A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Originally aired as a made-for-TV movie, this BBC adaptation of C.S. Lewis's popular story is a classic, quasi-religious story of good versus evil, four siblings, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy wander into the magical world of Narnia through the back of an old wardrobe. Because of the evil White Witch's reign, Narnia has been kept in a state of perpetual winter, and its inhabitants are in a constant state of fear. Help comes in the form of Aslan, the good lion king. The children must fulfill their destiny by battling the White Witch, taking their places on the four thrones, and turning Narnia back into the paradise it once was.
Is it any good?
This BBC adaptation of Lewis's story has stood the test of time; it's an enduring and engaging story with a moral. Despite some truly appalling special effects that might look a cheap by today's standards, the movie still brings to life the magical world of Narnia and the classic battle of good versus evil. The film is likely to appeal to a wide range of ages, but at nearly three hours long, parents might need to break the movie down into smaller chunks for younger viewers.
The Chronicles of Narnia is highly recommended for family viewing. Families who enjoy this version of the story will want to check out the big-budget version of the story, released in December 2005.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this film compares to the book. Is it a faithful adaptation? Is this better or worse than other movies you've seen adapted from books? What would you have included or left out if you were making the movie? What are some of the challenges of adapting a book for cinema? Families could also compare this adaptation to the new version of the film.
- In theaters: November 13, 1988
- On DVD or streaming: November 12, 1999
- Cast: Barbara Kellerman, Richard Dempsey, Sophie Wilcox
- Director: Marilyn Fox
- Studio: BBC
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy
- Run time: 171 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- MPAA explanation: general audiences
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
Our editors recommend
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
Streaming options powered by JustWatch