The Pebble and the Penguin



Animated penguin tale heavy on romance, peril.
  • Review Date: December 3, 2007
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1995
  • Running Time: 74 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

A deep if lopsided friendship develops between two unlikely characters, causing one to risk his life for his friend's sake, even after he has been lied to. A developing romance is marked by loyalty and understanding in the face of teasing and threats from outside parties.

Violence & scariness

The main character is threatened by a bully, a leopard seal, and a pod of killer whales in suspenseful animated scenes that, at least in the latter two cases, convincingly mimic real threats on a penguin's survival.

Sexy stuff

The entire plot is predicated on Hubie getting back to Marina for mating season, so although nothing graphic is shown the topic is ever-present.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the main character has a stutter for which he is teased by a bully, but it becomes less noticeable around his friends and girlfriend. The same bully is a menace throughout the film, most disturbingly as he kidnaps the object of his romantic affection. When persuasion has failed, a character holds his breath to get his way. Depictions of animals roughly handled on the way to zoo captivity may trouble young animal lovers. Also, scenes of pursuit by leopard seals and killer whales are intense, probably more so than children under age 7 will want to watch.

What's the story?

The first animated film starring the formally dressed fowl, THE PEBBLE AND THE PENGUIN follows the adventures of hero Hubie (voiced by Martin Short, an Antarctic penguin determined to win sensitive Marina (Annie Golden) as his mate for life by presenting her with a pebble (the real-life ritual of Adelie penguins). Captured by an expedition team collecting birds for zoos, nerdish Hubie must escape and evade his captors as well as a bully rival, leopard seals, and killer whales in his quest. With help from new friend Rocko the Rockhopper penguin (James Belushi), Hubie takes on all kinds of perilous challenges and even lies to Rocko in order to get home to Marina in time for the all-important Full Moon Mating Ceremony.

Is it any good?


Penguin animation came a long way in the 10 years after this film was released. But for their coloring the main characters look like they might be ducks or, in Drake's case, an eagle. But the background animation of capricious weather conditions is lovely, as are the top-notch original songs by Barry Manilow and Mark Watters.

The homeward voyage is fraught with physical danger, and scenes of pursuit by leopard seals and killer whales are intense, probably more so than children under age 7 will want to watch. Almost equally scary are the scenes of the scheming bully Drake (Tim Curry) as he threatens, first verbally then physically, the true-hearted Marina.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the birds aboard the bad ship Misery. Do you think animals are better or worse off in zoos than in the wild? Can you think of any arguments that people on the opposing side of the debate might have? The movie highlights lots of different types of penguins -- make a trip to the library to learn more about their habitats and habits.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 11, 1995
DVD release date:April 11, 1995
Cast:James Belushi, Martin Short, Tim Curry
Directors:Don Bluth, Gary Goldman
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Adventures, Ocean creatures, Wild animals
Run time:74 minutes
MPAA rating:G
MPAA explanation:general audiences

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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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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byhomealonefan123 November 22, 2014

A great Don Bluth animated classic, full of catchy songs and characters families will love!

Yet another Don Bluth classic, and one of his finest too! If you are looking for an animated film with adventure, a short run time, catchy songs, and a fantastic performance by Tim Curry, then "The Pebble and the Penguin" is for you! It is one of my all time favourite films, and i bet i would be yours too!
Teen, 15 years old Written byDominicboo1 May 7, 2011

Sweet Love Story From Don Bluth

Don Bluth has never made a bad movie in my opinion. This is no exception. It's a cut lile adventure with nothing kids that watch some of today's dark cartoons can't handle. Drake does threaten to feed Marina to sharks, if she doesn't marry him. Hubie and Marina are good role models however.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 10 years old April 9, 2008

I Loved this movie when I was little!!!!

I can't believe it!!!! This is my favorite childhood movie!!!! I say that everyone should watch it!!!!


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