Nutcracker and the Magic Flute, The

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Not suitable under 9; parental guidance to 11 (themes, violence, gender stereotypes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Nutcracker and the Magic Flute, The
  • a review of Nutcracker and the Magic Flute, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 10 November 2022.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 9 Not suitable due to violence and themes.
Children aged 9–11 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and themes.
Children over the age of 11 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: Nutcracker and the Magic Flute, The
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes and animated violence
Length: 88 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

After a home ballet performance for her mother’s friends, Mari (voice of Lyubov Aksyonova) learns of her father’s debts and is offered a chance to pay them off in exchange for becoming the bride of Mr Ratter (voice of Pyotr Ivashchenko), a middle-aged, balding, overweight man. When Mari refuses, Mr Ratter threatens to throw her mother in prison and Mari out on the street. He hands Mari the nutcracker toy he had been using all evening, gives her one night to reconsider and tells her he will return for her answer in the morning. While Mari’s mother makes plans to leave their home, Mari goes to her room and makes a wish that she could play with her dolls like she did when she was younger and everything was simple. Then, Mari is magically transformed into the size of a doll and all her playthings come to life, including a stuffed ostrich, a ram and the Nutcracker himself. The Nutcracker is really the long lost Prince Georg (voice of Fedor Fedotov). Georg had been turned into a toy by his wicked stepmother who also keeps his father in a bewildered and sleepy state thanks to a series of potions, and plans to keep him alive just long enough for her own son to come of age and assume the role of king. The Queen (voice of Elena Shulman), her evil son and most of the royal court are really rats masquerading as humans. Georg immediately sets off to find his castle and Mari agrees to help him find the magic flute rumoured to possess the legendary powers able to transform the rats back to their true form and restore power to the humans. Will they manage to find it in time and what will happen to Mari if she doesn’t make it home by daybreak?


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.

Curses and Magical transformations; Separation from a parent; Debt; Outdated notions of a stereotypical, helpless female who must always be assisted or saved.

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:

  • Mari is chased by a glass Christmas ornament, she rolls madly on a spool of thread, crashes into a table and is nearly stabbed by numerous pins.
  • A rat tries to attack Mari. Georg fights it off with a sword. He is flipped back and forth as the rat tries to get him off. The rat is then head-butted by a ram and blasted with fiery smoke by a wizard before scurrying away.
  • An ostrich gets stuck in a vine while fleeing the rat royal guards. He is repeatedly ricocheted off of trees, stuck in a log, bounced off of rocks and skis down the mountainside on bits of tree trunk stuck to his feet before burying his head in the sand as he is cornered by the rats. The rat prince plucks out one of the ostrich’s tail feathers and puts it in his hat before disappearing with his guards and leaving the shaking bird alone.
  • A young Prince Georg watches what appears to be his father getting poisoned by his stepmother. She then turns him into a wooden nutcracker and his stepbrother kicks him out the palace window where he falls into a river and floats away.
  • Georg falls over a waterfall and appears to drown but is pulled from the water and regains consciousness.
  • Ghosts attack Georg and Mari in a crypt. Ghosts chase them and throw things at them, the ostrich crashes into a wall, ghosts try to spear them and eventually Georg takes a spear through the chest but, as it is a ghost spear, he turns out to be fine.
  • The ostrich is nearly beheaded multiple times with a cleaver as he struggles with a rat chef. He knocks all the kitchen supplies off a shelf and throws them at the chef who continues to advance with a large butcher’s knife.
  • The ram head-butts the chef and the ostrich kicks the chef in the head.
  • A girl hits a rat guard with a frying pan and knocks him unconscious.
  • There are calls for a character to be executed.
  • The rat prince tells his mother that he will get rid of the king himself.
  • Mari falls off a tight rope and it looks like she may crash to her death but Georg manages to catch her.
  • Guards are shoved aside.
  • The ram and ostrich accidentally destroy a bell tower and crash to the ground.
  • The ostrich karate chops a chef.
  • The ram head-butts two guards.
  • The rat queen smacks a man on the head.

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 creepy, rat shadows and scurrying noises in the dust just behind Mari. A scary, vicious rat with red, glowing eyes and monstrous teeth tries to attack her, snapping its jaws at her face. Georg saves her with his sword just in the nick of time.
  • All the guests at the prince’s party are transformed into rats, including a mean human girl.

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.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Georg must crawl through an opening in the wall and he notices the others staring at his buttocks. He glances back at them saying, “I know it’s nice”, before disappearing through the hole.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

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

  • The rat queen keeps the king under a spell using a sleeping potion.
  • The ostrich accidentally drinks from the king’s goblet and then passes out.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Whipper snappers
  • Weaklings
  • Scoundrel
  • Silly.

In a nutshell

The Nutcracker and the Magic Flute is an animated, musical adventure featuring a helpless, female lead character who must always be rescued or assisted by males. The film includes some dismissive gender-based comments such as: “Don’t worry your pretty little head about it”. It assumes that the highest aim of every girl is to be a beautiful princess and that boys should be strong, protective and in control. Due to these unfortunate messages, this is not a film for younger children despite that being the targeted audience. Ideally the film is better suited for use by older students to analyse messages or stereotypes used in movies and media.

The main messages from this movie are to have faith; believe in magic; and do what you must to survive.

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

  • Helpfulness
  • Courage
  • Teamwork
  • Loyalty.

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

  • Believing that girls always need the help of others and are unable to handle situations for themselves.
  • Believing that boys must always be strong and in control.
  • The notion that a girl’s worth lies in her beauty or her station in life and not in the content of her character.