The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe

  • Review Date: November 27, 2005
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1988
  • Running Time: 171 minutes

Common Sense Media says

A classic tale of good vs. evil.
  • Review Date: November 27, 2005
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1988
  • Running Time: 171 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The film has religious overtones.

Violence & scariness

Some battles between the kids and the White Witch's army.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film features little, if anything, to worry about. The battle scenes and the White Witch might scare younger viewers. And some parents might also find the religious overtones of the film objectionable.

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.

Families can talk 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.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 13, 1988
DVD release date:November 12, 1999
Cast:Barbara Kellerman, Richard Dempsey, Sophie Wilcox
Director:Marilyn Fox
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Run time:171 minutes
MPAA rating:NR
MPAA explanation:general audiences

This review of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe was written by

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  • 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.

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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.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

If i lived in 1988....awful special effects

This, if it were more real, would be rated PG. However, everything looks fake and in battle scenes you can hardly tell people are fighting. There are no, but if it was made good there would be, intnse action. I think this would be appropriate yet very hard to understand for a 4 year old. The unicorns and other animals are either people in a bad costume or a cartoon animated creature. (For example beavers look like bears, since there people in costumes). BOTTOM LINE: appropriate for 4 and up with terrible special effects. Watch the new one in cenima's now.
Teen, 14 years old Written byIsaac W. July 6, 2011

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (TV Movie, 1988) review-Iwilder reviews

This film debuted as a television series in 1988 and was later put together into a full-legnth film, which debuted on BBC, along with the series. Arguably, this is one of the stupidest, least thought-out movies l have ever seen. It's an OK film, but it is very VERY hard to follow for younger viewers. However, I did laugh throughout the entire film; it was SO stupid, it was hilarious. My brothers busted out laughing every time they saw Lucy's face, smiling or crying. I'll have to admit, it is very funny, as well as the 6-foot beavers. And what happened to the all-out battle at the end? I don't think roaring the queen off a cliff counts, it's just stupid. I recommend this to anyone with a taste in cheesy movies.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Adult Written byDodds April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

A classic story for all ages.


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