Transformers: The Movie (1986) Movie Poster Image

Transformers: The Movie (1986)



An awful toy commercial in disguise.
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 1986
  • Running Time: 86 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Meant to entertain rather than educate.

Positive messages

Simplistic ideas of good and evil, and promotes that fighting and warring are the inevitable route to peace.

Positive role models

Though they all look alike physically, the Tranformers have different, uh, ethnicities, so to speak, via voiceover actors of different races and backgrounds. Only one (maybe) female robot.

Violence & scariness

Much sci-fi mass destruction of machine and machine-life forms. Even sympathetic and heroic characters die.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable

One use of "s--t."


This movie is basically a toy commercial.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Transformers: The Movie is a 1986 commercial tie-in with a line of Hasbro action-figure toys. While this movie has a certain cult following (what bad movie doesn't?), it's a confusing, jumbled, and chaotic viewing experience for anyone who couldn't tell the Dinobots from the Insecticons. It also forms more or less the last episode of the original Transformers TV series, so if you feel like you've walked in late and missed something, that's why. One use of "s--t." Much sci-fi mass destruction of machine and machine-life forms. Even sympathetic and heroic characters die.

What's the story?

Essentially a wrap-up to the TV show, TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE is set in the "future" year 2005. The good Autobots and their friends the Dinobots are in an ongoing war against evil Decepticons. When their planet fell to the Decepticons, the Autobots befriended humans and set up a base on Earth. Here the Decepticon warlord Megatron launches a sneak attack on Earth's Autobot city and longstanding Autobot hero Optimus Prime is killed. Before dying, he passes on to his successor a glittery doo-dad called the Matrix that's supposed to be really important. Meanwhile, a new menace comes along, a robot called Unicron, a planet-sized machine that destroys and eats other planets. The only thing posing a threat to Unicron is the Matrix, so the monstrous robot gives the damaged Megatron an upgrade to capture it.

Is it any good?


Even fans of the toys will be disappointed by this mess of a movie. If Transformers: The Movie teaches us anything, it's that in all the cleverly-conceived, gimmicky, buy-them-all robots Hasbro foisted on toy shelves, one was sorely forgotten: Script-itron. A confusing, jumbled, and chaotic narrative moves through chases and fights with barely any breathing space and introduces so many weird characters and things that only a kid who owns all the toy tie-ins could tell them apart.

The soundtrack is obnoxious, nonstop '80s rock music and the animation is TV-grade. Except for the Dinobots, it's pretty difficult to tell one unfolded Transformer from another. The vocal cast is a curious mix of prolific cartoon-voiceover specialists and veteran character actors, who attempt to imbue their characters with stereotypical personalities that the impersonal drawings don't convey. Most notoriously, Orson Welles logged his final screen credit as the unenthused, whispered voice of Unicron, and Leonard Nimoy is the voice of Megatron.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the idea of making movies or cartoons as platforms for peddling playthings. Worthy films like Star Wars and Toy Story have shamelessly marketed toys based on themselves, and there were toys inspired by likes of Charlie Chaplin and Mickey Mouse long ago. What do you think about movies, TV shows, and video games based solely on toys?

  • Can you think of any other plaything-oriented movies that were better/worse than Transformers: The Movie

  • Who is the movie's intended audience? How can you tell?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 8, 1986
DVD/Streaming release date:November 7, 2006
Cast:Eric Idle, Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Orson Welles, Scatman Crothers
Director:Nelson Shin
Genre:Science Fiction
Run time:86 minutes
MPAA rating:NR
MPAA explanation:not rated

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Kid, 11 years old October 11, 2010


I love not a commercail at all!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Educator and Parent of a 4 year old Written byammabear February 2, 2011

terrible movie for anyone, let alone kids

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Safety and privacy concerns
Teen, 13 years old Written byflikkun June 18, 2010

Excellent movie....

Okay. For starters, it will not make any sense if you haven't watched the first to seasons of Transformers. The problem is that people tend to take it as a stand-alone movie, which, frankly, it's not. For everyone who has seen the first two seasons of Transformers, know and love the characters, it's the best thing ever! It has a wonderful plot, incredible characters, and just amazing animation. The problem is, people cannot get over the fact that the series/movie is based off toys. Although, yes, that's how it started, it has grown to be so much more. The characters take on a life of there own, and it evolves to be something incredible. The only problem I had was the cussing. I admit, that, while I wouldn't want children repeating that, you would have done the same thing in that situation, right? Also, people automatically assume that because it's animated and about transforming alien robots, it's for children. My mom watched the whole series and the movie, and loved it. She sees it for what it is. Not just mindless rubbish for children. I strongly recommend watching the series and the movie. Although the series is considerably less focused towards adults, everyone can enjoy it.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models


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