The Swan Princess

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
The Swan Princess Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Classic story is less scary than most animated fairy tales.
  • G
  • 1994
  • 89 minutes

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

This film might be used as an introduction to Swan Lake, the ballet. There are enough similarities here to provide kids with a basic understanding of the ballet's story.

Positive Messages

Loyalty, kindness, honesty, and cleverness are important and valuable traits. Good triumphs over evil. Finding someone beautiful is not reason enough for love; courage, brains, and goodness are more important.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The princess and the prince are courageous, loyal, and steadfast. The prince learns an important lesson about the shallowness of placing external beauty above all. The supporting characters exhibit great bravery as they risk their own lives to help a friend.

Violence & Scariness

Limited cartoon violence: a beast is captured in a brief sequence with fire and lightning. An evil wizard with magical powers turns the princess into a swan and wreaks some havoc in this magical kingdom. There's a paintball battle for comic effect. An arrow pierces a lovable puffin's wing. A final battle between the wizard and the heroes is not very scary.

Sexy Stuff

Several loving kisses between the prince and princess.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Swan Princess is less scary than most animated fairy tales, though it does contain some of the typical action scenes common to these films. In most instances, these sequences are brief and do not depict injury or death. There's an evil enchanter, a flying beast, some fiery backgrounds, sounds of thunder and lightning. A scene in which the royal family's carriage is attacked is cut short before the princess is taken and the king wounded. King William delivers an important message to the prince, who comes to his aid, then simply disappears from the film. The longest "battle" is a paintball practice exercise, played entirely for humor. The final conflict takes place between the prince and the enchanter, who has turned himself into the flying creature. Princess Odette is portrayed with modern sensibilities, and is greatly offended when she believes the Prince loves her only for her beauty.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byRarityfan October 14, 2018

Become a swan!

Mostly for the nostalgia purist crowd and kids that loves an old fashioned animal adveture. Dated, but can still scare some kids. TV star Casper Christensen fro... Continue reading
Parent of a 5 and 13-year-old Written byJA_MIA_Mom July 25, 2011

Good Movie outside of Disney Princess

A great addition to the princess movies. S loves the songs and stills sing it while playing. I introduce Swan Lake the ballet afterwards, now she's a Balle... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byAbigail18817 October 4, 2018

Swan Princess

A great movie with timeless characters and lovable story line. I loved this movie, but it can be very scary for young children. It is a fairy-tale with a scary... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byanimateddisneyfan November 18, 2014

eh could have been better

I like the movie but I think that it's got scenes that totally resembles Beauty and the Beast. But I do think it has some good messages and some older kids... Continue reading

What's the story?

In THE SWAN PRINCESS, Princess Odette and Prince Derek are forced to spend all their childhood summers together. Their royal families hope they'll eventually fall in love and unite the two kingdoms. But Odette and Derek don't like each other much. They're almost adults when Derek finally realizes he does love Odette. By then she loves him too, but she wants him to value her for more than her beauty. He must prove he knows her worth. After refusing Derek's proposal, Odette is kidnapped by the Lord Rothbart (voiced by Jack Palance), an evil enchanter who places her under a spell, hoping to force her to marry him so that he can claim her kingdom as his own. Every morning Odette is transformed into a swan, where she remains until the moonlight shines upon the lake and she becomes a princess once again. Derek alone believes Odette is still alive. He sets off to find her, fight for her return, and declare his everlasting love.

Is it any good?

Delightful music, rich characters, and a classic love story make this a very enjoyable, family-friendly animated film. The featured players, including a turtle (voiced by the droll comedian Steven Wright), an eccentric European frog (voiced with gusto by John Cleese), and a brave puffin (voiced by character actor Steve Vinovich) are particularly fun and memorable. Taking on Disney's successful "princess" monopoly, Richard Rich (who'd worked for "the Magic Kingdom" for many years) struck out on his own to create a stylish, beautifully drawn fairy tale with a modern spirit and unique humor. Though The Swan Princess shows that he didn't have the enormous resources and funding of the Disney offerings, Rich succeeds admirably and spares his audience the innumerable tie-in products.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what inspired The Swan Princess: the story of "Swan Lake," the ballet.  It might be fun to read the ballet story together and see what the two tales have in common.

  • Why did Odette refuse to marry Prince Derek when he first asked her? What was she hoping he would say?

  • The music here is more contemporary than in most animated fairy tales. How did the modern songs and dancing add an element of humor and energize this old-fashioned story?

  • Do you think the King's early leniency toward Lord Rothbart was a mistake? Other than destroying the villain, what could the king have done to ensure that the villain didn't cause any more trouble?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love princesses

Themes & Topics

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