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Movie review by
Joly Herman, Common Sense Media
Thumbelina Movie Poster Image
Magical, musical story is a classic fairy tale.
  • G
  • 1994
  • 86 minutes

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 9 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Introduces kids to a classic fairytale story, but other than that, this movie is purely for entertainment.

Positive Messages

Strong messages about believing in yourself and being happy with who you are. Don't compromise to please others when you'd hurt yourself. The idea of arranged marriage and bride kidnapping might make parents a bit uncomfortable and bring up some iffy gender messages.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Poor Thumbelina is taken from her mother by an ugly toad who wants to marry her, but she perseveres in the face of adversity. She follows her heart and expresses her will, though at times she seems easily swayed.

Violence & Scariness

The toad brothers bonk people on the head, and there is a sword fight between Cornelius and the toad. The story hinges on arranged marriage and bride kidnapping, which provides some tense moments throughout.

Sexy Stuff

The Beetle keeps calling Thumbelina "Toots," and she constantly responds, "I am NOT your toots!" Lots of song and discussion about "true love."


One of the characters calls Thumbelina "ugly" and hurts her feelings.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Members of the audience at the Beetle Ball drink cocktails.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Thumbelina, a adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's story, will delight fans of fairies and princesses, but also includes some tension and mild peril. There are themes of kidnapping and marriage to the wrong fellow for the wrong reasons, but the happily-ever-after is solidly in place.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bynduns March 9, 2010

An average film

Which admittedly I did actually go out and buy... Anyway, the story is good and this films is devoid of the annoying plot twists that are common in Don Bluth... Continue reading
Adult Written bySmart Viewing October 22, 2011

Parent of four-year-old

I have a 4-year-old, and we found this movie too dark! The storyline contains mostly stressful situations for the heroine (and comparitively few happy moments)... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old August 4, 2009

Very good on for everyone

I loved this movie when I as 3 and I still love it and I`m 12!
Teen, 15 years old Written bywho3697cares June 10, 2009
It is completely fine for all ages (though I'm sure only kids four and up will be really interested). However, I'm not sure if anyone older than, let... Continue reading

What's the story?

Once upon a time there was a woman of a certain age who wanted to have a child very badly. She was given some barleycorn by a good witch to plant, and lo and behold, a tiny girl was found inside the blossom of the plant. This girl, Thumbelina, brought joy and song wherever she went. But she was lonely, and she thought she was the only tiny person in the world. That is, until Prince Cornelius hears her singing through the window of her home and changes her life forever.

Is it any good?

Though Thumbelina can be swayed to accept different paths rather easily, it's enjoyable to watch her will shine through. And life in the forest is lush and lively, and the dramatic action is fanciful, while hitting notes of struggle and triumph. Barry Manilow (yes, that Barry Manilow) has written a host of songs that Thumbelina (voiced by Jodi Benson) brings to life. Guest voice appearances by Charo, Kenneth Mars, and Carol Channing enrich the talented cast.

Though it's not Disney, this feature does give Disney a run for its money. Younger children will appreciate the little characters like the Jitterbugs, and older kids might like the comic Beetle and the teen romance aspect. Parents might even find themselves enjoying the music.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about fairy tales. Why do you like these types of stories? Is there such a thing as a fairy tale ending? What are some of your favorite fairy tales, and why?

  • What would this story look like if the boy and girl roles were reversed? Can you imagine a boy being kidnapped to be a husband and then being rescued by his true love, a princess?

  • Create your own fairy tale. What characters would you have? How about the setting? 

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love fairy tales

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