Australian Council on Children and the Media

Cinderella (1950)

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Parental guidance under 5 (emotionally intense scenes and potentially upsetting themes (loss of parents, emotional abuse))

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Cinderella (1950)
  • a review of Cinderella (1950) completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 29 September 2020.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Parental guidance recommended due to some emotionally intense scenes and potentially upsetting themes (loss of parents, emotional abuse).
Children aged 5–8 Ok for this age group, however, parental guidance is recommended if the concept of losing biological parents or a blended family is personally relevant.
Children over the age of 8 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.

Name of movie: Cinderella (1950)
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: The content is very mild in impact
Length 74 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

After losing both her parents at a young age, Cinderella (voiced by Ilene Woods) is left to live with her mean stepmother (voiced by Eleanor Audley) and her spoilt and nasty stepsisters Drizella (voiced by Rhoda Williams) and Anastasia (voiced by Lucille Bliss). Jealous of Cinderella's grace and beauty, her stepmother degrades Cinderella to work as a scullery maid in their family chateau. Despite the cruel and unfair treatment, Cinderella has managed to stay kind and patient, and is positive that one day her dreams will come true. With the help of her animal friends and her Fairy Godmother (voiced by Verna Felton), Cinderella meets Prince Charming (voiced by William Phipps/Mike Douglas) at a Royal Ball, but before long she has to rush away, because the spell ends at midnight, and her beautiful gown will turn back into rags. All the Prince is left with is one of her glass slippers, and he declares that he will marry the girl whose foot fits that slipper.

Themesinfo

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.

Disney Classic; Animation; Fantasy musical; Romance; Fairy Tale.

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 and emotional cruelty in this movie including:

  • Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters are very mean and emotionally abusive to her, making her work and dress like a servant, treating her with disrespect and making fun of her.
  • In one scene, Drizella and Anastasia viciously attack Cinderella, shouting at her, ripping a necklace off her, and shredding her gown to pieces.
  • When the stepmother suspects that Cinderella is the one the Prince is looking for, she locks up Cinderella in her chamber.
  • There are ongoing conflicts between the house cat Lucifer, Bruno the dog, and resident mice: they all provoke and play naughty tricks on each other. Lucifer is especially vicious and manipulative and on a couple of occasions the mice make only a close escape of falling prey to the cat.

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 scene when the stepsisters attack Cinderella is emotionally very intense, they shriek and shout, pulling Cinderella's dress apart, leaving Cinderella begging for mercy and devastated. She runs away, heart-broken, desperately sobbing, all dreams shattered.

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:

  • Children might get upset at the unwarranted emotional cruelty the stepmother and stepsister direct against Cinderella, especially if the concept of losing biological parents or a blended family is personally relevant.

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 further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

  • None noted.

In a nutshell

To this day, Disney's 1950 Cinderella remains one of the most iconic depictions of this classic fairy-tale princess story of all times. Featuring a mix of endearing, funny, likeable, as well as despicable characters, brought to life in gorgeously detailed animations, beautiful memorable songs, and a great amount of humour makes this film a great and timeless pick for families, and especially fans of princess/fairy-tale stories. While Cinderella's wish for a happy end comes true, young and/or sensitive viewers might get upset at the unwarranted emotional cruelty the stepmother and stepsister are displaying against Cinderella, especially if the concept of losing biological parents or blended family is personally relevant. In these instances, parental guidance is recommended.

The main messages from this movie are that you should not get bitter over disappointments, but stay patient and never give up hope that one day your wishes will come true.

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

  • Resilience
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Optimism
  • Friendship.

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

  • Resentment, jealousy, and ill will: parents can discuss how Cinderella's stepmother's and stepsisters' behaviour toward Cinderella is unfair, unwarranted, and cruel. Cinderella is depicted as an unusually resilient character, who stays positive and kind. In real life, however, it could very likely leave the victim struggling and emotionally scarred.
  • Parents should also address the very stereotypical depiction of the ‘evil stepmother’ and ‘nasty stepsiblings’, and that this is of course not true for everyone. This is especially important considering that blended families are becoming increasingly common.

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