Classic 'toon mixes spinach and stereotypes.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Very mixed; Popeye is a good guy, but even though he eats his spinach, he has some bad habits. Bluto is a bully, and Wimpy is constantly trying to mooch. Some now-dated stereotypes.

Violence & scariness

Fistfights, saws, axes, etc. Bluto uses an oven as an explosive.

Sexy stuff

Male characters whistle appreciatively at a woman. Popeye and Bluto compete for Olive Oyl's affections.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Popeye smokes a pipe.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this animated classic is a little bit of a mixed bag -- and probably not quite as innocent as you remember (but it's still tame enough to earn our "on" rating). Although the iconic sailor promotes eating your veggies, the good stuff comes accompanied by not-so-healthy portions of violence and stereotyping, with side dishes of mild innuendo and smoking.

What's the story?

Cartoon icon Popeye the Sailor Man's eponymous show, POPEYE, follows his quest to win the object of his affection, Olive Oyl, while fending off his bullying rival, Bluto. Even though Bluto (voiced Jackson Beck) is twice Popeye's size, Popeye (Jack Mercer) can beef up his strength by popping open a can of spinach, so he's always able to win their battles -- and Olive Oyl's (Mae Questel) heart.

Is it any good?


Popeye and Bluto's fights can get fairly violent, whether they're using their fists or picking up weapons like saws, axes, and explosives. And Bluto and Popeye's affection for Olive Oyl isn't entirely innocent, either -- they often whistle at her, and they sometimes make some mildly suggestive comments as well. Then there's Popeye's pipe, which he smokes proudly (and sometimes puts spinach in -- which could send confusing signals), and several now-dated stereotypes. The earliest Popeye cartoons date from the '30s, after all, when portrayals of women (like the annoyingly helpless Olive) and people of other ethnicities weren't exactly politically correct.

All of that said, Popeye is still lots of fun. And the old sea-dog does promote eating your veggies (sometimes he and Olive Oyl will even make his nephews eat bowls of spinach instead of hot dogs and ice cream!). And, in the end, the show succeeds in sending the message that Popeye triumphs thanks to his good deeds, rather than any bad habits.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why Popeye eats so much spinach. Why is it important to eat fruits and vegetables? How do they help make you strong? What are your favorite fruits and veggies? What else goes into a healthy lifestyle? Families can also discuss Popeye and Bluto's rivalry over Olive Oyl. Would you want anyone fighting over you? Why or why not?

TV details

Cast:Jack Mercer, Jackson Beck, Mae Questel
Genre:Kids' Animation
TV rating:TV-G
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Popeye was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

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.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Anything but lazy -- it's exhausting! OK for kids.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 13 years old Written byrobinrunner March 26, 2011

Don't you just wish they had stuff like this on T.V. now?

I admit that I am a Popeye fanatic. He was back then what we call now: "THE MAN!" Violence between Popeye and Bluto is the basic bad thing about the cartoons. Every once in a while you'll see a charecter smoke a cigar, and Popeye always has that pipe in his mouth. The Grown-ups will just need to talk about what was tollerated on t.v. back then is very wrong. Popeye is a good rolemodel for small kids. So little-ones, EAT YOUR SPINACH!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 10 years old April 9, 2008
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008

its funny

popeye is a great childrens show that isnt too violent and in lots of episodes popeye was a great role model because studys showed that in that in tha 1930 that 30% of kids ate more spinach and popeye rocks!


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide