Ten-year-old Emil (Bryan Russell) is about to travel from his small German town to Berlin to visit his grandmother. Just before Emil boards the coach, his mother attaches an envelope to his chest pocket with a safety pin. The envelope has 400 marks inside, for Emil to give to his grandmother.
An infamous crook, Mr Grundeis (Heinz Schubert), sees this and decides to steal the money from Emil. Grundeis sits next to Emil, steals the envelope while Emil is asleep, and gets off the bus. Emil is shocked and horrified when he wakes and realises that the money has gone. He immediately suspects Grundeis. Emil spots Grundeis in the crowd and follows him.
Emil’s attempts to alert the police lead to nothing, so he asks some local children who call themselves ‘The Detectives’ to help him retrieve the stolen money. The Detectives, their leader Gustav (Roger Mobley) and Emil soon discover that Grundeis isn’t a simple pickpocket. In fact, Grundeis is involved with 2 notorious bank robbers, The Baron (Walter Slezak) and Müller (Peter Ehrlich).
Will Emil and his friends be able to get the money back and put a stop to The Baron and his accomplices?
Detective story; children outsmarting adults; bringing criminals to justice; teamwork
Emil and the Detectives has some violence. For example:
- The Baron threatens Emil with a gun and fires a shot next to Emil’s head to scare him.
- Müller and The Baron plan to get rid of Grundeis and Emil by locking them up in a tunnel and leaving lit dynamite behind.
There are no sexual references in Emil and the Detectives.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
There’s some use of substances in Emil and the Detectives. For example:
- Adults smoke cigarettes.
- There’s a reference to problematic drinking.
Nudity and sexual activity
There’s no nudity and sexual activity in Emil and the Detectives.
There’s no product placement in Emil and the Detectives.
There’s no coarse language in Emil and the Detectives.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Emil and the Detectives is a 1964 family adventure movie. It’s very loosely based on German author Erich Kästner's 1929 novel of the same name, but producer Walt Disney has altered some parts of the story and added some action. The story is quite engaging, and the movie’s setting also offers an interesting glimpse into post-war Germany.
We recommend parental guidance because Emil and the Detectives has some mild scary and violent scenes. It might also help your children to have some historical and cultural perspectives on smoking and the lack of supervision of children in the movie.
The main messages from Emil and the Detectives are that it’s important to have friends and that crime will eventually be punished.
Values in Emil and the Detectivesthat you could reinforce with your children include friendship, determination and teamwork.
Emil and the Detectives could also give you the chance to talk with your children about asking for help when you can’t handle a problem by yourself.