The Rescuers

  • Review Date: July 14, 2003
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1977
  • Running Time: 76 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Great adventure, but too dark for preschoolers.
  • Review Date: July 14, 2003
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1977
  • Running Time: 76 minutes





What parents need to know

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.

Positive role models

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
Not applicable

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

Not applicable
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.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this animated movie 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.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

When villainess Madame Medusa (voiced by Geraldine Page) kidnaps an orphan girl named Penny (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. 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 the worthwhile Rescuers. A more modest effort than recent Disney extravaganzas, this movie 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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how this 1970s tale 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?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 15, 1977
DVD release date:May 20, 2000
Cast:Bob Newhart, Eva Gabor, Geraldine Page
Director:Art Stevens
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Adventures, Book characters
Run time:76 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of The Rescuers was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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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Parent of a 3 and 3 year old Written bypiper0137 May 7, 2010

Not for your preschooler; definitely ages 6+

This is a really cute movie my husband and I remember being one of our favorites when we were small. However, the Common Sense review mentioned above forgets to mention one important part of this flick -- guns, guns, guns. As the mom of two three year-olds, I know most preschoolers aren't ready for this kind of intense action adventure with LOTS of shooting. I'm probably more conservative than most parents, but I think the use of guns (shooting at the mice, the villains shooting at each other, etc) is worth noting.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great role models
Written byAnonymous January 14, 2013

This Movie & Disney is not for kids.

Naked Nady in this Movie for a Split Second. Watch the Youtube Video about disney adding a little bit of sex and they Rate a Movie with a G Rating. Sex is not suppose to be not a G Rated Movie at all. Look at Wikipedia for the MPAA Ratings.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Parent of a 10 year old Written byMrs. Padilla April 9, 2011
We really liked this movie, and thought it was very fun. One concern was the way moon-shine was used as a joke a few times. Some of the scenes would be to scary for younger children I feel.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages


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