Snowball Express



Retro romp in the snow is more fun for parents than kids.
  • Review Date: June 10, 2009
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1972
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Though John Baxter is a bit of a slacker at work, who tells the token female co-worker that she has great legs, he does show some backbone in the end when he risks everything for his family.

Violence & scariness

Snowmobile race shows crashing and banging, but no violence.

Sexy stuff

A ski bunny puts the moves on Mr. Baxter, inviting him up to her room. Mr. and Mrs. Baxter kiss and lie in bed (clothed) together. When the Baxter family discusses the move to Colorado and asks their son to go to his room while the parents speak, he asks, jokingly, "What does this gotta do with sex?"


"God-darn" and "shut up" are as bad as it gets.


The story concerns inheritance, greed, and the effect that money has on people. That said, the inheritance is a run-down ski lodge that the Baxter family gets up and running with their own hard work.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Hotel guests drink to the point of getting drunk. Some cigar smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this Disney classic is rather adult-centric, relying on themes of job loss, inheritance, and the struggle to survive in a new environment, for material. Kids might find the movie slow to start, but parents will enjoy the trip back in time -- when skiing was a novel new sport for swinging adults!

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What's the story?

John Baxter (Dean Jones) works for an insurance company in New York City, where he shows up late, putting his feet on his desk, shrugging his shoulders to reprimands. But when he is told that his distant uncle has died and bequeathed a ski resort to his family, the wheels in his head begin to turn. The next thing you know, he has packed up the wife and kids in the station wagon and left city living far behind. Soon he discovers that the hotel has seen better days and that all of the hard work put into its rebuilding can be shattered in an instant. Entertaining ski capers and a snowmobile race make for a fun ending.

Is it any good?


The first thirty minutes of the movie are a little on the dull side. Once the skiers show up, however, the fun begins. Those parents who remember watching their own parents snowplow down the hill wearing bright yellow pants and orange parkas will get a kick out of the adult- paradise ski scenes. Kids will enjoy the goofy ski escapades as well as the comedic epic snowmobile race. Chances are, however, that most contemporary kids won't last through the opening credits. Worth a try, however, if your family is heading on a trip to the mountains.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about moving to a new home. What would happen if your family uprooted and moved to a completely different environment like the Baxters did in this movie? Who would you miss? What would you look forward to?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 22, 1972
DVD release date:April 22, 2003
Cast:Dean Jones, Harry Morgan, Nancy Olson
Director:Norman Tokar
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Sports and martial arts
Run time:93 minutes
MPAA rating:G
MPAA explanation:General Audiences

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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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