Early man

image for Early man

Short takes

Not recommended under 4 and parental guidance recommended to 7, due to violent and scary scenes, and some coarse language that children may imitate

classification logo

This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Early man
  • a review of Early man completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 29 March 2018.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 4 Not recommended under 4 and parental guidance recommended to 7, due to violent and scary scenes, and some coarse language that children may imitate
Children aged 4 to 7 Parental guidance recommended due to some violent and scary scenes and some coarse language that children may imitate.
Children aged 7 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: Early man
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild coarse language
Length: 89 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Early Man is a claymation film by the creators of Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run.

The central character is Dug (voice of Eddie Redmayne) who lives with his funny and happy tribe in a remote and lush valley sitting within a large crater that was formed when an asteroid smashed into the Earth millions of years earlier. Until this point, the tribe has been blissfully unaware of the rest of the human population. One day, their peaceful valley is infiltrated by soldiers riding in on the back of armoured mammoths. The soldiers chase out the stone-age tribe as they take over the valley in the hunt for metals to mine. Dug finds himself transported to a large and bustling bronze-age metropolis ruled by the comically evil and greedy Lord Nooth (voice of Tom Hiddleston). In a mad-cap chase, Dug races through the city and mistakenly ends up running right onto the football pitch where he is thrown into the role of goal keeper. When the team discovers he is no football player but in fact a stone-age caveman they are outraged. Dug bravely stands up in front of the crowd and demands that his tribe be given the chance to play football against the reigning champions. If they win, they will be able to return to their valley in peace, but if they lose they will be forced to work down in the mines.

Now Dug must return to his tribe and teach them how to play football in the hope they can win the game, but it’s not as easy as he imagines. They may not be the most skilled players, but their strength is that they are a great team with a united goal. Will Dug and his team be able to win the game and get their valley back?


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.

Football; ancient man; displaced people; colonialism; wealth and greed

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 mild animated violence in this movie including:

  • Slapstick violence for comedic effect, such as people falling and bumping their heads, running into each other, whacking each other with objects.
  • Bronze-age soldiers enter the stone-age settlement and shoot at the people with bows and arrows whilst riding armoured mammoths.
  • The stone-age people attempt to hunt a rabbit, capturing it and tying it up ready to be eaten.
  • Scenes of tribes fighting each other with clubs and punching each other.

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:

  •  A dramatic scene of an asteroid striking the earth and causing mass extinction and devastation.
  • A giant sharp-toothed duck with rolling ‘crazy’ eyes comes charging towards the stone-age tribespeople.
  • Dug, the stone-age tribesman and his new friend Goona are chased by soldiers through the town.
  • Some scenes of mild peril, such as jumping over hot lava.
  • The tribe chief is hit in the head with a football and for a moment we believe he might have died.

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.

None of concern

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.

None 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.

None of concern

Product placement

None of concern in the film but tie-in merchandise is likely

Sexual references

There are some mild sexual references in this movie, including:

  • One of the stone-age women makes comments about liking the football players’ short shorts.
  • One of the star football players winks suggestively as he says that he likes to ‘tackle’.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some mild nudity in this movie and toilet humour, including:

  • One of the football players runs onto the field with no clothes on and stands there with an object strategically placed to hide his private parts. The crowd laughs.
  • There is a cave drawing of a team of footballers with their pants pulled down to ‘moon’ the other team, showing their bottoms.

Use of substances

Nothing of concern

Coarse language

There is some mild coarse language in this movie that young children might imitate, including:

  • Crap, moon (show your bottom), bum, old-bird.
  • There are also some questionable terms used for the stone-age tribe that are offensive and used as insults by the colonisers, such as ‘savages’ and ‘primitives’.

In a nutshell

Early Man is a very entertaining  movie with great stop-motion animation, witty one-liners and plenty of humour that both adults and children can enjoy. There are some violent and scary scenes that might upset very young children and some language that parents would prefer their children not to imitate, but otherwise it is a family-friendly movie.

The main messages from this movie are that working together as a team is much stronger than just looking out for yourself and that forcing people to move off their ancestral land for financial gain is bad.

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

  • Bravery, team work, caring about other people in your community and fighting for what you believe in 

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

  • Colonialism, displacement of people, wealth and corruption, cultural stereotypes.