Want more recommendations for your family?
Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
As a "modern-day" retelling of the Phoenix story from mythology, there isn't much in the way of positive messages.
Positive Role Models
The Phoenix occasionally speaks wise words about the cycle of life, but, on the whole, the children in the movie don't venture far beyond the cliches of precocious kids with smart mouths.
Violence & Scariness
Mild peril, as one of the boys falls from a great height off a magic carpet.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A young woman who works as a caretaker for three kids is shown workin in front of a poster of a male model with his shirt off and his jeans unbuttoned with the caption, "A Hard Man Is Good to Find."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
"Ass" and "hell." Some name-calling among siblings on the order of "dweeb" and "brace face."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Phoenix and the Magic Carpet is a 1995 movie starring Peter Ustinov as a phoenix discovered by three siblings living in their late grandparents' house. There is some sibling name-calling on the order of "dweeb" and "brace face," as well as "ass" being used by one of the kids. There also is a poster in the room of the young caretaker woman of a shirtless male model with his jeans unbuttoned with the caption "A Hard Man Is Good to Find." Aside from this, the gravitas Peter Ustinov tries to bring to this role is trumped by the cheesy special effects -- the phoenix looks less like a mythological bird and more like a store-bought Cornish game hen with a puppet head attached -- to say nothing of the grating and predictably precocious acting from the three children in the movie. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
THE PHOENIX AND THE MAGIC CARPET is a dated '90s movie with bad child acting and cheesy special effects. Despite Peter Ustinov's best efforts at bringing gravitas to the role of the phoenix, his efforts are marred by a phoenix that looks less like a majestic mythological creature and more like a store-bought Cornish game hen with a chicken puppet head stuck on top. It's unintentionally hilarious, but it does cheapen the overall attempt to present a contemporary retelling of the classic myth.
The story itself is not bad, but the overall presentation prevents this from being better than it should have been. Aside from Ustinov, the acting is overdone and stale -- the three kids act precocious and over-annunciate stale putdowns. For families interested in mythology, this isn't the best place to start.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
Excellent Adventure Movies for Family Fun
Best Action Movies for Kids
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate