Yellow Submarine

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Yellow Submarine Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Beatles classic with great animation, music.
  • G
  • 1968
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 16 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Meant to entertain rather than educate.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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. 

Sexy Stuff

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.

What 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. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 4-year-old Written byMichaela2016 December 31, 2020

Machine Guns & The Beatles

We watched this with my four year old because he loves the songs and had seen some of the animated music videos for the titular song. While we knew the blue mea... Continue reading
Parent Written byfilmviewer August 31, 2018

Fabulous film for children and adults - excellent music, brilliant colorful animation, fun story!

"Yellow Submarine" is great for the whole family, though some of the animated violence might bother the very young, perhaps preschool and younger. My... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byHTFMime February 23, 2011

I saw this movie back in 2001 with my dad when I was in preschool!

When I was in preschool I saw this movie with my dad and I liked it, and actually I kinda disagree with the kid reviewer below me it isn't that violent and... Continue reading
Kid, 7 years old December 18, 2020

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? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animation

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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