it says no sexy... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bytiramisu June 6, 2012

5 stars best movie ever, Disney's best movie!

I love this movie it's in my top 3 favorites! They say Jehovah. I would of picked new born but i couldn't

What's the story?

After the death of her parents, POLLYANNA (Hayley Mills) arrives in Harrington to live with her wealthy aunt, Polly (Jane Wyman), who is generous with money, but also reserved and joyless. She uses her influence to run all aspects of the town, even telling Reverend Ford (Karl Malden) to preach fire and brimstone on Sundays, which makes the congregation miserable. Pollyanna's friendliness and her expectation that everyone else will be friendly, too, endear her to everyone, even cranky invalid Mrs. Snow (Agnes Moorehead) and recluse Mr. Pendergast (Adolphe Menjou). She teaches her friends "the glad game," finding something to be glad about in any situation. When the towns people decide to hold a bazaar to raise money for a new orphanage instead of accepting Polly's charity, Polly forbids Pollyanna to go. The girl sneaks out by climbing down a tree and has a wonderful time, but falls on the way back in and is badly hurt. She stops playing the glad game, until the whole town shows up to tell her how much she means to them. She leaves for an operation, confident that she will soon be well.

Is it any good?

This film is Disney at its finest, a lavish and gorgeous fantasy of an idyllic American past. With first-rate actors and sumptuous period detail, Pollyanna is a delight for the eyes as well as the spirit. Pollyanna is best remembered for "the glad game," in which the challenge is to find something to be glad about, no matter how bleak the situation. But what really makes her special is the way that she expects the best from everyone, and the transforming effect it has on each person she meets.

Many of the mistakes people make in this movie come from trying to protect themselves from hurt. Polly, hurt by her estrangement from Dr. Chilton, relies on her sense of duty. Mrs. Snow, worried about illness and dependence, tries to blame others and achieves some sense of control (and some attention) with her contrariness. Mr. Pendergast just avoids any contact at all. Pollyanna shows them how to make sure that fear of pain and loss do not prevent opportunities for joy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Pollyanna, like George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life, gets a rare opportunity to have all she has done recognized and acknowledged by the community. Families can talk about the people who have made positive changes in their community, and how their efforts could be acknowledged.

  • How does Pollyanna demonstrate empathy and gratitude? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love family movies

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

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

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

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

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate