Spirited Away Movie Poster Image

Spirited Away

Magnificent movie with scary creatures and a strong heroine.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 125 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

If you have faith in yourself, you can overcome your fears and act courageously enough to save those you love from danger. Also, kindness, selflessness, and a lack of greed will provide great rewards. 

Positive role models

Chihiro is an exemplary 10-year-old girl who selflessly enters the world of spirits to save her parents. She faces frightening circumstances and rises to the occasion each time. She is kind while others are greedy. Characters demonstrate courage, perseverance, humility, and gratitude.


The scariest part is when a beloved character in the shape of a dragon returns home injured with blood coming out of his mouth and droplets of blood splatter as he moves. He seems close to death at times. Parents becomes ravenous in a disturbing way and turn into pigs, and Chihiro isn't sure they'll turn back into humans. A couple of characters, like No-Face and Yubaba can be off-putting and disturbing to younger viewers. The creatures range from strange looking birds or serpents and shape-shifting things to a carnivorous creature that lures others with gold and then preys on them. Various creatures shift into scary beings or people, and spells make odd things happen like a girl's mouth zippered shut. A giant baby causes trouble and kicks someone in the face. The mood is foreboding and ominous when Chihiro walks through the woods or encounters these strange creatures.


None, but a gigantic baby's bottom is visible. Chihiro and Haku share a close and loving bond, but there's no hint of romance.


There's one threatening exclamation, "I'll rip your mouth."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One character smokes a cigarette and another is shown with an ashtray containing cigarettes. Sake is offered to someone.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Hayao Miyazaki's magical adventure Spirited Away is widely considered an animated masterpiece, but it can be a creepy and frightening experience for younger viewers. There are dozens of freaky looking creatures that threaten each other or the protagonist, who is trying to save her parents. Many, many scenes involve these strange beings, and younger children used to more sanitized characters may find them disturbing. One particularly scary scene involves a beloved character in the shape of a dragon who returns from a journey injured, bloody, and on the verge of death. One character smokes and in a dinner scene someone is offered sake. Older children ready for a more sophisticated animated tale will be mature enough to enjoy this story of a brave young female protagonist.

What's the story?

In SPIRITED AWAY, Chihiro is a sullen 10-year-old girl who wanders into a world ruled by witches and monsters, where humans are changed into animals. When her parents gorge themselves on enchanted food, they turn into pigs and Chihiro must overcome her whiny self in order to enter the spirit world and win them back. To do this, she must appeal to Yubaba, the scary old witch who runs the spirit bath-house. Chihiro is aided by Haku, Yubaba's right hand helper and our heroine's friend.

Is it any good?


This is a thrilling, spectacularly beautiful movie, though it's not for little kids who get scared. Despite the animation similarities, Spirited Away is not Totoro, the beloved "feel-good" classic, but an edgy portrayal of what a young girl needs to do to grow up and take responsibility for more than herself. She fights Yubaba, she rescues Haku and aids a wounded spirit, triumphing where others do not because she is not sidetracked by greed.

Excellent voice-overs are provided by Davleigh Chase as Chihiro, Jason Marsden as Haku, Suzanne Pleshette as Yubaba, Michael Chiklis as Chihiro's father, Lauren Holly as Chihiro's mother, and John Ratzenberger as the Assistant Manager. John Lasseter of Toy Story fame directed the English voices.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how Spirited Away compares to the average American animated film. What's different? What's similar?

  • Can you think of other movies where the main character is a girl? Is there anything different about this girl compared to other movies about girls? Does this movie challege or reinforce any stereotypes?

  • How does Chihiro demonstrate perseverance and courage in Spirited Away? What about humility and gratitude? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 20, 2002
DVD/Streaming release date:April 15, 2003
Cast:Daveigh Chase, Jason Marsden, Suzanne Pleshette
Director:Hayao Miyazaki
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Character strengths:Courage, Gratitude, Humility, Perseverance
Run time:125 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some scary supernatural scenes

This review of Spirited Away was written by

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written bygorehaunter July 6, 2009


Hmmm Princess mononoke is made by the same people and is pg-13, but in this website says that everyone over 9 can veiw it, while this is pg, and says over 11. They got this completely wrong. This movie is not like the comedy or playing kind, but it is very heartwarming, and feels very good when you watch it. Kids should be over age 7 maybe to watch it. The only innapropriatte sence is when a dragon is poked and scratched by a thousand paper birds, and the dragon has red blood, like 30% over his body, and when he crashes into the building, blood splatters. The dragon survives though. This 20 second sence is the only part of the movie where there is very very mild blood. 20 seconds out of 3 hours. Yes, the movie is very long. It is nightmare fantasy-ish. Kids under 7 may be scared... be warned. ( my sister, the age of 6 thought it was "awesome" and not "scary" )
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byocie14 October 2, 2010

Don't care how good it is...

I saw this movie when I was about 8, and I was TERRIFIED. Still am, every time I am alone in my house and I turn a corner, I am scared that "no-face" monster is there. SO FREAKY AND UPSETTING
Kid, 11 years old July 27, 2009

Awesome movie

Omigosh probably one of the BEST movies ever!! Enjoyed it so much!