Super Mario Bros. Movie, The

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Not suitable under 6; parental guidance to 8 (violence, scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Super Mario Bros. Movie, The
  • a review of Super Mario Bros. Movie, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 11 April 2023.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Not suitable due to violence and scary scenes.
Children aged 6–8 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes.
Children aged 9 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: Super Mario Bros. Movie, The
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild fantasy themes and animated violence, some scenes may scare young children
Length: 92 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The evil Bowser (voice of Jack Black), leader of a vast army of villainous turtles, attacks a peaceful penguin kingdom, imprisoning the inhabitants, laying waste to their beautiful castle, and stealing a powerful star. Nearby, a Mushroom Kingdom, ruled by the indomitable Princess Peach (voice of Anya Taylor-Joy), prepares for what they believe to be an impending attack.

Meanwhile, back in Brooklyn, Mario (voice of Chris Pratt) and his brother Luigi (voice of Charlie Day) have left their steady jobs at a reliable plumbing company to start a plumbing business of their own. Their first contract doesn’t go according to plan and Mario is feeling downhearted, until he sees a news broadcast depicting inept plumbers attempting to fix the city’s critical plumbing problems. Knowing he can help, Mario and Luigi set off to save their neighbourhood. They find themselves deep under the city in a cavernous room filled with unusual pipes and when Luigi suddenly vanishes, Mario ventures after him. The brothers are sucked into another world and separated on the journey: Luigi lands in the dangerous Badlands under Bowser’s control, where he is quickly captured; and Mario lands in a Mushroom Kingdom where he learns about the danger his brother is in and sets about trying to save him. Mario impresses the princess with his determination and noble character, and she agrees to take him with her to meet a Cranky Kong (voice of Fred Armisen) whose powerful son, Donkey Kong (voice of Seth Rogan), and vast Gorilla army is their only hope of winning the fight against Bowser, stopping his evil plan and saving Luigi, as well as everyone else captured along the way.


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.

Separation from family members; Greed for power; Bullying.

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:

  • Lava blasts fall to the earth as a penguin colony is attacked by Bowser’s army. He tells them to: “Open the gates or die”.
  • The penguins fight back, attacking the turtle creatures with snowballs.
  • Bowser lifts the penguins up, as if by magic, and throws them all aside. He then burns their castle to the ground, imprisons the penguins and steals a powerful star.
  • A character has a napkin rudely thrown in his face.
  • A character grabs Mario, lifts him up by the overalls and throws him on the ground.
  • A cat attacks Luigi in the face.
  • A woman is accidentally knocked over.
  • A violent dog attacks the brothers.
  • A character attacks Mario with a stick.
  • Mushroom guards chase Mario and attack him as he attempts to meet with Princess Peach.
  • There is repeated mention of ritualistic sacrifice.
  • Mario punches himself in the face.
  • Mario repeatedly smashes into things, falls off objects, is blasted with water, bitten by plants and is punched, smashed and hit, as he attempts to complete an obstacle course.
  • Bowser says he will destroy the Mushroom Kingdom if Princess Peach refuses to marry him.
  • A bully knocks a young Luigi down and smashes the Lego castle he is building. Young Mario shoves the bully aside and helps his brother.
  • A small turtle has his fingers crushed in a piano.
  • Bowser tortures Luigi and tries to rip off his moustache.
  • A creepy, child-like voice calls out in the prison abyss that: “There is no hope. NO escape. Only the sweet relief of death”.
  • A car slips on a banana peel, spins out of control, crashes, and explodes.
  • Donkey Kong tells Mario: “I am going to break every bone in your body”.
  • Mario and Donkey Kong fight. Mario is slapped, punched, bashed, and hit repeatedly. He is shown battered and bruised but he doesn’t give up.
  • Mario slashes Donkey Kong’s face and hits him with a barrel, knocking him unconscious.
  • Princess Peach blasts Bowser with cold and freezes him into a cube of ice.
  • The Gorilla army is attacked by Bowser. They shoot bananas while the Turtle army tries to blast characters out of the way.
  • Mario and his race cart are nearly crushed.
  • Mario knocks a turtle out of its vehicle.
  • Donkey Kong and Mario are blasted off a rainbow bridge. They fall into the water where Donkey Kong is hit on the head by a giant wheel and knocked unconscious. Mario saves him just as he is about to be eaten by a sea monster.
  • Moments later the monster raises up to the surface and eats both Mario and Donkey Kong.
  • Bowser threatens and tortures a Mushroom inhabitant in order to force the princess to agree to marry him.
  • Mario and Donkey Kong use a cannon blaster to blast themselves out of the sea monster.
  • Bowser attempts to burn his prisoners alive by lowering them into a lava pit.
  • Arrows are shot at characters.
  • Luigi is about to be burned alive. He is falling into the lava when Mario rescues him.
  • Princess Peach is blasted aside and Bowser launches a missile to destroy the Mushroom Kingdom.
  • The missile chases Mario and tries to explode everything in his wake.
  • Mario is blasted back to Brooklyn, along with the others, and numerous characters are nearly crushed by falling debris.
  • Bowser punches Mario; knocks him into a car; tries to burn and crush him; and knocks him into a wall. He is injured but doesn’t stop fighting.
  • Bowser hits Donkey Kong and is about to claw him when Mario and Luigi power up and punch Bowser through an army of his turtles. They hit, slam, punch, throw, and flip him until there is hardly anything left of Bowser.

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 opening images of Bowser’s army descending on the penguin kingdom, his ship filled with molten rock, its enormous horns and evil, glowing eyes as it launches its attack, may be upsetting for some very young viewers.
  • There is a creepy-looking sea monster that rises from the deep to eat Mario and Donkey Kong. The pair are able to get out eventually, but some children may be frightened by the sudden intensity of the scene.

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:

  • Shortly after arriving in Bowser’s lands, Luigi is chased by zombie-like, skeletal creatures with red glowing eyes. Luigi is terrified as they come after him, clawing their way out of the ground and chasing him through a dark and deadly forest. More and more creatures join the chase, trying to get Luigi to fall into the lava river, grabbing at him and snatching at his face. He just barely manages to escape into a haunted-looking house and he bolts the door behind him. As he struggles to catch his breath, creepy, ghost-like creatures, with masks (like something out of a horror film), suddenly appear out of the darkness behind him. They look menacing and scary, and Luigi is screaming as the scene fades to darkness. He is later shown as a prisoner and Bowser talks about using him as a sacrifice.

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:

  • The entire movie showcases aspects of the Mario/Nintendo games.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Bowser wants to marry Princess Peach; he describes how she is physically attractive to him and he is very jealous of Mario.
  • Mario briefly flirts with Princess Peach and another character teases him that she would never go out with him.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

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

  • Mario eats magic mushrooms that give him extraordinary, yet short lived, super strength.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Idiot
  • Dumb
  • Stupid
  • Worthless
  • Shut up
  • Lunatic
  • Psycho
  • “You’re a joke and you always will be”.

In a nutshell

The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a film based on the popular Nintendo videogame franchise. The plot, though predictable, is fast-paced and contains numerous twists and turns. The film will be best enjoyed by families with children over 8 and fans of the videogames.

The main messages from this movie are to believe in yourself and your own abilities, even if the entire world tells you differently; and to never give up or stop trying.

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

  • Teamwork
  • Persistence
  • Courage
  • Loyalty
  • Determination.

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

  • Settling for less and listening to those who would define your life by their standards.
  • Trying to force someone to do something against their will by harming or threatening to harm others.
  • Wanting power and control at all costs.
  • Belittling others and their life choices.