The Last Unicorn

  • Review Date: July 20, 2005
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1982
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Dated cartoon may prove difficult to sit through.
  • Review Date: July 20, 2005
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1982
  • Running Time: 93 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable

Frequent amount of mortal threats ("I'll kill you!" and the like) and two fairly graphic death scenes.

Not applicable

Several utterances of "hell" and "damn."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie is best suited for mature kids approaching double digits in age. There's a proliferation of borderline profanity (including several utterances of 'hell', 'damn' and non-religious references to God), a frequent amount of mortal threats ("I'll kill you!" and the like) and two fairly graphic death scenes, which may make quite an impact on the younger children.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

The last of the mythological unicorns is prompted by a wise butterfly to seek the rest of her species. She is taken captive by an evil witch, but soon she bands together with a magician and his gypsy wife who see her through her quest.

Is it any good?


Nearly 25 years after its initial public release, THE LAST UNICORN struggles to keep up with its contemporaries in the world of animated-motion pictures. The seamless blending of movement, scenery, and sound typified by today's animated production is still decades away from this one. There are very few special effects, and even the music and songs sound like throwbacks to the 70's -- which isn't surprising considering the film's 1982 release. Worse, the movie's plot isn't strong enough to surmount its audio/visual deficiencies. What UNICORN gives up in terms of its look and feel, it barely makes up for with a circuitous storyline that naps in the wrong places. The basic structure is cute enough. Unfortunately, the abundance of untimely singing numbers and unexplained non-sequiturs quickly lose whatever pace the story has, as it takes a windy, round-about route (that's not necessarily fun) to rescue the unicorns.

Comic relief is provided in the form of Schnemndrick, whose amateur spells switch our unicorn (who remains nameless for the movie's duration) into a lady of nobility to help her elude the fearsome Red Bull, who's also otherwise unnamed. Throw in your typical lovelorn prince, an evil king, and a number of cameos from talking cats to skeletons, and you've got all the makings of a formulaic fairy tale. But with a ready supply of violence (including one fairly graphic scene of a harpy literally eating a witch) and a surprising cache of B-list "bad" words, THE LAST UNICORN may be better off left in the 80s.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the threatened and actual violence depicted in the film is fantasy and shouldn't be confused with everyday existence. Also, it may be pertinent to explain why the Unicorn leaves her newfound love at the movie's conclusion, despite the latter's proclamation of his undying faith.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 20, 1982
DVD release date:March 16, 2004
Cast:Alan Arkin, Jeff Bridges, Mia Farrow
Directors:Arthur Rankin Jr., Jules Bass
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures
Run time:93 minutes
MPAA rating:G
MPAA explanation:all audiences

This review of The Last Unicorn 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.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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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Teen, 15 years old Written byAnimeAelita November 19, 2009

Cute movie...

Another movie I used to love as a kid, it made me cry, but I still loved it! I would watch it over & over again, always singing along to the songs :) It is a bit violent, & sure there are a couple 'scarry' looking creatures...But the only age group that should scare, is under 4years old...If it scares any older kids-than they're babied...Please don't take that the wrong way parents... There is NO bad language at all, mild violence, & a little bit of magic, but it's a cartoon! You never see anyone actually die, that old witch, the harpy decends upon her, but you never see her die {sure it's implied & that's what happens, but still} Overall i think it's a decent movie for all ages :) When I was little, I got scarred easily, this did not scare me at all! ^_^
Parent of a 4, 5, and 9 year old Written bybchicmomma September 20, 2009

Not a movie for kids at all!

This is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. My children also thought so. There is a scene were a magician turns a tree into a woman's form and her giant boobs are smothering him-- my 5 year old son and 9 year old daughter thought it was really weird as did I. Then a harpy-- a vicious hawk-like bird with two sets of dangling human-looking boobs is seen killing and presumably eating an old witch. A prince falls in love with a woman (a unicorn) and for the life of us we cannot figure out why except that she is beautiful-- she is sad and mopey and complains the whole time. I have read other sites and this movie has a cult following and is admitted by these people that it is not a film for kids and should not be marketed as such. There is also a very scary giant menacing bull that gave my kids nightmares. We watched it because a trusted friend with kids the same age said her kids loved it, but then she admitted that she had never watched it with them. I found nothing redeeming about this movie at all.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Adult Written bynduns August 8, 2009

Okay, CS, do you even PAY ATTENTION half the time?

Dude, the prince in this movie states the very message this film is getting across near the end. Honestly, you people just don't realize how well-written this movie is, but I guess that's alright. Nor do the vast majority of critics out there. Yes, it gets confusing at times, and perhaps it's a little overwritten, but it's still a beautiful film and one of my personal favorite fantasy movies.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models


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