Red Riding Hood
By Joly Herman,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Musical fairy tale sticks to the authentic, grim story.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
This traditional Grimm's tale is different than the condensed version that most kids know.
"Never talk to strangers" is a lesson that this tale teaches. Linet is torn between wanting to trust in the good nature of people and being wary of people she doesn't know. She learns the hard way that charm can cover for bad intentions.
Positive Role Models
Both Nanny Bess and Linet's mother, Lady Jane are strong women who do not cave to pressures, even when they are in danger. Nanny Bess has wisdom that helps heal the villagers.
Violence & Scariness
Some gruesome scenes, such as a man being whipped with a lash, and a wolf being cut open. Men with swords storm a gate and take over the castle -- no blood, though.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Godfrey wants to have Lady Jane as his wife. He kidnaps her and threatens her so that she will consent.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Peasants drink ale.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this musical version of the Red Riding Hood tale has some grim moments: the wolf does eat a girl, and he is cut open so that she can be retrieved, though no blood is visible. There's also a bit of harassment when a male character kidnaps a female character when she protests becoming his wife.
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Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
Linet (Amelia Shankley) believes in fairies and elves. But what she doesn't know is that her evil uncle Godfrey (Craig. T. Nelson) practices black magic, having given his heart to a wolf (Rocco Sisto) who can change into a man. When Linet's mother (Isabella Rossellini) refuses to marry Godfrey, because her husband Percival (also played by Nelson) is away at war, Godfrey concocts a scheme to get rid of a certain grandmother who possesses magical abilities, as well as a girl in a red cape named Linet.
Is It Any Good?
True fans of the Red Riding Hood story will appreciate this version, since it provides a little more intrigue than the my-what-big-teeth-you-have standard. But the cheesy synthesizer score, as well as the realistic 18th century peasant scenes, might be a turn off for modern kids who are looking for a little more glitz.
Isabella Rossellini is a graceful, beautiful mother to the girl in the red cape. And Craig T. Nelson impresses with his booming voiced villian. But the drab scenery and stagey musical numbers will leave most kids a little bored.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the difference between familiar fairy tales and the real Brother Grimm's stories. What differences do you notice? Why do you think these stories have been changed over time? Which do you prefer and why?
How are women portrayed in this movie? Are they heroes or victims? Is there anything unusual about they way they're portrayed compared to other films?
- In theaters: April 6, 1987
- On DVD or streaming: April 6, 2004
- Cast: Amelia Shankley, Craig T. Nelson, Isabella Rossellini
- Director: Adam Brooks
- Studio: MGM/UA
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 81 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Last updated: December 7, 2022
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