The Rescuers

Movie review by
Ellen MacKay, Common Sense Media
The Rescuers Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Great adventure, but too dark for preschoolers.
  • G
  • 1977
  • 76 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 17 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 17 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Meant to entertain rather than educate.

Positive Messages

Definitely a triumph of good over evil. Positive messages about helping others, and about the perils of being greedy. Penny worries that she's not pretty enough to be adopted, an idea that Medusa reinforces -- though ultimately that proves untrue. Major themes include integrity, courage, and teamwork.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The mice in the International Rescue Aid Society take it upon themselves to help girls like Penny who are in need. Medusa, on the other hand, is the worst kind of villain: she is alternately charming and threatening when Penny does not do what she is told.

Violence & Scariness

Kidnapping of an orphan, perilous falls, and dangerous situations that nearly cause the drowning of a child. Medusa has a shotgun which she uses to shoot at mice, other animals, and the child. No blood, but snapping crocodiles tear at clothing. A diamond gleams from inside a human skull.

Sexy Stuff

Bullying language from an adult, who tells a child to "shut up," and calls her a "brat."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A country mouse drinks from a jug, remarking, "This new batch really packs a wallop!" He gives anybody who is lagging a slug of the booze, saying that it "will cure what ails you." Those who drink it spew fire and display renewed vigor.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Rescuers isn't as accessible to the youngest viewers as many other Disney features -- its dark story (a suspenseful tale of child kidnapping and slavery) may be too much for sensitive preschoolers. The young Penny and her mice companions are nearly drowned as they search for a treasure, which gleams from inside a human skull. Though the kindness and bravery of Penny's rescuers ultimately triumph over the evil kidnapper, kids might find that the scary elements linger after the movie has finished.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byjoymalee February 22, 2019

Fun movie

The shooting part was inappropriate for 6 and under. There was negative language "brat" etc. that seems startling in 2019. My children do not hear ad... Continue reading
Parent of a 18+-year-old Written bynowaytoughffle_19348 December 27, 2018
Teen, 17 years old Written bykatelyna July 7, 2015

Lighten Up

As somebody that watched this movie endlessly with my mother as a small child and is a healthy, smart, functioning, well behaved person, I can tell you that it... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byVonterrio Jones May 24, 2021

Great Movie

The film is quite dark
Characters 9/10
Story 10/10

What's the story?

When villainess Madame Medusa (voiced by Geraldine Page) kidnaps an orphan girl named Penny (voiced by Michelle Stacy) to help her find an enormous diamond, the police can't find her -- so two intrepid mice decide to track her down in Disney's 1977 animated adventure THE RESCUERS. Miss Bianca (Eva Gabor) and her janitor friend Bernard (Bob Newhart) head for the swamp to rescue Penny, enlisting the help of a ragtag group of critter friends, including valiant dragonfly Evinrude and clumsy albatross Orville (Jim Jordan).

Is it any good?

Although Disney animation was in a slump during the 1970s, the studio still managed to produce this worthwhile film. A more modest effort than recent Disney extravaganzas, The Rescuers still makes for great family viewing. Medusa is a villainess in the grand tradition of Cruella Deville, and the unlikely voice pairing of Eva Gabor as va-va-voom Miss Bianca and Bob Newhart as the timid janitor Bernard works exceptionally well. They enliven the melancholy Devil's Bayou, a haunting setting if ever there was one.

Because the film is unusually dark (literally and story-wise) a cast of animated misfits adds needed comic relief. Unfortunately this appealing mix is a bit dampened by sappy ballads that accompany some boring slide animation, dating it a little. Otherwise, this is a worthy Disney sleeper.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how The Rescuers, made in the 1970s, is different from animated movies they see today. Can you tell the movie was made a long time ago? If so, what gives it away?

  • Discuss the villain Medusa. What makes her an especially good villain? Who's your favorite villain in the movies or in books? Why? And why do stories always have villians? What would stories be like without them?

  • How do the characters in The Rescuers demonstrate integrity, courage, and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

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Themes & Topics

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