Swiss Family Robinson

Movie review by
Common Sense Media Editors, Common Sense Media
Swiss Family Robinson Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Good intro to older movies for kids; watch for stereotypes.
  • G
  • 1960
  • 126 minutes

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 13 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Teaches kids some fun (if unlikely) survival tips in case they are ever stranded in the wild. 

Positive Messages

Strong messages about simplicity: If you're surrounded by the people who matter the most, material goods are no longer important. Hard work, creativity, and teamwork are also valued. Other themes include perseverance, courage, and gratitude. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The Robinsons pull together to make the best of their isolated situation. They're grateful for the things they have, rather than spiteful for the things they've lost. They show imagination and intelligence when helping one another build, hunt, and cook. Some dated Asian stereotypes and gender stereotypes. 

Violence & Scariness

Pirates attack and threaten; the Robinsons fight back with a variety of homemade weapons. There are sword fights and cannons fired. Although there's no bloodshed, the violence looks real. Pirates fall into a pit occupied by a tiger, are crushed to death by booby-trapped logs rolling down a hill, are shot with rifles, and are killed or injured by makeshift grenades and explosives. Two brothers fuming with jealousy fight over the same girl. The Robinsons fight for survival when wild animals attack: a boa constrictor, a tiger, and sharks. 

Sexy Stuff

Brothers joke about their desire to see women again -- when openly wondering if there will be girls their age when they finally get to New Guinea, the older brother jokes that by the time they get off the island, "we won't care what age they are!" When a teen girl arrives on the scene, the two brothers constantly compete for her attention. Some kissing. 

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Father and sons sit around a table and share wine. The youngest son (about 10 years old) is allowed to take a sip from his father's glass. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Swiss Family Robinson is a 1960 Disney movie in which an 18th-century family on a boat bound for New Guinea shipwreck on a deserted island. Although there's no bloodshed, the violence looks real as the Robinsons do battle with a wide array of animals (sharks, tigers, snakes, etc.), as well as pirates. The pirates who attack the family appear as Asian stereotypes. A teen girl is stereotyped as a helpless damsel unable to survive in the wild without the help of the teen boys. The Robinsons fight, kill, and injure the pirates with swords, rifles, and a variety of improvised defenses such as homemade grenades, explosives, rocks, logs, and a pit occupied by a tiger. Animal lovers will dislike the way the youngest child captures wild animals to keep for himself. The teen brothers joke that by the time they get off the island, they won't care what age the women they see are.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 7, 9, and 12-year-old Written byDenise A. March 18, 2018

dated yes, but a nice pace and understandable film

It's not too scary, and things happen in a '1960's disney movie pace' that is GREAT for kids- it's not all bells and whistles and yes,... Continue reading
Parent Written byZozdie C. May 17, 2017

Disney's Swiss Family Robinson is outstanding!

There's wholesome action and adventure, bravery, perseverance, family values and more. I strongly recommend! It's one of my 5 year old granddaughter... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byKatoptris34 July 9, 2019

Old Movie Is Entertaining, But Has a Lot of Sexism

This is a funny movie that I loved as an 8 year old. But I didn't really care about the sexism. As an older movie, it is to be expected that there will be... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 6, 2019

Stupid, boring movie

This movie is so bad. The action is awful and it has to much threatening animals

What's the story?

A shipwrecked family, the SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON, sets out to make the best of their situation on a deserted island in this classic Disney film based on the book by Johann David Wyss. The Robinson family creates inventive homemade gadgets (most notably, a fabulous tree house), far outdoing the castaways on Gilligan's Island. But their new life isn't all fun and games as they battle pirates and wild animals.

Is it any good?

This film is a good introduction for kids reluctant to watch old movies. Shot on the island of Tobago, Swiss Family Robinson has gorgeous scenery and cleverly designed sets. Adults may occasionally wince at the stilted performances, but kids will be too wrapped up to care. Children may be enthralled by the animals but find the tiger and snake scary. Parents should note that the violence against the pirates, particularly in the battle scenes, could be a problem for younger viewers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it might really be like to be stranded somewhere far away from home like the family in Swiss Family Robinson. What should you do if you're ever in a tough situation like this? 

  • Families can also discuss the stereotypes featured in the movie. How has our culture changed since this movie was made? Why wouldn't the same characterizations be OK today?

  • How do the characters in Swiss Family Robinson demonstrate perseverance and teamwork? What about gratitude and courage? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

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