Peter Pan (1953)

image for Peter Pan (1953)

Short takes

Not suitable under 5; parental guidance to 6 (scary and violent scenes and themes). Parents may also want to address dated stereotypes.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Peter Pan (1953)
  • a review of Peter Pan (1953) completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 4 February 2021.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not suitable due to scary and violent scenes and themes.
Children aged 5–6 Parental guidance recommended due to scary and violent scenes and themes. Parents may also want to address dated stereotypes.
Children aged 7 and over Ok for this age group but parents may want to address dated stereotypes.

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: Peter Pan (1953)
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: The content is very mild in impact
Length: 76 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Every night, teenager Wendy Darling tells her younger brothers, Michael and John, bedtime stories. These stories often feature wondrous Peter Pan, a boy who never grows up, is able to fly, and does whatever he likes. Much to the children’s surprise and excitement, one night Peter Pan and his fairy friend Tinker Bell visit them, and Peter invites them to come along on an adventure. With the help of fairy dust, they all take off and fly through the London sky, straight to Peter Pan's home, ‘Neverland’. There they meet Peter's friends, the Lost Boys, and make the acquaintance of some other inhabitants of the islands, including Mermaids and a tribe of Indians. What the children did not expect is that Peter Pan's archenemy, the evil pirate Captain Hook, has come up with yet another plan to take revenge on Peter for cutting off his hand and feeding it to a crocodile, and before they know it, the children find themselves in the line of fire.


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; Fantasy musical; Growing up; Good versus Evil.

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:

  • It is indicated that Peter Pan cut off Captain Hook's hand and fed it to a crocodile.
  • Captain Hook wants revenge and wants to kill Peter Pan.
  • Captain Hook sends Peter Pan a parcel containing a time bomb.
  • Peter Pan makes Captain Hook fall into the water – he only closely escapes being eaten by a crocodile.
  • Captain Hook and Peter Pan are sword fighting.
  • Captain Hook captures the Darling children and the Lost Boys and gives them the choice of either signing up with him or walking the plank (which would lead to certain death).

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:

  • Some children in this age group are likely to be frightened or disturbed by the idea that Peter Pan and the Lost Boys have no parents.
  • Some children in this age group are likely to find it disturbing when Wendy bravely decides to walk the plank and is seen bidding her brothers farewell.

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:

  • Some children in this age group are likely to 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 further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • The Mermaids are scarcely dressed, their breasts only just covered.
  • Tinker Bell wears a very short dress and her knickers can be seen a few times.

Use of substances

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

  • Captain Hook's first mate, Mr. Smee, is seen drinking alcohol.

Coarse language

  • None noted.

In a nutshell

Despite its considerable age, Peter Pan, the 1953 Disney classic, still has what it takes to entertain a family audience. It must be noted, however, that the movie includes some dated sexist and racist stereotypes that parents should address with their children. Those stereotypes as well as scary and violent scenes and themes warrant parental guidance for a young audience and makes the movie unsuitable for children under 5.

The main message from this movie is that children should be allowed to be children and to live out their vivid imagination. Another message is that everything in this world comes with a flipside and sometimes it is necessary to make a decision about what is most important.

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

  • The importance and value in Fantasy and Imagination.
  • Bravery.
  • Family.
  • Friendship.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children the importance of acknowledging how times have changed: This film contains stereotypes that, at the time of its release, were not considered problematic. The featured native Indians are portrayed in a racist way, with cherry-red skin, being called "Red Skins", and described as "cunning but not intelligent". There are also some sexist stereotypes, for example that "girls talk too much", that girls' main pursuit and purpose is to attract male attention, that "jealous girls" are "easy to trick", and that girls are vain, and should also be slim (Tinker Bell flirting with her own reflection and then worrying about her backside and thighs looking big).