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

Movie review by
Caroline Gates-Shannon, Common Sense Media
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe Movie Poster Image
A classic tale of good vs. evil.
  • NR
  • 1988
  • 171 minutes

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 8 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The film has religious overtones.

Violence & Scariness

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

Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byChewbeccca April 1, 2020

Great family film

This BBC classic is a new favourite of my 2.5 and 4.5 year old. We watched it together first as a family as I was concerned it would be scary, but both the girl... Continue reading
Adult Written byPirogue May 13, 2011

The BBC Version, not the Disney Version

This is a BBC production of some of CS Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia (The Magician's Nephew, The Horse and His Boy and The Last Battle are absent). I d... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byAZN_ January 4, 2021

Go watch the new Narnia movies-Watty

This movie is traumatizing, the witch and Mr. Beaver are frightening and would probably terrify small children :D Go watch the newer Narnia movies, they have be... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bylydia129 June 16, 2018

Amazing, but read the book first

This movie was fantastic! Not scary and very interesting. I think it's a little too hard to understand for younger kids, though, and I'd recommend rea... Continue reading

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.

Movie details

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