The Brave Little Toaster

  • Review Date: May 20, 2003
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1987
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Appliances make a suspenseful, incredible journey.
  • Review Date: May 20, 2003
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1987
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Friends of the appliance genre band together to overcome dark and scary obstacles; good-natured grumbling about one another's faults doesn't get in the way of them sticking together through thick and thin. Nice message too about the value of the tried and true over constantly needing newer, better things.

Violence & scariness

More dark and threatening imagery than you would expect. Even though the violence is directed at household appliances, kids may be troubled as the appliances are dropped into waterfalls, sucked into quicksand, disarticulated, and chased by a malicious supermagnet at a dump.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

One scene shows a billboard with the TDK logo; since it's the only placement in the entire movie it does jump out.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is the rare instance of a non-pet or child-based animated film. Appliances that are imbued with likable personalities and voices struggle with feelings of abandonment and obsolescence, and decide to set out into the city to find their master, the young boy who used to visit the summer cottage where they've been left. The movie has some funny moments but feels more like a journey film than a comedy, as the friends face and overcome some genuinely disturbing challenges. Appliances are dropped into waterfalls, sucked into quicksand, disarticulated, and chased by a malicious supermagnet at a dump.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Abandoned by the little boy they refer to as \"the master\" (voiced by Timothy Day), small cottage appliances work together to track him down in the big city. Along the way, they face unfriendly terrain, greedy repair-shop parts hunters, and jealous city appliances.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Disney's THE BRAVE LITTLE TOASTER, which was written by sci-fi writer Thomas M. Disch, makes the audience root for the appliances and their plucky determination. It also opens the door to a dialogue about the disposable culture in which we live, where appliances can be dumped in favor of a newer model even when they work just fine. The animation seems a bit dated and grainy, but it somehow acts to reinforce the notion that the appliances are out of pace with their city competitors.

Visual comedy is at a minimum, though the scenes of the appliances considering different transportation modes (pogo sticks, refrigerators on wheels) are funny. Most of the humor comes from the smartly written dialogue and Radio (Jon Lovitz) runs away with all the good lines, as when he tells shorted-out Kirby to recover by making "even carpet sweeping motions!" Another nice touch is the appliances who seem to be channeling Hollywood celebrities, like the air conditioner who sounds suspiciously like Jack Nicholson. Children younger than 5 might enjoy the story but be frightened by the strong imagery -- even if it's just appliances being hurt, they're appliances the audience grows to care about.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the friends worked together to travel from the country cottage to the city; What obstacles did they overcome? How did each of their skills -- Kirby's strength, Radio's navigational abilities -- contribute to them finding the master? What are some good things about using older items instead of buying new -- from an economic, environmental, and/or emotional standpoint?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 10, 1987
DVD release date:September 2, 2003
Cast:Deanna Oliver, Jon Lovitz, Phil Hartman
Director:Jerry Rees
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:NR
MPAA explanation:not rated

This review of The Brave Little Toaster was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byCSM Screen Name... November 6, 2009
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

DO NOT LET LITTLE CHILDREN SEE THIS MOVIE!!!!

When I was around 6, my mother left me in the nursery while she went shopping at the grocery store, and the babysitter let us watch this movie. I was TRAUMATIZED when I saw it. It gave me nightmares for weeks. These scenes include the air conditioner blowing up, the lamp getting struck by lightning, the infamous clown scene (which made me cry), and the scene where the cars were being smashed by the compactor. The scene with the compactor was the worst. About 8 cars are crushed into little tiny cubes that looked like bouillion cubes. Moreover, the cars are singing about death on the way to the compactor, and there is this big magnet picking them up that has these menacing eyes. Also, the compactor has these really menacing teeth that repeatedly open and close as the cars are being brought to it. This scene was entirely inappropriate for a children's film, as the cars are anthropomorphic in nature and you grow to care for them just before their lives are cut tragically short (I'm 22 years old and I still get tears in my eyes when I think about it. Maybe I'm just too sensitive). Anyway, I say all of that to tell parents not to let little children see this movie. At an older age they may be able to handle it, but why would they want to? There are so many better cartoons out there.
Teen, 15 years old Written bycud May 16, 2009
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

Uh.. I watched it when I was little but I"m not sure that all kids should.

This movie has a dark edge that can leave even adults moderately disturbed. One thing the common sense review didn't mention was the language. I think it's pretty bad for a young kid's movie: I know I noticed the number of times they said "stupid" and "idiot" and "shut up" when I was a little kid, because I wasn't allowed to say that.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 15 years old Written bywho3697cares February 14, 2009
AGE
7
QUALITY
 
Very dark for a children's film. But this is probably what makes it so extraordinary.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential School Tools