Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer Movie Poster Image
Noisy, subpar cartoon adventure with lots of peril.
  • G
  • 1985
  • 85 minutes

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 1 review

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

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Meant to entertain, not educate.

Positive Messages

Emphasizes teamwork. Opening song lyric: "Find a place to start the day in a useful way." Good triumphs over evil.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The young female hero is capable of derring-do, bravery, and resourcefulness, as well as the usual traits associated with girls: kindness, responsibility, and caring. When a boy joins Rainbow Brite on a quest, he's at first disappointed to find out she's a girl: "A girl?...How dumb can a girl get?" He quickly learns that this girl is his equal in every way. 

Violence & Scariness

Extensive cartoon action: zapping, falling, crashing, capturing, imprisoning, blowing up. The heroes, especially the beautiful rainbow-trimmed white horse, are in peril throughout; they move from one "brink of disaster" to another. There are many lightning flashes, noisy explosions, daring rescues, and cartoon-scary villains (green ogres, robots, a wicked princess, soldiers, goblins, sea creatures).  

Sexy Stuff

Lots of name-calling as one villain continuously delivers insults to his assistant: "do-do brain," "chicken breath," "bubblehead," "amoeba brain," and many more.


Made in 1985, this film was a marketing tool for a wide range of Rainbow Brite (Hallmark) products, including games, toys, dolls, clothing, and greeting cards. Though this is the only film associated with the brand, a Saturday morning television series was produced as well. Only a few new products are still available for this brand, but early Rainbow Brite merchandise still has an active secondary market. The post-1980s Rainbow Brite character was older, and products were aimed at tweens and teens.​ 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this animated movie, originally released in 1985, was the only feature-length film in the Rainbow Brite product line. The brand sold greeting cards, books, toys, and clothing and made a TV series designed to appeal to little girls. Rainbow Brite herself is a cute, heroic protagonist with a beautiful white horse who lives in Rainbow Land and is charged with "saving the colors" of the universe. Although this may sound pastoral and gentle, the movie is far from that. It's an adventure with nonstop cartoon action, loud sound effects (the shooting is unrelenting), and a confusing array of villains: drooling and toothy ogres, a cackling wicked princess, sea serpents, menacing robots, and more. The heroes are either captured or are in grave danger many times, and the stakes are high: If Rainbow Brite and her friends are not successful in their quest, all life in the universe will be extinguished.​

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Kid, 11 years old September 22, 2020

Throwback attack!!!

I love rainbow rite it’s a great show but I like strawberry shortcake from the 80s way better!!!

What's the story?

In RAINBOW BRITE AND THE STAR STEALER, the universe is in danger of being stuck in an eternal winter -- dark, stormy, and colorless. Ultimately, without light, all life will be destroyed. It's simply because a selfish, vain princess wants to own Spectra, the planet-sized diamond through which all light must pass. Rainbow Brite and her trusty rainbow-steed Starlite are the universe's only hopes to thwart the Dark Princess' evil plan. The colorful heroes set out from their wonderful, peaceful world of Rainbowland and are met by an assortment of villains and perilous events that threaten them. It's not only the princess and her horde of soldiers, robots, and ogres who are after them but also Rainbow Brite's perennially jealous antagonist Murky (with his dimwitted henchman Lurky) as well. But scores have a way of being settled; Rainbow Brite finds her own allies (including a wise sprite and her own magic powers) to even the odds.

Is it any good?

This is a dizzying array of ugly baddies, with little humor, little warmth, and, despite a female protagonist, little to recommend it. It appears that this brand was created in 1985 by Hallmark in an effort to fill a need for merchandise and programming that might gain traction in a predominantly boy-oriented "action" marketplace. This cartoon adventure, however, is a disaster. Other than a perky, brave heroine and some appealing sidekick characters, this is an overlong (even at 85 minutes), super-loud barrage of action sequences that place the heroes in constant danger. Starlite (the horse) alone is captured, goes over a waterfall, gets trapped in an elevator, is hurled from a cliff, is lassoed, ​and is shot at, chased, and pummeled by rocks. Every other likable being is subject to similar treatment.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the partnership of kids' movies and the makers of kids' products. Does a movie have to be good to help sales? What can parents do to help kids be thoughtful consumers at an early age?

  • Talk about or make a list of all the bad guys in this movie. Was it confusing to do so? Could you keep track of everyone? Or did you like watching many different villains?

  • Krys was surprised by Rainbow Brite's talent for heroism. What did he expect "a girl" could do? How did she change his mind?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love adventure

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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