The Witches

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
The Witches Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Some kids will love it, some may find disturbing.
  • PG
  • 1990
  • 91 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 21 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Be brave.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Luke is exceptionally brave.


Scary witches, children in peril, including baby in carriage pushed down a hill (and rescued), Luke's parents are killed in an (offscreen) accident, which does not seem to bother him too much.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this story has a genuinely twisted flavor that some children will love and others will find disturbing. Luke is exceptionally brave and enjoys being a mouse (in the movie, he is changed back, but in the book, he stays a mouse). Children may be upset not only by the witches, but also by the death (offscreen) of Luke's parents and his seeming indifference to it.

Wondering if The Witches is OK for your kids?

Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMartin_Canine November 8, 2018

Less a children's fantasy tale than a frightfest for older viewers with superb acting and make up.

“The Witches” tells a story about a young boy called Luke who lives with his grandmother who always tells him stories about witches that hate little children. O... Continue reading
Adult Written bylmtrav October 11, 2015

Really depends on the kid

I saw this movie when I was about nine or ten in school after my teacher read us the book. I remember thinking the book was great until the kids got turned into... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old February 4, 2012

Rear Nudity, and Violence involved

This movie's a bit disturbing. At the end, Luke is floating in mid-air, naked. And yes, you can see him entirely naked. The grand-high witch pushes a baby... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byKendrahXoxo February 2, 2014

Scary, even for a teen!

There are many sequences in the movie where the witches do disturbing things. This movie is very much like the book, but I find that is was slightly more gory i... Continue reading

What's the story?

Luke hears about witches from his grandmother (Mai Zetterling). She says they have to wear gloves to hide their claw-like hands and shoes that fit their square feet without toes, and that they are bald and scratch under their wigs. They have a purple gleam in their eyes. They are evil and they steal children, who are never seen again. Luke's parents are killed, and his grandmother takes him to England. When she is diagnosed with mild diabetes, the doctor advises a vacation, so they go to Cornwall. As it happens, a convention of all the witches in England is staying in the same hotel, posing as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Their leader is slinky, black-clad Eva Ernst (Anjelica Huston). Luke overhears her telling the witches to wipe out all the children in England by turning them into mice, and he watches as she demonstrates by giving a potion to a greedy child named Bruno, transforming him into a mouse. The witches find Luke, and after a chase, capture him and turn him into a mouse. With the help of his grandmother, he steals some of the potion, and puts it into the soup to be served to the witches, who are all turned to mice, except for Eva's assistant. Luke manages to get Eva's trunkful of money, along with her notebook listing the addresses of all the witches in America, and he and his grandmother plan to go after them.

Is it any good?

This story has a genuinely twisted flavor that some children will love and others will find disturbing. Children may be upset not only by the witches, but by the death (offscreen) of Luke's parents, and by his seeming indifference to it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the notion of witches. Are you fascinated or disturbed by the idea of these strange women with magical powers?

  • Why do you think most witches are portrayed as evil?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate