Thundarr the Barbarian



80s action 'toon offers kid-friendly adventures.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Hero characters attempt to protect their world without hurting others -- even evil, bad, naughty others. Princess Ariel is a smart, capable role model for girls.

Violence & scariness

Thundarr's role is to protect humans from mutants and men gone bad, which he does with both his sword and his fists. But he never injures or kills anyone -- a point that's made very clear (he even saves his enemies from harm). The destruction of civilization is shown in the show's credits and might be frightening if it were better animated -- but it's not.

Sexy stuff

Princess Ariel wears a very impractical swimsuit, but there's no sex or inuendo.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although this '80s cartoon has lots of action, it's all very simplistically animated, and Thundarr and his team go to great lengths to avoid harming anyone -- both of which help make the show age-appropriate for younger viewers. Plus, even though she never wears anything but a strapless, Wonder Woman-style bathing suit, Princess Ariel is one of the best princess role models out there. She's smarter than Thundarr, she's the one character in the show who can read, and she knows, apparently, everything.

What's the story?

Thundarr (voiced by Robert Ridgely) is a human remnant of our current civilization -- which, according to the show (which originally aired in the '80s), was destroyed in 1994. In each episode, Thundarr and his companions, Princess Ariel (Nellie Bellflower) and Ookla (Henry Corden), fight for right and justice amid the ruins of a famous city or landmark (Manhattan, the Alamo, etc.). They do this without ever hurting anyone -- instead, they make them surrender or spirit them magically away.

Is it any good?


THUNDARR THE BARBARIAN is a pretty typical-looking cartoon. The animation is simple, and both the heroes and villains seem familiar from years of Saturday morning viewing -- but that's not actually a bad thing. The simplicity and lack of flash makes it easier for young elementary school viewers to follow than many current action shows.

All in all, Thundarr is a good adventure program for younger kids. The hero's determination to do no harm and his reliance on his sidekick -- a princess who can read, knows her history, and has every magic power necessary to help save the day -- mean the show has good role models, as action cartoons go. Plus, the plots are actually mildly interesting, giving kids a chance to feel like they're figuring out what supposedly happened to the world. This is a show that action fans of all ages can enjoy together.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what sets Thundarr and his friends apart from other action cartoon heroes. Why is it important to them not to hurt anyone, even bad guys? Can you think of any other cartoon characters who feel the same way? Families can also discuss why so many action cartoons seem to be set in different times or on different planets. What does that allow the people who create the show to do?

TV details

Cast:Henry Corden, Nellie Bellflower, Robert Ridgely
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures
TV rating:TV-Y7-FV
Available on:Streaming

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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.

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Parent Written byRogue Comet November 19, 2011

Childhood memories

I watched Thundarr the barbarian as a child. My only regret was it's cancellation.
What other families should know
Great role models
Parent of a 8 year old Written byVictorianna December 15, 2010

Great Classic Cartoon Good vs. Evil

Thundarr is a classic cartoon now (scary, huh?) and I think shows the changes in our culture. Thundarr isn't too politically correct to have a sword-carrying strongman alongside a beautiful princess and a fuzzy side-kick. There's lots of action, but it's mostly the stereotypical good-vs-evil battle, where good always triumphs. This is a good show for boys (because of the action) and also for girls (because the Princess, while perhaps a bit under-dressed, is intelligent and strong). And if you have some small furry creatures running around your house, perhaps they could identify with Ogla (sic?) and his interesting reptilian(?) mount. Thundarr is a bit dense sometimes and you might get a little tired of hearing "Orbs of Light!" but it's a lot better than some of the smucky, politically correct stuff kids watch today.
What other families should know
Great messages
Parent of a 7 year old Written byStundar August 8, 2009

Perfect for young children, but not for veterans

Think about it like this. Its a show about men and beast who come together to fight the evil wizard Vandar. This might be okay for children, but war veterans will shurely be terrifed by the scenes of violence, as it will remind them of their own times in war.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


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