• Review Date: May 21, 2009
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1994
  • Running Time: 86 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Magical, musical story is a classic fairy tale.
  • Review Date: May 21, 2009
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1994
  • Running Time: 86 minutes





What parents need to know

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

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.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Members of the audience at the Beetle Ball drink cocktails.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this 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.

Parents say

Kids say

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.

Families can talk 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?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 19, 1994
DVD release date:February 19, 2002
Cast:Gary Imhoff, Gino Conforti, Jodi Benson
Directors:Don Bluth, Gary Goldman
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Run time:86 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of Thumbelina was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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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Written byAnonymous November 8, 2011


Thumbelina is a complete ditz. She can't even stand up straight. I was also horrified when she is - I kid you not - ABDUCTED and forced to work at a STRIP CLUB. Don't waste your time with this horrific excuse for a kid's movie.
What other families should know
Too much sex
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's just say, nine will actually care. I rarely say this about children's movies, either.
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!
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's other 90's films. The way the seasons shift over the course of a day is very interesting. The songs are also really good, including the ever-underappreciated "Merry the Mole", which is a villain song so kids aren't supposed to learn anything from it. What I don't like about this movie is that after the long 20-30 minute intro to the story, the rest just feels rushed. Plus, Thumbelina herself is one of the worst characters ever thought up by Bluth. I have no problem with love at first sight, even though that idea had been scrapped shortly after The Little Mermaid, but my god, Thumbelina is a ditz. In every scene, she's literally struggling to stand up! What's more is that she's a hypocrite. She can't make up her mind! Every time one of the random villains/good guys start singing about what they think she should be doing, she immediately changes her mind and agrees with everything they say... wow, what a maroon! Despite that, it's still a good film, just not one of Bluth's proudest.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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