Pinocchio: A True Story

image for Pinocchio: A True Story

Short takes

Not suitable under 6; parental guidance to 9 (violence, themes, scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Pinocchio: A True Story
  • a review of Pinocchio: A True Story completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 25 May 2022.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Not suitable due to themes, violence and scary scenes.
Children aged 6–9 Parental guidance recommended due to themes, violence and scary scenes.
Children over the age of 9 Ok for this age group, though may lack interest.

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: Pinocchio: A True Story
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes and animated violence
Length: 94 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

When Geppetto (voice of Tom Kenny), a kind hearted woodcarver, creates a wooden boy so he won’t feel lonely, a fairy secretly brings the boy to life as a way of thanking Geppetto for his help. Geppetto names the wooden boy, Pinocchio (voice of Pauly Shore), and calls him his son. They lead a quiet and secluded life in the woods; Pinocchio learns to ride Geppetto’s horse, Tibalt (voice of Jon Heder), and to perform daring stunts in their pasture; and he dreams of going out and seeing the world for himself but is told that the world is not ready to meet him yet. When police officers come snooping around the house looking for thieves that have been robbing townsfolk, Geppetto gets Pinocchio to hide. While Pinocchio and Tibalt are out they come across Bella (voice of Liza Klimova), a young girl in distress. Her horse had been startled and is heading straight for a cliff but Bella, being trapped inside the carriage, is unaware until Pinocchio comes to her aid and saves her life. Bella’s father, Mr. Mangiafuoco (voice of Bernard Jacobsen), owns a circus and invites Pinocchio to join them in their travels and promises to make him a star. Reluctantly, Geppetto lets Pinocchio and Tibalt go with the promise that they will return soon but Mr. Mangiafuoco has other plans and is determined to capitalise on Pinocchio’s talent, no matter what the cost.


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.

Crime; Dispersion of family; The price of fame; Deceit and betrayal.

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:

  • A gun-crazy cat shoots holes in the ceiling, shoots at Pinocchio and offers to shoot at the audience.
  • A cat holds Pinocchio and Tibalt up at gun point and then shoots at them as they try to get away.
  • A character says: “I will whip you to death and kill you with my bare hands”.
  • Two police officers grab Pinocchio and try to restrain him.
  • Tibalt kicks three police officers and tosses them all into a tree.
  • Pinocchio and Geppetto are trapped in a cart.
  • A cat takes Bella hostage at gun point to use as a human shield. She is then trapped by a fire.

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:

  • Pinocchio stumbles around the house, crashing into things and knocking things over.
  • When a cat and fox try to trick Pinocchio and Tibalt into handing over their money, the cat lurches out of his hiding spot wearing a hood and threatens them both at gun point. The cat pursues them as they try to escape, racing though the darkness with his evil, glowing eyes peering out of his hood. The scene is intense and creepy and may frighten some young viewers.

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:

  • When the circus tent is set on fire, Bella is trapped by the flames and it looks like she will be burned alive. Pinocchio races to Bella’s rescue and manages to get her to safety but falls into the flames himself. A horrified Bella is dragged outside while it looks like Pinocchio may have burned to death. Tibalt jumps into the fire to bring Pinocchio out and lays his singed and unconscious body on the ground while the fire rages behind them. Bella and Geppetto weep over Pinocchio’s unresponsive form until he miraculously transforms into a human boy. Some children may be upset by the intensity of the fire scene and the fact that it looks, even momentarily, like Pinocchio lost his life.

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

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • A reference is made to the ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Dumb
  • Knuckleheads
  • Coward
  • Freak
  • Scoundrels.

In a nutshell

Pinocchio: A True Story is an animated, musical adventure. While the film has vibrant graphics, it also has a predictable plot and a cumbersome dialogue that adults and older children may find difficult to endure. The film will most likely be enjoyed by younger children (with parental guidance from 6-9) or general fans of the Pinocchio tale.

The main messages from this movie are that there are no obstacles you cannot overcome; and that the magic to transform our lives will always come from within.

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

  • Courage
  • Loyalty
  • Honesty
  • Responsibility
  • Sacrifice.

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

  • Trusting those who would deceive you and frame you for crimes you didn’t commit.
  • Using others to get what you want.
  • Betraying the trust of those who love you.
  • Putting fortune and fame before family.