The Sword in the Stone

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
The Sword in the Stone Movie Poster Image
Delightful classic brings King Arthur legend to life.
  • G
  • 1963
  • 79 minutes
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 3+
Based on 12 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 6 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Positive messages

Being bullied doesn't necessarily make you a bully. Shows the importance of a good education, and teaches life lessons -- courage, the power of love, and the importance of brains over brawn. Also addresses the importance of fair play in competition.

Positive role models & representations

Arthur (Wart) is one of the world's most famous heroes. He goes on to become the great King Arthur of the legendary round-table. Disney does a great job in showing how he got there, and as we all expected to find, Arthur was a good, moral boy from the very beginning. Merlin finds creative ways to teach Wart important things.

Violence & scariness

Wart is often punished by his guardian and bullied by Kay. Some peril during Wart and Merlin's adventures, including a spooky forest. Madam Mim can be a bit scary. Practice fencing with swords; knights' tournament.

Sexy stuff

Some flirting/crushes.

Language

Witch Madam Mim has a few harsh words for Merlin. "Blast me to Bermuda!"

Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

Wine with meals.

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.

User Reviews

Parent Written byanna4391 September 13, 2014

Good, not great, maybe scary for preschoolers

My 4 year olds thought a few parts were funny (whenever Arthur was changed into an animal, for instance), but the plot itself was not terribly interesting to th... Continue reading
Adult Written byadvocatewhat'sright December 26, 2012

Another innocent classic with an underdog moral.

I love this movie. It's one of the great Disney movies from when Walt Disney was still alive. It really shows. Disney doesn't make 'em like this... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byDominicboo1 May 9, 2011

Ye Olde Disney Movie Has Several Life Lessons

Other than a scene in which a pike nearly catches Arthur, and Madame Mim's Dragon form (Not nearly as scary as Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty) nothing... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008

Great original Disney Classic!!!

Fantastic, humorous, and highly entertaining film about what King Arthur was taught to make him a great ruler. Great for kids and adults alike! Fantastic fami... Continue reading

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?

  • What does Wart learn from his adventures with Merlin? What role does courage play? Why is that an important character strength?

  • How did Madame Mim cheat? How did Merlin fight back when she did?

Movie details

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Themes & Topics

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For kids who love fantasies

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