Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Shrek Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Gross-out laughs meet a marvelous fairy tale mix.
  • PG
  • 2001
  • 93 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 98 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 221 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Intended to entertain rather than educate.

Positive Messages

Staying true to yourself, looking beyond appearances, and the power of friendship are big themes. (But there's also a fair bit of bodily function humor.)

Positive Role Models & Representations

Princess Fiona is a strong character who challenges the prim 'n' proper princess stereotype. Shrek seems cantankerous and rude, but he has a tender heart and is ultimately trustworthy, loyal, and brave. Donkey is a dedicated friend. Many characters demonstrate the qualities of curiosity, integrity, perseverance, and teamwork.

Violence & Scariness

Characters in peril; ogre hunters wave pitchforks and torches; a bird explodes; scary fire-breathing dragon (who is much less scary when she gets a crush on Donkey); one character is eaten in one gulp by the dragon.

Sexy Stuff

Mild sexual humor. Some innuendo that will go over kids' head (for example, when Shrek sees the big tower that is Farquaad's castle and says to Donkey, "Gee, think he's compensating for something?").


Strong language for a kids' movie, including "damn," "ass," and "crap."


Lots of tie-in products available in real life.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Shrek includes some edgy humor directed at teens and adults. The jokes that teens and adults snicker at (like when Shrek wonders whether the small Lord Farquaad is compensating for something with his very tall castle) will be over the head of most younger kids, but parents should be ready for some questions. There's also plenty of potty humor and gross-out jokes directed at kids – mostly based on the appalling personal habits of ogres. Scary scenes for young ones include fights with guards, villagers coming after Shrek with pitchforks, and a fire-breathing dragon (who turns nice when she falls for Donkey). A bird explodes, and its eggs are eaten, and a character is eaten in one gulp by the dragon, but it's not graphic.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 4-year-old Written byn8rockerasu May 29, 2016

Once you have kids, you notice things differently

This movie came out when I was in college. As a fan of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and animated films in general, I loved it. And to this day, I think it's o... Continue reading
Adult Written byIloveseonghwa September 30, 2019
Teen, 16 years old Written byZerosense July 6, 2016

Shrek is love Shrek is life

Shrek is love Shrek is life
Teen, 13 years old Written bySirSmugleaf July 2, 2020

Shrek is memes

There is swearing, but not much. Pretty noice movie if you ask me.

What's the story?

SHREK has an enchanted princess in a tower, guarded by a fire-breathing dragon. It has a donkey that not only talks, and not only sings, but sings the old Monkees' song, "I'm a Believer." It has an evil (but short) bad guy, kickboxing, a Robin Hood and Merry Men who perform an Irish Riverdance, potty humor, and some digs at Disney. It has sensational animation, adventure, romance, and laughter. And most of all, it has Shrek, a big, green ogre who lives happily alone in a swamp until Lord Farquaad of nearby Dulac sets out to create the perfect kingdom by getting rid of all of the fairy tale characters and sending them to "a designated resettlement community." Soon, the three blind mice, the three little pigs, the gingerbread man, all the broom-flying witches, Pinocchio, and a talking donkey are all relocated to the swamp. Shrek is furious at the intrusion. He makes a deal with Farquaad, who needs to marry a princess to put the final touch on his kingdom. Shrek will rescue Princess Fiona and bring her to Farquaad, and Farquaad will give Shrek his swamp back.

Is it any good?

The movie is a marvelous fairy tale, with a thrilling quest and a happily-ever-after ending. Shrek has the great themes of enduring myths, about believing in yourself, being loved for the person you really are, and good triumphing over evil. It is also a delicious satire, tweaking all of our assumptions about ogres, princesses, rescues, and even fire-breathing dragons. The voice talents of Mike Myers (as the Scottish-burred Shrek), Eddie Murphy (as Donkey the talking donkey), Cameron Diaz (as Princess Fiona), and John Lithgow (as Farquaad) are all perfect.

The computer animation is breathtaking for its time, like nothing seen before it. The textures are stunning. The glass, fire, clouds, and water seem three-dimensional, and you will feel that Donkey's fur almost brushes your hand. The animation has wonderful warmth and depth, but it also has a great deal of character and wit. The facial expressions and body language are such a treat that the audience can't help thinking that if ogres and donkeys and don't really look like that, they should.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Donkey's statement that Shrek has "that kind of 'I don't care what nobody thinks of me' thing." Is it true that Shrek didn't care what people thought of him? How can you tell? What did it mean to say that ogres are like onions? What does it mean to say that people have layers?

  • Princess Fiona expected Prince Charming to save her, and Shrek came instead. How did she change her mind about him? How did it help her to accept herself? Why is self-acceptance so important?

  • How do the characters in Shrek demonstrate perseverance and teamwork? What about curiosity and integrity? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love adventures

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

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