A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Meant to entertain rather than educate.
Positive portrayal of Native Americans.
Positive Role Models
No real role models. The antagonists are a regiment of U.S. Cavalry, who are shown fighting and imprisoning Native Americans, kidnapping horses, and voicing opinions that the West is theirs to conquer.
Violence & Scariness
Horses in frequent peril. Lead horse taken from his family by U.S. Cavalry. Lead horse shown trying to be trained and broken by a cavalryman. After his attempts fail, cavalryman orders the horse to be tied up, denied food and water for three days. Horses trapped in raging rapids, shown to be almost dead from near-drowning. Lead horse escapes from being part of a team dragging a locomotive up a hill, causes the locomotive to fall and roll down the hill, endangering men and horses, destroying buildings, explosions. Rifle shots. Horse kicks and throws off the men who try to tame him.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Cavalryman shown asleep at a campsite next to an almost-empty bottle of booze. Cigar smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron is a 2002 movie about a wild mustang stallion that cannot be tamed in the "Wild West." The scenes of Spirit being taken away from his family, and subsequent scenes of Spirit's cruel treatment while men try to "break" him, may be too intense at times for younger or more sensitive viewers. The soldiers use guns and treat Spirit harshly, applying whips and spurs. The blacksmith makes an unsuccessful attempt to brand him. While trying to break Spirit, after all else fails, Spirit is left tied to a post for three days in the hot sun with no food and water. Frequent peril includes a near-drowning scene in which horses are trapped in raging rapids. Characters are in peril and it appears that one has been killed. There's a fire and a chase scene. The Native American boy is portrayed as brave, compassionate, and honorable. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Many kids will enjoy this traditionally animated story about a brave wild mustang in the 19th-century American West, but parents may find it overlong even at a running time of less than 90 minutes. Parents should also know that there are some scary scenes and that the story may be hard for younger children to follow because the horse characters don't talk.
There are some lovely and powerful images of horses racing through endless stretches of grass, mountains, and rivers. The scary scenes are very vivid, especially the fire and a railroad engine knocked off its tracks that comes tumbling downhill. But the story moves slowly, especially during the dreary Bryan Adams songs. The narration (by Matt Damon) is more poetic than descriptive, so younger kids will benefit from some discussion about the story.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.