Red Turtle, The

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Short takes

Not recommended under 8, parental guidance recommended 8 to 10 due to themes and scenes that might disturb young children.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Red Turtle, The
  • a review of Red Turtle, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 4 October 2016.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to themes and scenes that might disturb young children
Children aged 8 to 10 Parental guidance recommended due to themes and scenes that might disturb young children
Children 10 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: Red Turtle, The
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes
Length: 81 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The Red Turtle is an animated French/Japanese film containing no dialogue. The movie tells the story of a shipwrecked sailor who is washed up on a lonely tropical island. Although seemingly devoid of humans, the island contains a variety of animals such as turtles, birds and crabs. Hoping to escape, the man uses materials from the island to build himself a raft, but his plan is repeatedly foiled by a giant red turtle. Although initially frustrated, the sailor begins to gradually bond with the creature.

The man also eventually meets a woman, and the two begin a family together. Living on the island, the family go through a series of tribulations which threaten to destroy the life they have built together.


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.

Acceptance; adventure and exploration; relationships and family; trust

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 the film, including:

  • The turtle is mistreated by the man, who hits the turtle with a bamboo pole. He also jumps up and down on the turtle’s underbelly. The turtle does not appear to be injured.

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 man is seen struggling in ocean waves, attempting to stay afloat – he is later seen washed up on a beach, uninjured.
  • The man is often seen screaming and shouting out of frustration.
  • A tsunami floods the island. After the tsunami passes, the woman is found injured, with blood on her leg and there are blood stains on the sand.

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.

Children in this age group may also be 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.

Younger children in this age group may also be worried by some of the above mentioned scenes

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.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language


In a nutshell

The Red Turtle is a simple but beautiful film that subtly encourages viewers to identify with the nameless shipwrecked man. Having no dialogue, the film appears to avoid imposing specific meaning, but invites audiences to watch the story unfold and come to their own conclusions. However, the messages of the film seem to be that material possessions are not necessary for living a fulfilled life and that although a person’s life may have taken a different direction from what they initially anticipated or desired, there can still be incredible value if we accept change and uncertainty. There is plenty here for parents to discuss with children.

Because of the film’s themes, and scenes that might disturb younger children, it is not recommended for children under 8 and best suited to viewers over ten. Parental guidance is recommended for the 8 to 10 age group.