Huckleberry Finn (Elijah Wood), the semi-literate son of frightening alcoholic father Pap (Ron Perlman), runs away from home with an escaped slave called Jim (Courtney B. Vance).
The two runaways follow the Mississippi River to freedom in the slavery-free state of Illinois. Along the way, Huck and Jim encounter adventure, shipwreck, swindles, love and death. They must also deal with The King (Jason Robards) and The Duke (Robbie Coltrane), who are impersonating the British family of the wealthy Wilks sisters. These two conmen represent a continued threat to Huck and Jim’s freedom and their lives.
Death of a parent; children as victims; racism; slavery; alcohol dependence; gun violence; stealing and scams; pretending to dabble in the occult
The Adventures of Huck Finn has some violence. For example:
- Huck’s father attacks Huck and threatens to kill him with a knife.
- Huck’s father hits two old women in the face when they try to stop him kidnapping Huck.
- People are shot and killed in a gunfight, including a child whose body is seen lying in the water.
- A mob almost lynches an escaped slave. The slave is saved at the last minute.
- Huck is shot in the back but survives. Some blood is visible.
- The Duke and The King are tarred and feathered by an angry mob. This isn’t a graphic scene.
- A white man whips a slave.
- Huck and another boy punch each other several times in the face while other children cheer them on. The other boy gets a bleeding nose.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
The Adventures of Huck Finn shows some use of substances. For example:
- Men drink alcohol on numerous occasions. Several men get quite drunk.
- Huck smokes a tobacco pipe on two occasions.
- Characters talk about tobacco.
Nudity and sexual activity
The Adventures of Huck Finn has some coarse language, including ‘ass’, ‘hell’, ‘damn’, ‘turd’ and ‘butt’.
Ideas to discuss with your children
The Adventures of Huck Finn is a Disney remake of the classic Mark Twain novel of the same name. This movie is enjoyable and easy to watch, featuring strong performances from Elijah Wood as Huck and Courtney B. Vance as Jim.
The story deals with themes and sequences that might distress children. These themes include the threats of harm to children and racist attitudes toward African-American people. The movie does, however, remove some of the racist language of the novel, which can make the racism seem less grave. Because of its violence, frightening sequences and themes of racism, The Adventures of Huck Finn isn’t suitable for children under 8 years, and we also recommend parental guidance for children aged up to 13 years.
The main messages from this movie are that people can learn to accept others as equal, and that the loyalty and support of friends is important, even for the most self-sufficient people.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:
- helping others in times of need
- judging people by the way they behave, rather than the way they look.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like:
- lies and theft
- the consequences of running away from home.