Gross-out laughs meet a marvelous fairytale mix.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Review Date: May 19, 2003
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2001
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

What parents need to know

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

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.

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
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie 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.

What's the story?

It 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. It 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, 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.

Families can talk 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?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 18, 2001
DVD release date:November 2, 2001
Cast:Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers
Directors:Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Princesses and fairies, Adventures, Book characters, Friendship, Misfits and underdogs
Run time:93 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:language and some crude humor

This review of Shrek was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written byLinVA June 3, 2010

a kid movie that has too much that is not for little kids

It's not bad, but it is not really a kid's movie. The jokes are often about mature themes, involving drinking, romance, etc. I do not understand who in Hollywood thinks this is OK in an animated movie aimed at kids. My young boys do not get the jokes, so some might argue that it is harmless, but repeated exposure to this kind of thing early on doesn't seem good. Do I later want my young men to consider young women based on their preferred alcoholic beverage? No.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 3 and 5 year old Written bySunnye June 9, 2010
Even at 6+, I don't want my kiddos to watch a "kid" movie that has profanities. Should be kept out entirely or rated PG-13 at least.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Parent of a 10, 12, and 14 year old Written byGimmick February 27, 2011


This is a brilliant movie, with some mild language. This movie is still, to this day, an all-time family favourite


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