Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Animated classic is enchanting but also scary.
  • G
  • 1937
  • 84 minutes

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 29 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 61 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

Not an overtly educational film, except for the message that your should never harm the innocent, even when ordered to.

Positive Messages

The huntsman makes an ethical choice to disregard the evil queen's immoral command to kill Snow White; he shows mercy instead. Snow White stays positive, never complains about her lot, and finds the good in even dire circumstances. The dwarfs band together to defend Snow White. Themes include empathy, integrity, and humility.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Although Snow White is the classic damsel in distress who dreams of being rescued by her prince, she's also generous and selfless. She's sweet, loving, nurturing, and trusting, albeit naive and gullible. The dwarfs are also brave, as they follow the Old Hag after they realize she has hurt Snow White. Obviously, the Wicked Queen is an example of bloodthirsty greed and hubris. Characters demonstrate compassion and courage.

Violence & Scariness

There are a few possibly disturbing scenes, especially any scene including the Wicked Queen. The queen threatens and orders the huntsman to kill Snow White and return with her heart in a box. The huntsman raises a knife, and Snow White shrieks in terror. As Snow White flees, the enchanted forest becomes increasingly scary. Menacing vultures follow the queen after she transforms into a creepy old hag (the transformation process itself is quite creepy). After Snow White faints into her "sleeping death," the dwarves arm themselves with their mining tools and follow the queen, who eventually falls to her death.

Sexy Stuff

The prince kisses Snow White, and the songs are mostly of a romantic nature.


As has been noted by various film scholars and sociologists, the usually overlooked first word of the movie is "Slave!" as the Wicked Queen summons her slave in the "Magic Mirror."


Snow White is a Disney Princess, whose brand reaches far and wide. Expect to see Princess branding on consumer merchandise, food products, etc. as well as in books, websites, and other media.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disney's first animated film, does contain a few scenes that might frighten young preschoolers. The scenes with the wicked queen are especially creepy, as are the parts when Snow White runs through the frighteningly enchanted forest, bites the poisoned apple, and when the Queen turns into the old hag. While the violence is far from bloody, the queen does order the huntsman to kill Snow White and bring back her heart. As is to be expected in a film made in 1937, Snow White is a passive damsel in distress who needs to be rescued by her true love, the prince.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byKatajojo September 18, 2016

The Good, the Bad, and the Way Too Scary.

In all stories of the times, in the 1930's, when this movie came out, villains were villains, and the queen in this "childs?" cartoon is no excep... Continue reading
Adult Written byC_Personality January 13, 2012

Evil vs. Innocence plot is too evil for 3-8 y/o target audience

We just watched this movie with our two daughters, 5 and 2. What a mistake!!! The movie turned dark very quickly, and the "Dark Arts", witchcraft, c... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bydisneylove April 28, 2015

Classic, yet frightening at times.


Snow White is a genuine sweetie who is hated by her stepmother. When she meets her "true love", she falls hard for him. Unknown to he... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 29, 2020

Sexist and terrible

Ugh. Snow White with her obnoxious voice and obnoxiously tiny waist. A passive damsel in distress who gets saved by a prince and gets kissed without giving con... Continue reading

What's the story?

SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, the first feature-length animated film in movie history, is the original Disney Princess. In a far off kingdom, a wicked Queen (voiced by Lucille LaVerne) is so evil she forces her lovely step-daughter Snow White (Adriana Caselotti) to work as a servant. Obsessively vain, the Queen is only happy when her slave in a magic mirror tells her she's \"the fairest one of all.\" On the fateful day the magic mirror informs her that Snow White is the fairest, the jealous Queen orders a huntsman to kill Snow White and return with her heart. Instead, the huntsman instructs Snow White to flee, and he takes the Queen a pig's heart. Eventually forest animals direct Snow White to a small cottage -- the home of seven dwarfs who become her little friends and protectors. The Queen's mirror, however, knows Snow White is still alive and the fairest, so the Queen will stop at nothing to get rid of her beautiful rival.

Is it any good?

Although Snow White may not be as brave as Mulan, as intelligent as Belle, or as talented as Ariel, she is, like Cinderella after her, the sweetest among the Disney princesses. Girls nowadays like their princesses and movie idols with a little edge, but considering Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was made in 1937, it's still a timeless tale, chock-full of the key ingredients to Disney's recipe for success: romance, mystery, mild peril, and music (more than 70 years later, people can still sing along to "Some Day My Prince Will Come") .

Snow White has it all, and it's a testament to the original Walt Disney animators that the traditional, hand-drawn animation can still evoke so much terror (the bulging eyes that creep out of the enchanted forest, or the menacing look of the two vultures), pathos (the sight of Snow White's outstretched hand after eating the apple) and tenderness (the dwarfs mourning Snow White's apparent death). Seven decades have passed, and this original wicked Queen is still the scariest of the Disney villains, and Snow White quite possibly the fairest of them all.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how characters like Snow White might be different if they were created today, and what elements of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs make it a classic fairy tale.  

  • How is the violence in Snow White different than the violence in other Disney movies?

  • Snow White is a traditional damsel in distress. How have depictions of princesses and heroines changed since 1937?

  • Why is the Queen jealous of Snow White? Why is being beautiful so important to her? Does she learn humility or empathy?

  • How does Snow White demonstrate courage, compassion, and integrity in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

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