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Yellow Submarine

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

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 15 reviews

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 10 year old Written bywillowfaierie January 10, 2010

This song is not bad

Lucy in the Sky is not about drugs, it's about McCartney's love interest, who died 2008.
Adult Written byKaterz April 9, 2008

Unexpected kid favorite!

Who knew this rather bizarre, Peter-Max inspired cartoon would grab the attention of my 4-year-old?!? I was delighted when he took an interest in this movie, wh... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byhamstergurl09 June 5, 2011

Trippiest Movie Ever

I love this movie! I have a Yellow Submarine tin lunchbox which I bring to school every day and a really cool Yellow Submarine mug. This movie has a lot of clev... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bymoviewannabe January 24, 2013


This is best Beatles cartoon I've seen. Language: George says "So long, sucker!" Consumerism: Music of the Beatles. Drinking, Drugs and Smoking:... Continue reading

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

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love animation

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