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 7+
Based on 97 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 175 reviews
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 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 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 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 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
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 byu a softy parent February 10, 2021

bruh u parents like hella soft

well first of all i watched it when i was 5 had and had no problems at all, it animated, really not violent at all, would recommend 5+ really good movie not violent, all these parents really having a sook that they showed there 12 or 8 year old kids a PG movie animated. like grow up,
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 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 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.
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.
Adult Written byOliversepid October 20, 2021

Great movie

The movies scariest part is probably when ogie boogie gets unzipped and maggots and bugs come out of him but my child could handle it and yours might to.
Parent of a 6-year-old Written bystephenwsmith September 11, 2021

Best movie ever

I was young I watch this movie and it was the best one ever I hope you like it too I think it it should be one and up we just couldn’t find one so we had to just deal with two anyways the ones I first watched it I loved it so much and I hope you do too see you later bye-
Adult Written byKaylah wampole June 23, 2021

New movie

I think they should make a new move like a second nightmare before christmas but with sally having kids with jack.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Parent of a 6 and 9-year-old Written byEfet March 10, 2021

My favorite movie ever of all time

It’s a great movie because it has fun music and cool characters.
Adult Written bymeydiana.rizki March 7, 2021

Beautiful family film!

How appropriate that I start holiday viewing with a film that bridges Halloween and Christmas.

Now, I am not a fan of animated films, but this isn't the usually animation you find in Disney films.

It is call stop-motion animation, and it looks very realistic.

Now, Jack Skellington from Halloweentown (voiced by Chris Sarandon and Danny Elfman (the singing), is really getting bored with Halloween - the same thing every year, and he goes walking in the forest and enters the door for Christmastown.

He gets excited about Christmas, and tries to institute it in Halloweentown. Unfortunately, he doesn't understand the concept and it turns out badly. They even kidnap Santa Claus (voiced by Edward Ivory).

And, can you believe they even wove a love story in here.

The film is full of interesting characters, of course, and some really good music. It is a visual feast

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Adult Written byPippiphooray January 27, 2021

My boy has loved this since he was 5years old

He may not of understood it all at first. I watched this as a child and now my boy has too. 5 years old when he first saw it. He wasnt scared of it at all. I had originally said no because i thought he'd be scared. Hes 7 now and still loves it.

This title contains:

Positive Messages