Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood

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Not suitable under 12; parental guidance to 15 (adult themes, violence)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood
  • a review of Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 19 May 2022.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 12 Not suitable due to adult themes and violence.
Children aged 12–15 Parental guidance recommended due to adult themes and violence.
Children aged 16 and over Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Blood and Gore
Length: 98 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Stanley (voice of Jack Black) narrates the story of his childhood, growing up in Houston, Texas. The story is set in 1969, the time of the first moon landing, when Houston was a brand new town; families were large because contraception wasn't widely used; kids played mostly outdoors and travelled sitting in the back of a Ute; Dad drove while drinking a can of beer; Mum continuously smoked; and breakfast cereals were covered in spoonfuls of sugar.

Stan (voice of Milo Coy) was the youngest of six kids who grew up in a town dominated by the Space Station which employed most of the adult population of Houston. Stan had a great imagination and exaggerated many a tale, including that his father (voice of Bill Wise) was an astronaut, when in fact he worked in shipping and delivery at NASA. Stan often found himself in trouble at school for lying or for being rude. So one day when two men from NASA come to recruit Stan to test their spaceship, which has inadvertently been made too small, Stan is happy to agree. The only problem is that it's top secret and Stan isn't able to tell anyone at all – his family will only know that he's at summer camp. In parallel with the first official trip to the moon, Stan has his own adventure, pre-dating the first steps on the moon.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Coming-of-age; 1960s; Childhood nostalgia; Space exploration; Fantasy.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie, including:

  • Some rough and tumble amongst boys playing sport. Stan gets a ball thrown at him.
  • Boys are punished by the teacher by being made to stand on tip-top against a wall. Another time the principal hits the children hard with a bat as punishment. A mother is also seen hitting her child with the wooden spoon.
  • Some brief footage of the Vietnam War is shown depicting soldiers firing rifles and pointing a rifle directly at a man. An injured man is also seen.
  • Hoodlums kick a pinball machine.
  • Stan and his brothers fight occasionally.
  • A boy sets off a Roman candle with a grasshopper inside as the pilot.
  • During a game of Red Rover, in which balls are thrown at kids, a boy is seen with a sharp object embedded in his arm, which is dripping in blood.
  • Footage is shown of Neil Armstrong landing a spacecraft which explodes during training.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The scenes below may also scare or disturb children in this age group.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Stan vomits during a flight simulation.
  • Stan's Grandmother is a conspiracy theorist who talks about over-population of the planet and that everyone will starve to death.
  • The kids go on a roller coaster which goes through dark tunnels and a large Yeti jumps out at them.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • A baby is seen lying asleep in the middle of a road. A car approaches but stops in time.
  • Dad lets his son steer the car because he's drinking.
  • The kids watch various scary movies and snippets are shown of vampires, and other weird and creepy scenes. One in particular upsets Stan's sister who bursts into tears. In another movie a huge bandaged creature comes to life and starts attacking people.
  • Stan's older sisters play with a Ouija board.

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

  • There is talk of nuclear bombs being dropped during the cold-war period. Kids at school practice hiding under their desks in the event of an attack.
  • Talk in a news bulletin of three astronauts who died when a rocket exploded on the test pad.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Kellogg’s
  • Coke
  • Esso
  • Monopoly
  • Baskin-Robbins.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Stan's brother Steve has a stash of Playboy magazines hidden in a cupboard.
  • At the drive-in Stan and his brothers roam around looking for couples 'making out'. They reckon they could always tell by the tail light going on and off.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • At the drive-in movies a car is shown bouncing with a shadowy couple inside.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Stan's mother smokes continuously.
  • The hoodlums smoke.
  • Dad drinks often and smokes cigars.
  • Drinking at a party.
  • Stan's older sister explains to the rest of the kids that Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was code for LSD.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Crap
  • Shut up
  • Balls
  • Shit
  • Fart.

In a nutshell

Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood is an animated movie depicting real life characters. The film is wonderfully evocative of life in the 60's and what it was like for a child growing up at the time. It is a social commentary on life in the 60's and as such is historically interesting. Children had to make their own fun in a time before the technological age, although life could also be quite brutal. The film is likely to appeal to old and not so old, however, it does raise issues that make it unsuitable for younger children, and it is therefore not recommended to children under 12, and parental guidance is recommended for children aged 12-15.

The main messages from this movie are that optimism can overcome doom and gloom; and that imagination is a force for good.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • The importance of family
  • Enjoyment of a simpler life
  • Acknowledgement of the lack of diversity at the time.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Why would Stan's Mum have been ostracised from church for taking the pill?
  • Stan's Dad took wood from the surplus for his own use – was this stealing?
  • When does exaggeration become a lie and is that acceptable for a child?
  • Corporal punishment was freely used at the time – was this ever a good thing?