The Swiss Family Robinson

 
Mild peril, dated animation in tale of island survival.
  • Review Date: June 18, 2012
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Running Time: 47 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

This film is intended to entertain, not educate.

Positive messages

Working together, families can accomplish a great many things.

Positive role models

The Robinson family works together, drawing on the strengths of each family member, in order to carve out a life on a deserted island.

Violence & scariness

Some cartoonish violence. A character has a dangerous interaction with a panther. A family on a boat shipwrecks and lands on a deserted island after a terrible thunderstorm. A bull herd charges the family. A volcano causes a small earthquake, sending characters falling to the ground and one of them gets knocked out. A trail of gunpowder is used to blow up the side of a ship and rescue the animals trapped inside. When the trail is lit, a dog chases after it, followed by a boy chasing after the dog, followed by a father who catches them all, and narrowly avoids getting blown up.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this early '70s animated version of The Swiss Family Robinson definitely shows its age. Younger viewers may or may not get on board with the dated animation, but the story itself is timeless. There are instances of minor cartoonish violence -- a boy comes face-to-face with a snarling panther, a volcano causes an earthquake, gunpowder nearly blows up and destroys a father, son, and dog, and a bull herd charges the family -- but no one is ever seriously hurt.

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

When their ship washes ashore on a deserted island, the Robinson family must work together to survive, and ultimately thrive in their new home. Together, they build a treehouse in which to live, raise farm animals, and explore the island for other sources of water. Along the way, they must contend with monsoons, a volcano, a panther, and a bull herd, as the days turn to weeks, months, and years, and the Robinsons begin to doubt that they will ever be rescued. Through teamwork and tremendous effort, the family starts making a successful go of it on the island.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This version of THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON, while having all the hallmarks of cheap-o 1970s animation, still manages to convey this timeless tale of a family's new life on a deserted island in an economical and action-packed manner. Youngest members of the family should have no problem following along with what's happening, and as such, this could be a decent introduction to other, longer versions of this classic story.

That is, of course, if your family can get past the animation. Some of it appears out of focus, and the colors look faded, on top of the monotonous backgrounds, minimal movement, and characters who look basically the same except for their hairstyles. This will bother some more than others, but if you can tolerate it, consider The Swiss Family Robinson a dated yet entertaining entry course to a well-known tale of survival and family bonding on a deserted island.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how this story is based on a book. What do you think was cut out of this version? Do you prefer the story animated or live action?

  • If Swiss Family Robinson were remade today, how would it differ?

  • At one point during the story, the father tells one of us sons, "Books and learning are as vital to us as food and water." What does this mean, and why does the father hold books and learning in such high regard?

Movie details

DVD release date:March 4, 2003
Cast:Barbara Frawley, Jeanie Drynan, Ron Haddrick
Director:Leif Graham
Studio:Delta
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Adventures
Run time:47 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of The Swiss Family Robinson 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.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

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.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

Write a user reviewThere aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass