The Color of Friendship

Movie review by Kat Halstead, Common Sense Media
The Color of Friendship Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 9+

Smart Disney drama tackles race and apartheid; racist slurs.

NR 2000 87 minutes

Parents say

age 13+

Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 10+

Based on 1 review

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A Lot or a Little?

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

Stands out for .

Community Reviews

age 8+

Pretty good Disney drama mixes feel good story with racism, politics, police brutality

Recommended by Common Sense for bringing up race issues, my 8 year old and I both really liked it, even though she had expected a happier ending (more like the Disney princess movies). The story is moving along pretty fast, the acting is surprisingly good, and despite some predictable moments, it is fun to watch. The plot is sweet and relatable: An American family wants to take in an exchange student and a South African family wants to send one, and the two girls (13-14 year old) become friends. There is an early, great plot twist that makes the movie more enjoyable. What is astounding is that this 80 minute movie deals with racism, politics, and police brutality. It is all set in the late '70s , against the backdrop of Steve Beko's capture and death at the hands of South African police. Several characters are entitled, prejudiced or racist, others are on the receiving end of this. The movie displays their actions and goes to great length to show how peoples' lives and thinking are part of a society that acts and thinks that way. The story does a great job of not avoiding hard issues but also addressing them in a way that young children can understand and grasp. There are some tense and sad scenes, but nothing that upset my daughter too much. The "unhappy" ending is that the South African student goes back home even though she seems much happier in a free country with her American hosts. But she is clearly ready to help make a change at home and she inspired her American hosts to be less prejudiced.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
age 18+

sense able media for kids

Movie Details

Our Editors Recommend

  • Cry Freedom Poster Image

    Cry Freedom

    '80s drama about apartheid has violence, language.

    age 12+
  • Invictus Poster Image


    Inspiring tale about Mandela, rugby, and national pride.

    age 12+
  • Madiba Poster Image


    Powerful, profound series about the life of Nelson Mandela.

    age 13+

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

  • Little boy whispering to a girl
    See all
  • Holding hands
    See all
  • Young girl staring at her dad
    See all

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

  • Click to see more titles about activism
    See all
  • Cartoon hands high fiving
    See all
  • Cartoon picture of a map and jug
    See all

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.

See how we rate