The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair

  • Review Date: May 2, 2007
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1990
  • Running Time: 180 minutes

Common Sense Media says

BBC's heroic Narnia adventure marred by slow pace.
  • Review Date: May 2, 2007
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1990
  • Running Time: 180 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

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
Not applicable
Language

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

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

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

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

The Silver Chairwas the fourth in a BBC-produced miniseries based on C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia fantasy novels. The story itself is compelling and fantastic, 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.

Families can talk 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.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 1, 1990
DVD release date:March 27, 2007
Cast:Camilla Powell, David Thwaites, Warwick Davis
Director:Alex Kirby
Studio:BBC
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Run time:180 minutes
MPAA rating:NR
MPAA explanation:Not Rated

This review of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

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

Kid, 9 years old December 31, 2010
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

wow i stuffed animals that look better then this

i hate this
Kid, 9 years old January 26, 2015
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

OK, But Some Inappropriate Scenes

Personally, I think this is Lewis's best work so far. But the fact that Puddleglum gets drunk is disturbing. It adds nothing to the plot, and just makes people uncomfortable. But it is otherwise a good movie.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written byWhite Rabbit November 11, 2011
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

Great

What other families should know
Too much violence

Poll

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

Essential School Tools