Cars 3

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Short takes

Not recommended under 5, parental guidance recommended 5 to 8 due to scary scenes and coarse language

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Cars 3
  • a review of Cars 3 completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 27 June 2017.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended due to scary scenes and coarse language
Children aged 5 to 8 Parental guidance recommended due to scary scenes and coarse language
Children aged 8 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: Cars 3
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: Very mild themes and coarse language

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The third film in the Cars series tells the story of Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson), a winning racing car who begins to lose his races and his fame to a newer and faster car named Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer). McQueen has one last race to prove to his new manager Sterling (Nathan Fillion) that he still has what it takes to compete. Otherwise he might be finished in racing for good.

If McQueen wants any chance of staying in the race, he must learn to work with his new trainer Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), a female race car trainer with a dream. Together they discover a new way of racing that may not be all about speed.


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.

Retirement; ageing; sexism; ageism

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:

  • During the final race Jackson Strom deliberately crashes into Cruz and slams her into a wall.
  • McQueen and Cruz accidentally participate in a demolition derby, where cars deliberately try to hit each other. One school bus has chains, fire and saws on her sides

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:

  • There are some crashes during the races with sparks, fire and explosions, and some cars get damaged. There is one intense crash where McQueen gets hurt but he recovers fully.
  • McQueen crashes while using the training simulator but he is fine.

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.

Younger children in this age group may also be scared or disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes

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.

Nothing of concern

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.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Types of cars (i.e. Porsche, Volkswagen),
  • Hints at other brands- for example, the tyres the cars use are Lightyear

Cars 3 is part of the Disney and Cars franchise so there is likely to be plenty of associated merchandise.

Sexual references

Sally and McQueen say ‘I love you’

Nudity and sexual activity

Nothing of concern

Use of substances

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

  • A brief mention of ‘moonshine’
  • McQueen and Cruz go into a saloon bar where cars are ‘drinking oil’

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • some mild teasing and name calling between the cars
  • ‘dang’; ‘loser’; ‘shut-up’; ‘dummy’; ‘jerk’; ‘Life’s a beach’

In a nutshell

Cars 3 is an enjoyable and uplifting film about learning to accept help from others and not being afraid to try something new. Lightning’s problems with a new faster opponent highlight the inevitable situation of anyone growing older, which is likely to be appreciated by adult viewers.  The film also has a message about female empowerment, when Cruz, a female car, follows her dream to become a racer despite other cars telling her she shouldn’t.

Some scenes may make the film too scary for under fives and parental guidance is recommended for children aged 5 to 7. It is likely to be most enjoyed by children aged 8 and over.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include bravery and helping others. This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children the importance of having mentors to look up to and also how to be a good mentor for younger children who look up to them.