The Aristocats

Movie review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
The Aristocats Movie Poster Image
Jazz and hijinks make this Disney cat tale meow.
  • G
  • 1970
  • 79 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 3+
Based on 24 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 18 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Meant to entertain rather than educate.

Positive Messages

Friends and family can be found anywhere; having adventures in life helps make it fun. Sticking together is important.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Duchess learns about a whole jazzy community, falls in love, and remains a lovely kitty cat. O'Malley becomes more aware of others' needs. A Siamese cat called "Chinese cat" is a broad Asian stereotype typical of movies made at the time, complete with buck teeth and stupid grin. Greedy butler Edgar drugs and abandons the cats, but he gets his comeuppance.

Violence & Scariness

Edgar spikes milk for the cats with sleeping pills. Kittens and their mom are kidnapped and abandoned in the country. A few prolonged chase scenes where it looks like animals and people could get harmed, especially when animals are chased with a pitchfork.

Sexy Stuff

Lots of girl-cat eye-batting at O'Malley's flattery. More than a few giggly shots of Edgar the butler's underwear.

Language

"Hush your mouth" uttered by a dog.

Consumerism

Off-screen licensed tie-ins as part of Disney's marketing empire.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A goose exits a restaurant falling down drunk after being "marinated" by a chef -- played for many laughs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that younger/more sensitive kids may be upset by the drugging and abandonment of a mom cat and her three kittens. For a brief moment the kittens can't find their mom. In some slapstick chase scenes it looks like animals or people could be injured, especially when Edgar the butler wields a pitch fork. Plus played for laughs are shots of Edgar the butler's underwear and a drunk goose weaving down the street.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of an infant and 2 year old Written bymar0271 January 15, 2009

An old favorite

I loved this movie when I was a kis, and was anxious to show it to my little girl when she was old enough. She was a little over 2 when she first saw it, and s... Continue reading
Adult Written byBostonMomof2 April 9, 2008

Nothing to scare sensitive toddlers

My daughter is pretty easily frightened by concepts of loss and malice, like Bambi's mother getting shot or the wicked stepmother trying to poison Snow Whi... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bymoviefan115 March 10, 2012

The Cat's Delight

This film shows what Disney could do after losing their beloved boss, and this film shows the viewer sort of a parallel journey of cats wanting to go home. Plus... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old November 13, 2010
This was a really cute movie. Duchess is a really good role model for younger kids, since she stays polite and friendly throughout the whole film. The Chinese c... Continue reading

What's the story?

Disney's animated THE ARISTOCATS takes an elegant cat named Duchess (voiced by Eva Gabor) and her three kittens out of their high-brow element when a cantankerous butler dumps them in the country after he hears the cats are to inherit his employer's fortune before him. On their way home, the cats encounter O'Malley the Alley Cat who gets them out of a number of scrapes and introduces the brood to his jazz-playing "hep cat" friends. And just like Lady and the Tramp, Duchess can't resist the charms of the scrappy O'Malley.

Is it any good?

The highlight of this jazz-infused adventure is the toe-tapping song "Everybody Wants to Be a Cat." There's little plot (cats journey home) and the characters are less memorable than other animated animal capers like Lady and the Tramp and 101 Dalmatians. Phil Harris, who plays Baloo from the original Disney Jungle Book, is fun as O'Malley, but he lacks some of the rapscallion antics that would make him stand out.

Kids will love the silly chase scenes with Edgar the butler and the country hounds, Napoleon and Lafayette, especially the one around the windmill. They're choreographed for lots of giggles -- complete with failing-suspenders gags. But once the big jazzy number and madcap running about are over the movie falls flat. In a DVD extra, one of the composers reveals a lullaby-like song that was left on the cutting room floor about the owner's love for her cats. That's the kind of sweetness that could have made this movie the cat's pajamas.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Edgar the butler. He doesn't seem really mean like Cruella De Vil, but he's still not nice to Madame's cats. How come?

  • Why does he go back to the country for his hat and umbrella?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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