Parent reviews for The Nightmare Before Christmas

Common Sense says

Tim Burton magic with just a touch of scariness.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 84 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 156 reviews
Parent of a 5 and 8-year-old Written byTmax21 April 17, 2015

Good for teens. Not ok for younger kids.

I watched with my 5 and 8 year olds and really regretted it. It is very macabre, violent and dark. The main characters are dead and have eyes falling out with worms coming out and body parts that fall off. There are scary evil kids who kidnap santa and sing a song about hitting santa with a stick, boiling him alive, and chopping santa into bits. I think it is probably ok for teens. But if there were a way for me to undo my children seeing that I would.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent of a 8 and 12-year-old Written byCometdogamundo February 20, 2014

A sophisticated and brilliant fable for teenagers and adults

We watched it based on the glowing review here but it was a mistake! Tim Burton is brilliant and the music and art direction are amazing, but this is a very sophisticated story (way over my 8 and 12 year olds heads, even with me pausing and trying to explain) and it is full of extremely disturbing and macabre images (scary monsters under the bed or below the stairs, really freaky Halloweentown residents like the evil Franken-duck and the kid with a hatchet in his head) and concepts (like the fact that the Halloweentown folks can't understand Christmas or what a toy or gift is supposed to be). If you really listen to the words of the songs there is some very graphic and violent content, and the whole kidnapping Santa theme is hugely upsetting -- Jack dispatches three scary goblins to kidnap Santa, and they first return with an obviously petrified pink fuzzy Easter Bunny (this made my 8 year old cry). They return with Santa who is then tortured and writhing with his hands tied above his head by the Boogie Man -- really horrifying stuff! We stuck it out hoping it would get better but it really never does, at least for my kids -- maybe we're too "unicorns and rainbows" but in my book this really is a fable for older teenagers and grown-ups, very sophisticated and edgy and brilliant, not at all for kids (even older ones like mine who is obsessed with every dystopian YA novel out there and very comfortable with vampires and Hunger Games etc.) who still believe in magic and fairies and goodness in the world.
Parent of a 5-year-old Written byMuttiblus October 29, 2013

Start of the holidays; great for young and old alike.

My daughter started watching this when she was three. Her absolute favorite. I was hesitant at first, but allowed it, and am glad I did.

Between this and the movie "Monsters Inc.," it possibly helped her with not being scared of monsters and what not.

I like that there is not an overt love story in it, i.e. , Sally+Jack=marriage+baby. Tired of movies that ruin a perfectly good story with a focus on love.

Sally is a good role model for girls. She is thoughtful and determined. She tries to persuade Jack not to interfere with something he has no idea. She is clever.

Jack is a fine master of Halloween ceremonies - not so much with Xmas. It is important for kids to learn (and adults to know) they can't be the best a t everything. Hone skills to be super fantastic at something. And if someone is doing a great job at their skill, don't try to take over. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

It is a chance to attempt to explain about culture and how people are raised differently. Jack had no idea about Xmas. He cannot comprehend it. He's ethnocentric because he has to be. A good chance to talk about differences.

The arts. It is made in an awesome way and it is amazing to watch. Kids take in everything, and there are so many small things she saw that I overlooked. Level of detail is amazing, and they will see it. And when kids can understand it was made with clay and photographs - and they understand how it works - it blows their mind. Inspires them.The music. The friend who persuaded me to let her watch it gifted her the soundtrack. For about a year it was my daughter's favorite music (the entire album, i.e., it fostered an appreciation for classical music).

Any concerns about nightmares? She never had a one.

Obviously, use common sense, but my daughter loves this movie and the protagonists. Even the antagonist.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Parent of a 3 and 6-year-old Written byiatoolman September 29, 2014

scary is relative

I don't know what the problems are. Scary is all relative. The grossest part is when the oogy boogy man unzips himself and maggots come out, but since it is all clay, it isn't graphic. Dark themes are not the same as scary. My children have never been scared or had nightmares and love the movie.
Parent of a 3, 3, and 5-year-old Written byjonallypugliese1023 October 23, 2013

Love The Nightmare Before Christmas

My husband and I love this movie. We would let any if our children watch this movie in a heart beat. seriously what are you talking about? Rated R??? Have you even ever seen The Nightmare Before Christmas? Oh no there's kissing big deal this movie isn't scary at all you people need to calm down so many dumb comments on this one

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Parent of a 2, 3, and 8-year-old Written byMom0f4Blessings September 15, 2010

Big Tim Burton Fan!!!!

This movie teaches kids how to be themsevles as Jack Skellington learns.It also REALLY stimulates your imagination and creativity which is always a plus.This is MY personal favorite movie with a ton of awesome visuals and catchy music for the kiddos.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byBebop ben August 1, 2019

Good for bad kids

I put this movie on when my little ones are acting up, it works well at scaring them into just watching all the monsters. At night its a bit of problem getting them to sleep.
Adult Written bynewmanfamily November 21, 2014

Poor messages for young kids

We watched this with our 7 and 9 year old and turned it off half-way through. The overall feeling of the movie is "laughing at someone else getting beat up". Torturing Santa Claus is just not right for a kid to see and laugh at. We were very surprised to see age 7 as the "green" age for this movie.
Parent of a 9 and 12-year-old Written bydavidmal770 October 30, 2013

A bit too dark for 7 year olds

I normally agree with CommonSenseMedia but age 7 rating for this movie is off in my opinion.
Adult Written byI_TellTheTruth March 28, 2013

Really cute movie!

