By Carrie R. Wheadon,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Jazz and hijinks make this Disney cat tale meow.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Meant to entertain rather than educate.
Friends and family can be found anywhere; having adventures in life helps make it fun. Sticking together is important.
Positive Role Models
Duchess learns about a whole jazzy community, falls in love, and remains a lovely kitty cat. O'Malley becomes more aware of others' needs. Greedy butler Edgar drugs and abandons the cats, but he gets his comeuppance.
A Siamese cat called "Chinese cat" is portrayed with racist stereotypes, including a buck-toothed grin.
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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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lots of girl-cat eye-batting at O'Malley's flattery. More than a few giggly shots of Edgar the butler's underwear.
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"Hush your mouth" uttered by a dog.
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Products & Purchases
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.
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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 pitchfork. Plus played for laughs are shots of Edgar the butler's underwear, and a drunk goose weaving down the street. A Siamese cat called "Chinese cat" is portrayed with racist stereotypes, including a buck-toothed grin.
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Based on 11 parent reviews
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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 in 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 Edgar go back to the country for his hat and umbrella?
- In theaters: December 24, 1970
- On DVD or streaming: February 5, 2008
- Cast: Eva Gabor, Liz English, Phil Harris
- Director: Wolfgang Reitherman
- Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 79 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Last updated: February 18, 2023
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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.
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