The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair

Movie review by
Nancy Davis Kho, Common Sense Media
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair Movie Poster Image
BBC's heroic Narnia adventure marred by slow pace.
  • NR
  • 1990
  • 180 minutes

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Kids say

age 8+
Based on 7 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Bullied children follow a magical quest and return to their world prepared to stand up to their tormentors. The main characters are repeatedly reminded of their responsibility to complete their noble mission despite deep fear and physical danger. A cowardly adult character offers his life in exchange for that of a child, learning that he is indeed heroic.

Violence & Scariness

Scenes of fantasy violence and threats: giants hurling boulders at fleeing children and threatening to eat them, a bewitched character grabbing a child, an attack by an admittedly low-tech gigantic snake.

Sexy Stuff

No profanity, but a few "shut ups" and "idiots," which may not be appropriate for younger kids.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The adult guide for the children gets drunk and has a hangover.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this 1990 BBC adaptation of C.S. Lewis' book from the Chronicles of Narnia series does justice to the original story, but is slow moving and feels dated by the nearly 20-year-old special effects. The story of two children who escape from bullying schoolmates and set off on a noble quest presents rich and imaginative characters. Facing challenge after challenge -- some of their own making -- the children become the heroes of the story.

User Reviews

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Teen, 15 years old Written bybeleza September 26, 2021

sorry but not the same

i liked the other chronicles of narina better. even eustace wasent played by the same person, i think that is relly stupid
Teen, 13 years old Written byStellarTiger292 October 14, 2016

Fairly faithful adaptation tones down book's conservative commentary

Now, I'm kind of a weirdo. I not believe in God, believe in equal rights for everyone, identify as a feminist, and am a budding liberal. However, I am obse... Continue reading

What's the story?

THE SILVER CHAIR follows the heroic quest of Eustace (David Thwaites) and Jill (Camilla Power), bullied students at an English boarding school, as they escape to Narnia upon a mission assigned to them by the lion Aslan (voiced by Ronald Pickup). Reciting the four signs from Aslan like guideposts or a prayer, they seek to find missing Prince Rilian (Richard Henders), the son of Eustace's old friend Caspian (Geoffrey Russell).

Is it any good?

The Silver Chair was the fourth in a BBC-produced miniseries based on C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia fantasy novels, and the story itself is compelling and fantastic. It's populated with talking owls, centaurs, rock-like UnderEarth men, and an evil serpent/queen. Kids will probably appreciate the bravery and cunning that Jill and Eustace, along with their aptly named guide Puddleglum (Tom Baker) show as they progress on their journey. And the relatively straightforward display of good vs. evil is easy for kids to follow, though adults familiar with Lewis' layered storytelling may find themselves pondering the meaning of the Lady of the Green Kirtle (Barbara Kellerman) and the Silver Chair as well.

However, at almost 180 minutes, there are scenes of the heroes trekking across barren landscapes that feel like they were shot in real-time. And although the miniseries won BAFTA awards for costume design, camera work, and lighting when it premiered in 1989/1990, the special effects seem very dated now, especially compared to 2005's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe . The set designs, however, still hold up, particularly the gloomy underworld into which the children tumble. On the whole the movie is worth seeing for kids between 7 and 11 who enjoy adventure and fantasy stories, but be prepared for the inevitable special effects comparisons.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the quest that Jill and Eustace undertake. Why did Eustace want to help his old friend Caspian? Some of the challenges the children faced were choosing whom to trust, keeping promises at great personal sacrifice, and staying alert to the world around them -- have you ever been faced with any of these challenges? Also, the Narnia books contain many allusions to Christianity that could generate discussion, such as who Aslan is meant to represent.

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