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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Elementary introduction to habitats and characteristics of animals in the Rocky Mountain area (black bears, grizzlies, cougars, wolves).
Promotes respect for the power and beauty of nature and animals. Stresses self-reliance, common sense, caution, teamwork, and empathy as primary values. At its core, the film sees life in the wilderness as preferable to life in a modern city.
Positive Role Models
Strong parental role models: responsible, loving, courageous, and resourceful. Male and female role models begin as traditional (Skip is hunter-builder; Pat is homemaker), but as the story progresses, Pat becomes more self-sufficient and in control of her own destiny. All of the characters treat animals with great respect and care.
Violence & Scariness
Multiple scenes of children and animals in jeopardy from wild animals. Trying to protect his loved ones, the family dog is attacked by a cougar, wolves, and a grizzly bear. He is never seriously injured but the often lengthy battle scenes are ferocious struggles. Bears and wolves chase the children in several scenes; the children run for their lives. Dad is bloodied from a fight with an angry mother cougar. In addition, the family is endangered by a rock landslide, raging river rapids, an intense grizzly bear attack on their home, and a windstorm which threatens to destroy that home.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A husband and wife kiss and embrace warmly several times, and are shown sleeping side by side.
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Products & Purchases
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Adventures of the Wilderness Family includes many scenes in which family members are threatened or attacked by wild animals and under siege from other natural events (a rockslide, a driving storm, a raging river). In contrast to the lovely, pastoral setting and images of some of nature's most beautiful and playful creatures, scenes of the family dog locked in ferocious battles with predators (wolves, a cougar, a grizzly), as well as moments during which the children run for their lives from those same predators, may be too disturbing and intense for younger or more sensitive kids. Still, the messages -- about teamwork, respect for nature, and a satisfying life without the trappings of the modern city -- are positive; and the portrayal of an interdependent family who love each other and mature together is admirable. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The Adventures of the Wilderness Family is a warm-hearted, old-fashioned family film, a crowd-pleaser and box office hit when it was released in the mid-1970s. By today's standards, however, the human acting is only passable; the story is predictable and safe; and the action sequences with teeth-baring, clawing animals fighting for their lives may be too intense for young audiences.
The animals are the stars here -- the bear cubs, the raccoons, the lovable old black bear, and the family dog turn in award-winning "performances" -- without relying on computer enhancements or sophisticated special effects. For families with kids mature enough to watch a lovable family dog contend with a pack of wolves or a grizzly bear, or a young mom and her kids seemingly defenseless as the grizzly wreaks havoc on the cabin in which they're hiding, it's an exciting adventure.
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.