Thomas and friends: Big world! Big adventures! The movie

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Short takes

Parental guidance under 6 due to some scary scenes. Lacks appeal for older children

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Thomas and friends: Big world! Big adventures! The movie
  • a review of Thomas and friends: Big world! Big adventures! The movie completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 24 July 2018.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Parental guidance recommended due to some scary scenes.
Children aged 6-8 OK for this age group
Children aged 8 and over OK for this age group, but lacks appeal for older children

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: Thomas and friends: Big world! Big adventures! The movie
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: General
Length: 81 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

This is the latest in the series of movies based on the books by the Rev. W. Awdry. Thomas (voice of John Hasler) is tired of being teased for being too small, and of his menial job. One day he nearly gets hit by a mad racing car called Ace (Peter Andre) who challenges Thomas to a race. Thomas greatly admires Ace who is reckless and carefree. Ace tells Thomas he should join him on the rally trail which will take him all over the world. Thomas longs to do this and asks for permission from Sir Topham Hat (Keith Wickham).  Sir Topham, believing it will be impossible, agrees. Thomas takes this a yes, and sets off across the world.

Thomas lands in Senegal in Africa and soon learns that Ace is not a reliable friend. His journey continues on and in Kenya he meets Nia (Yvonne Grundy), who helps him take some coffee trucks to Dar es Salaam. Together they travel over five continents where they have many adventures and get into some dangerous situations. Along the way Thomas learns some valuable life lessons.  He realises that it is more important to have a good friend who can help you than it is to be a ‘free spirit’ who has no care or thought for others and just wants to have fun.


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.

Travel and adventure

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 and accidental harm in this movie including:

  • Thomas accidentally crashes into another carriage.
  • Ace drives recklessly and often crashes into objects. The racing car rolls at one-point, landing on its roof.
  • An African elephant charges at Thomas, but the carriages all start to sing which pacifies the elephant.
  • Thomas crashes through a closed exit in a tunnel and derails the train.

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:

  • Sir Topham Hat is unexpectedly lifted up by a crane on two occasions and dropped onto the deck of a ship.
  • Thomas can’t get up a hill with the load he has and starts to slip backwards. Nia comes to the rescue.
  • Ace and three other cars speed alongside Thomas’s train and then jump over him.
  • Ace has an accident and is upside down when Thomas arrives. Ace is scared of the noises in the jungle.
  • In one particularly scary scene, Thomas is crossing a bridge over a free-flowing river when floods come down and the rail starts to buckle. Thomas is half way over when he finds he can’t pull the carriages and they start to slip into the water. Thomas manages just in time to get them out.
  • Thomas, Ace and the carriages all end up on their roofs, separated and deserted. Another train says they might stay there until they’re dusty or rusty.
  • Travelling through snowy mountains in China, Nia is pushed off the tracks by an avalanche and begins to slip over a cliff edge. Thomas arrives but isn’t strong enough to pull Nia up, but another engine arrives just in time to save them both.

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.

Some younger children in this age group may also be scared by some of 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 of concern

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

Nothing of concern in the film, but plenty of associated merchandise.

Sexual references


Nudity and sexual activity


Use of substances


Coarse language


In a nutshell

Thomas and friends: Big world! Big adventures! The movie is a travel adventure film made for young children. Thomas and Nia go to many exotic destinations such as Senegal, Dar es Salaam, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco and the Rainbow Mountains in China. This presents young viewers with a diversity of culture and geographic locations. There are some scary tense moments, however, so parental guidance is recommended for young children.

The main messages from this movie are that being a good friend is more important than being free and easy with no care for others, and that it is more important to be useful and keep your promises. Another main message is that everyone needs help sometimes.

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

  • friendship and team work
  • diversity and inclusion
  • kindness, and care for others

Parents may also wish to discuss how driving recklessly will often end up with someone getting hurt. Car racing, which is made to look cool and heroic, needs to be kept to a racing track not on roads.