Parents' Guide to

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1979)

By Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

Early animated version of the classic.

Movie NR 1979 95 minutes
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1979) Poster Image

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Compared to later, lengthier adaptations of the story, this cartoon does an efficient job of reproducing the simple, fairy-tale imagery and language of Lewis' prose for the youngest viewers. Rather remarkably, there are no musical song-and-dance numbers to get in the way of the narrative and either dilute or overemphasize the Christian elements. Though this cartoon version was suitably softened for network prime time, it still has a disturbing image of the lion-messiah dead (temporarily).

THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE premiered on network television in 1979 and has been recently re-issued on video in the current craze for all things Narnia. It's an adaptation of C.S. Lewis' first Chronicles of Narnia tale, and it came about as a joint project between the Children's Television Workshop, the Episcopal Church, and Bill Melendez, an animator who was one of the primary animators responsible for the classic TV Peanuts specials. With its soft, flowing lines and basic hues (largely white, as this is set in a realm besieged by eternal snow), The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe looks like something very close to a coloring-book come to life. The atmospheric music associated with "Peanuts" is absent, replaced often with solemn quiet.

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