The Road to El Dorado

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
The Road to El Dorado Movie Poster Image
Outstanding family movie mixes comedy, action, romance.
  • PG
  • 2000
  • 89 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 17 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 37 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

While intended to entertain, this film does provide a sense of the brutal first encounters between the gold-seeking Spanish conquistadors and the native tribes they destroyed.

Positive Messages

As Sir Elton John sings as Miguel and Tulio try to leave El Dorado, "Friends Never Say Goodbye."

Positive Role Models & Representations

While Tulio and Miguel are con artists who at first believe they have stumbled onto a "golden" opportunity, they both grow to appreciate the kindness and loving natures of the citizens of El Dorado.

Violence & Scariness

Cartoonish violence. Characters fight with swords, but no one gets hurt. A piranha bites a character on the rear end. A human sacrifice is narrowly averted. A character is hit in the side of the head with a bag filled with gold. Characters are chased by a giant demon dog brought to life by the high priest of the tribe. Characters are nearly crushed by a giant statue toppling over. A character cuts his hand with a knife and wipes his blood on a statue.

Sexy Stuff

Brief, nonsexual nudity after a group of monkeys steal the clothes belonging to Miguel and Tulio. A male and female character kiss and lie next to each other; their kissing is interrupted by a character looking for them.

Language

"Hell."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A character holds a cigar, but does not smoke. Characters raise glasses to toast, but have their drinks spilled and broken before they can drink. Characters are shown holding drinks with fruit slices and umbrella garnishes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Road to El Dorado is a DreamWorks animated film about two Spanish con artists from the early 16th century who discover the fabled lost "city of gold" in the New World and are treated as gods by the tribe who lives there. Some cartoonish violence -- sword fights between characters, a character cutting his hand with a knife, and characters nearly being crushed by a giant statue -- as well as brief, nonsexual nudity, and scenes where male and female characters kiss and lie next to each other. A scene in which a giant monster-dog goes after the main characters might be a bit much for younger viewers.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 7 and 10 year old Written bytrollbabyfeet March 25, 2010

Totally inappropriate movie for children

I was stunned by the blatant sensuality and the language in this film. I couldn't get past either of these issues, and we turned the movie off and threw i... Continue reading
Adult Written byMovieMan26 October 10, 2010

Excellent animated adventure with an outstanding music score

Lackluster music score? Come on, commonsense! Use your common sense! I loved this movie. It stands up there with all of the great animated flicks, such as Toy S... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byGraycie August 13, 2013

Why I Had a Problem with "The Road to El Dorado"

I'd seen gifs of the guitar-strumming scoundrels on tumblr, and heard my friends talk about it as one of their favorite childhood movies, so I wondered why... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byShe-WolfAlpha September 26, 2010

Family movie, for 8 or 9+

I LOVED this movie so much!!! But I think little kids shouldn't watch it or if things pass over their heads, then let them. In two clips, a male and female... Continue reading

What's the story?

THE ROAD TO EL DORADO is set in 1519, as Cortes is planning "to conquer the New World for Spain, for glory and for gold." Miguel (voiced by Kenneth Branaugh) and Tulio (voiced by Kevin Kline) accidentally stow away, along with their one possession, a map to El Dorado, the legendary land of gold. They escape in a rowboat and land on a coast that looks just like the one in their map. They follow the map to the city of gold, and are welcomed as gods by the friendly chief (voice of Edward James Olmos) and his less friendly priest Tzekel-Kan (voice of Armand Assante). They are also welcomed by Chell (voice of Rosie Perez), who knows they are con men, but promises to help them if they will take her with them when they go. As they struggle to behave like gods, Miguel and Tulio begin to care about what happens to the people of El Dorado as Tzekel-Kan and Cortes try to grab what they want. Friendly rivalry turns hostile as Miguel thinks of staying behind and Tulio and Chell fall in love. The final conflict forces them to find out what their priorities really are.

Is it any good?

Dreamworks Animation SKG steps up to the Disney gold standard with this sensationally entertaining animated adventure. Kevin Kline and Kenneth Branaugh were in the same room when recording their dialogue, and it paid off. Kline and Branaugh, both classically trained and both masters of improvisation, bring humor and spontaneity to the relationship of the two characters, adding life and electricity to a medium that can often seem too staid. Think Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid crossed with a Bob Hope and Bing Crosby road picture. It's no coincidence that the "Road to" title and one of the best gags in the movie pay loving tribute to the Hope-Crosby series.

The animation is terrific; the character's expressive faces are especially well done. El Dorado is suitably magical, and the scenes with humor and tension are expertly handled, especially a high-stakes basketball-style game and the climactic escape. Aside from the lackluster Elton John-Tim Rice score, this is an outstanding family movie.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Tulio's statement: "You know that voice that tells people to quit when they're ahead? Miguel, you don't have one." What does that mean? Why does Miguel take risks that Tulio thinks are not wise?

  • How do you think The Road to El Dorado compares with other animated movies you've seen? Is it as funny an action-packed as others you've liked?

  • Ask kids if they understand what a con man is, and if they think Tulio and Miguel will continue to cheat people in the future.

Movie details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love animation

Our editors recommend

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

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate