The Trumpet of the Swan



A good family movie; much to enjoy and talk about.
  • Review Date: January 11, 2005
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2001
  • Running Time: 75 minutes

What parents need to know

Violence & scariness

Characters in peril.

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

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this rated G movie has some tension and peril, but is a fine family film based on E.B. White's story.

What's the story?

As this animated movie begins, proud and loving trumpeter swans Father (voiced by Jason Alexander) and Mother (voiced by Mary Steenburgen) are awaiting the hatching of their new children. The young cygnets are all they dreamed of, except for Louie, who is mute. Louie can't express his feelings without words, or attract a mate without a trumpeting sound. Louie turns to human friend named Sam, who takes him to school so that his teacher Mrs. Hammerbottom (voiced by Carol Burnett) can teach him to read and write. Father tries to steal a trumpet from a musical instrument store. Even though he knows stealing is wrong, he feels he must to help his son. Louie's skill at reading and writing doesn't do him any good with the swans, who can't understand him, but he does find a sweet girl swan named Serena who understands him without words. But he can't settle down with Serena until he puts his father's heart at rest by finding a way to pay for the trumpet. After many adventures, Louie and Serena are able to live happily ever after.

Is it any good?


Most of E.B. White's elegant language is missing, and the animation is nowhere near the Disney level, but this version of TRUMPET OF THE SWAN is still a very good family movie with much to enjoy and talk about.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the importance of finding a way to communicate and the value of people who can understand us. They will also want to talk about the conflict faced by Father, who wanted so desperately to help his son that he was willing to risk his life and do something he knew was wrong.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 11, 2001
DVD release date:July 31, 2001
Cast:Jason Alexander, Mary Steenburgen, Reese Witherspoon
Director:Richard Rich
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Adventures, Book characters, Wild animals
Run time:75 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of The Trumpet of the Swan was written by

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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.

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Parent of an infant and 3 year old Written byhlgbccheer August 22, 2011

Do your kid a favor and read the book to him instead!

I watched this movie with my almost-4 year old. As a parent I could say that it was an okay movie. Other than the shooting at the end, the movie was fine for him to see/hear. I was glad that the shooting didn't "reveal" anything (blood/guts), though we have discussed guns & dying already at length at home (3 & 4 year old boys seem to be a bit obsessed about those topics!). As an adult watching it though, I have to say that it was a waste of time. I have to agree with a previous reviewer that the dialogue was terrible! I actually rolled my eyes at some parts, the dialogue was so banal. Overall I wouldn't buy/rent this movie (it was a rainy morning thing to do at the house that we rented while on vacation), and I would actively discourage my son from seeing it again--I would steer him more towards something educational like Sesame Street or Super Why--as it's not going to benefit him by watching it again. Once was fine, but I wouldn't encourage watching it more than that. I will read the book with him however!
Adult Written bynduns September 6, 2010

Why is it that after Swan Princess, Richard Rich started to suck?

This is without a doubt the worst thing he has pumped out. I liked the idea and the story wasn't too bad either, but my god, the dialogue in this was dreadful, the songs were irritating, making The Scarecrow's 'great' tracks look good by comparison (I don't see you taking off points for that, CS!) and there are even times where the scriptwriters so obvious forget what they've written. One such example is when Louie's father is supposedly shot and while he's lying unconscious, the nurse says it's a superficial injury and for some reason, this means he's not dead. Since when is a superficial injury a good thing!? The animation's okay for a direct-to-video release, but one has to remember that this was released to theaters, so it's difficult to really accept this. I will give it points though: There was one song that I liked and, again, the story was intriguing. I usually like all animated features to some degree, but I hated this one. In fact, I also hated the animated King and I from Warner Bros. Why did I give that a 3? Furthermore, why can't reviews be edited on this site? I find it ironic that I actually liked Thumbelina but hated this when Thumbelina's storyline was much more contrived.
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Teen, 14 years old Written byKmfan97 January 17, 2015

This is for all ages but it's without a doubt the worst animated film I've seen.

Ever since I was in 3rd grade I have despised of this movie. The animation and voice acting is bad and the musical numbers are just atrocious. This is my first common sense media review where I've given something one star and the sad thing is I watched this movie several times in my elementary school years along with the secret of nimh. That movie is one of my favorites though and it absolutely destroys this film. This is a good movie for kids but adults don't waist your time. Just put the movie on for your kids then leave them alone and go watch breaking bad or whatever you watch.


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