By Nell Minow,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Beatles classic with great animation, music.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Meant to entertain rather than educate.
Imaginative animation paired with the music of Beatles. Themes expounding on the song "All You Need Is Love." Creative play is championed through the movie's witty comedy and surrealistic artwork.
Positive Role Models
The Beatles display tremendous wit, good humor, and creative play. Songs such as "All You Need Is Love" characterize the "peace and love" idealism that John Lennon in particular tried to convey in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Violence & Scariness
Very mild cartoonish peril. Ringo is shot with arrows but is unharmed. Blue Meanies shoot machine guns.
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Products & Purchases
While it's not necessarily the intention of this movie, there are many sequences featuring Beatles' songs from various albums, and, as with any music video, there is an inherent marketing context at work.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The word "LOVE" is spelled out like a lit cigarette. Cigar smoking. Rumors suggest that songs like "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" are veiled references to drugs.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Yellow Submarine is a 1968 animated feature starring the Beatles and inspired by their song of the same name. Although rumors suggest that songs such as "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" are veiled references to drugs, and the animation sometimes has a psychedelic look, there is nothing that remotely approaches drug or alcohol use of any kind. The violence is extremely mild, especially by cartoon standards. The Meanies take over by "bonking" people with green apples; Ringo is shot with arrows but is unharmed. The animation is highly imaginative and playful, although the looks of some of the Blue Meanies, with their mean grins and yellow teeth, might be a bit nightmarish for younger or more sensitive kids.
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Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
Based on 9 parent reviews
Machine Guns & The Beatles
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Fabulous film for children and adults - excellent music, brilliant colorful animation, fun story!
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What's the Story?
All is peace, love, and music in gentle Pepperland until the wicked Blue Meanies take over. The Beatles come to the rescue via the title vessel, meeting all kinds of strange and interesting characters along the way.
Is It Any Good?
YELLOW SUBMARINE is a pleasure for the eyes, ears, and heart. It features spectacular animation, gorgeous music (including "When I'm 64," "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," "All Together Now," and the lovely "Sea of Time," written by longtime Beatle collaborator George Martin), witty wordplay (lots of puns and some sly political satire), and a sweet story with a nonviolent happy ending. Younger kids will appreciate it on a different level from their older siblings and parents, and that's just fine.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the different ways to interpret this movie. Do you think there are hidden messages? Why do you think the Beatles wanted to make this movie?
What are the ways in which the animation is distinct and unique, often imitated but never duplicated?
It has been over 50 years since the Beatles first attained international success and recognition. Why do you think they and the messages contained in their music continue to remain popular? Do you think people will still be listening to their music in the next 50 years?
- In theaters: November 13, 1968
- On DVD or streaming: September 14, 1999
- Cast: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr
- Director: George Dunning
- Studio: MGM/UA
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Last updated: February 24, 2022
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