I remember kids talking about this movie when I was a little kid, and I always thought, "Why does Tim Burton have to take something as innocent as a child's Christmas movie and turn it into something so creepy and messed up?" My thoughts could not have been more off base. Jack Skellington, the protagonist, is actually very kind-hearted and likeable; all he wants is the chance to bring something as joyous as Christmas to the world becaue he has become bored of bringing the same old frightening Halloween to everyone. He means no harm to Santa Claus; he gleefully tells him that he only "kidnapped" him so he could bring Christmas to the world himself and demands that his people "treat him well". That being said, there are characters in Halloween Town who would like to harm Santa - although he is ultimately unharmed. Some of the characters and creatures in the film could easily frighten the very young or the very sensitive. I don't know if I would have liked it when I was younger but, then again, I was very sensitive. There is no blood in the movie, but toys and dead animals are beheaded, a song includes lyrics about "chopping Santa into bits" (not sung by Jack), characters remove their own limbs or heads or brains, one character is revealed to be made up of millions of insects, and the entire film is dark and a bit creepy. Honestly, though, as long as the audience can handle the "Halloween-ish" content, the plot is adorable and the movie is perfect for watching around Christmas or Halloween time!

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent of a 5, 6, 7, and 11-year-old Written byAnEpicGuy December 5, 2012

Fun for all as long as you can handle scary

Jack may be freaky, scenes may be creepy, but it's a fun movie for all as long as you arent scared easily.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent of a 6-year-old Written byTrebuchet May 26, 2011

An annual tradition in our house

This is one of my favorite movies. I don't love everything Tim Burton produces, but this one is charming and the music is great. In particular, I love that failure isn't the end of Jack. There is so much pressure to succeed, and so little about how to pick yourself up and find life after a setback. The religion and holiday topic was not an issue for me, but people who don't celebrate Christmas or who emphasize the religious nature of it might want to view it before sharing it with their kids. Also, it can be a little scary, so if your child frightens easily, wait another year or two.
Parent of a 7 and 9-year-old Written byNiche March 7, 2010

Perfect for families with dark tastes

Our family loves this movie. Not for all families in its quirky darkness. Fits our family's taste to a tee.

This title contains:

Positive role models
Parent of a 4 and 4-year-old Written byandsoitgoes May 31, 2009

This is Halloween!

I never enjoyed this movie as much as I did when watching it alongside my 4-yr old twins.

I was iffy on what they'd think about it. I knew there was some questionable subject matter within, the kids were pretty mean, Jack had a few situations where he got pretty nasty towards others and the obvious of Jack getting shot out of the sky and Oogie Boogie shooting at Jack with his contraptions.

However, I was willing to risk it, sit with my girls and explain the situation. In the end, it was worth it. I think they appreciated that the kids there were being nasty. That Oogie Boogie was bad, and that Jack was just confused about what he really wanted.

I know there are some things they don't FULLY get, but as long as you're willing to sit, explain and stress that there are things inappropriate about the BAD things, there are SO many good things about the movie.

The music, the end morals of wanting to be different, better and of course, the love story.

Give it a try by yourself. You know your kids the best, and will know if this is right for them. But heck, if you haven't seen it... DO. It's great for adults, too!

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byRatqueen July 8, 2020
Adult Written byChris_Feher April 27, 2020

Spooky, Yet Charming

This movie is a masterpiece. There is no other way of putting it. There are so many things about it that make it good, so I will just list a couple. First, the stop motion animation is really fun to watch, the plot is very emotional and charming, and the songs in this movie are really enchanting and catchy. However, Nightmare is a movie that half takes place in Halloween, so it will be pretty scary for younger children. Most of the characters are either disturbing, scary, or just weird in general. All of it though, is still pretty mild, and any kid over 8 should handle it just fine. I would highly recommend this movie as it is for all ages. It is absolutely perfect for a family fun night.

PS. I am clicking the "Too much violence" tab , not for violence, but for scariness.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Violence & scariness
Parent of a 8 and 11-year-old Written bymarkegiani March 14, 2020

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byKnano7 January 18, 2020

Inappropriate for any age

This movie is not for anyone. It is far too dark and sinister. I am very much an advocate of not judging a book by it'a cover and look for the beauty beneath the surface, but there is zero here. First, the true meaning of Christmas isn't about Sandy Claws (Santa Claus) it is about Christ. They even have a torture chambers and kids take joy in singing about how they are going to torture Sandy Paws in which they do so by boiling him alive, and chopping him into bits?! How can anyone think that is ok for children to see even when disguised under a "positive" message? I was hoping to teach my kids a lesson on how there are much more to things than just what things seem on the surface. The only things they saw beneath the surface was painting bleeding ducks, torturing people, taking joy and laugh at others pain, and seeing dark things that are less healthy for the soul than they should be.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written bytony10 October 28, 2019

Not a good movie

Watched it with the kids and not a recommended movie at all stay and save your time better off watching caroline or some other family movie

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byMBPaulsen October 21, 2019

Best for older kiddos

Love this movie! I disagree with the 7+ rating though. The parts with the clown tearing his face away, singing about chopping up Santa Clause, the oogie boogie man's entire scene with Santa tormenting /torturing Santa and having fun with it, kid with a hatchet in his head, magots spilling out of characters, and some of the scary images are enough to give any little kid nightmares or icky thoughts. This may be difficult to watch for children that can't fully separate fantasy from reality yet (toys attacking, etc.) It's a darker movie and the story may be difficult for a younger child to follow. It likely depends on what a kid has already been exposed to as well. Great fun and entertaining movie for older elementary kids and teens- able to understand the concept of "not understanding Christmas spirit." I'd show it to a class of 6th graders, but not a class of second graders.