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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Wart (aka the boy who will become King Arthur) experiences some bullying in this Disney classic. Witch Madam Mim can be a little scary, and both she and Merlin get quite angry on a couple of occasions. But otherwise The Sword in the Stone offers lots of positive lessons about courage, the importance of brains over brawn and fair play, and the power of love.
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What's the story?
Based on the book The Once and Future King by T.H. White, THE SWORD IN THE STONE is the story of the early years of King Arthur. Nicknamed "Wart," the future King Arthur is squire to a knight when he meets Merlin the magician, who promises to take on his education. Merlin turns him into a fish, a bird, and a squirrel to teach him lessons like the importance of brains over brawn. He gets to see this in action when Madame Mim, Merlin's enemy, challenges Merlin to a duel by magic, and, though she cheats, Merlin is able to defeat her. Wart still has his duties as a squire, and, having forgotten the sword for a jousting match, he runs to get it. He sees a sword stuck in a stone and pulls it out, not knowing the legend that whoever will pull the sword out of the stone will be the rightful king. He becomes King Arthur, and listens when Merlin reminds him that knowledge is the real power.
Is it any good?
The Arthur legend has fascinated people for centuries, and this story about Arthur's childhood has special appeal for children. Aside from the fun of seeing what it's like to be a bird, a squirrel, or a fish, and from having your very own wizard as a teacher, there's the highly satisfying aspect of having one's worth, unappreciated by everyone, affirmed so unequivocally.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what made Arthur the one who could pull the sword out of the stone in The Sword in the Stone. How does this compare to other versions of the King Arthur story you might have heard/seen/read?
How did Madame Mim cheat? How did Merlin fight back when she did?
- In theaters: December 25, 1963
- On DVD or streaming: June 16, 2008
- Cast: Karl Swenson, Norman Alden, Rickie Sorensen
- Director: Wolfgang Reitherman
- Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Book Characters
- Character strengths: Courage
- Run time: 79 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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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.
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