Story

Arlo the Apatosaurus (voiced by Raymond Ochoa) lives on a farm with his mother (Frances McDormand), father (Jeffrey Wright) and two siblings (Marcus Scribner and Maleah Nipay-Padilla). One day the young dinosaur falls into the river and is washed far away from his home and family. All alone, Arlo becomes friends with a human child named Spot (Jack Bright). Spot teaches Arlo how to survive in the wild and how to overcome his fears. Together, Spot and Arlo must overcome many dangerous obstacles to return Arlo to his family before winter.

Themes

Death of a parent; separation from family; animal distress; children as victims; natural disasters like flooding and storms

Violence

The Good Dinosaur has some violence. For example:

  • Buck hits his dad and his siblings with a stick. He also teases his siblings and pushes them to the ground.
  • Arlo is instructed to kill the ‘critter’ that has been stealing their food. Arlo holds up a stick to hit Spot but decides not to.
  • Spot holds a dead lizard in his mouth. He also bites the head off a beetle.
  • Arlo threatens to squeeze the life out of Spot.
  • A snake attacks Arlo and Spot. Spot fights back and scares the snake away.
  • Several times throughout the movie, storm chaser birds try to eat Spot and attack Arlo. They also kidnap Spot, and Arlo saves Spot by attacking the birds.
  • A T-Rex says to Spot that he ‘drowned that croc in my own blood’.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, The Good Dinosaur has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • A comet hurtles towards the earth and just misses crashing into the planet.
  • Arlo is afraid of the chicken-like birds in a pen. 
  • There are several large thunderstorms, which scare Arlo. Whenever there’s a storm, Arlo has scary flashbacks to his father’s death. Younger children might also find these frightening. 
  • In a scary and emotional scene, Arlo’s father dies saving Arlo from a flood. Arlo is very distressed. 
    Arlo falls into the water and is swept away by the gushing river. He is knocked unconscious and wakes up alone and far away from his home.
  • Arlo frequently falls off things and crashes into things. Scenes occasionally show him with red cuts on his legs.
  • Arlo gets his foot stuck under a rock. He is alone and scared, and he thinks he is going to die.
  • There is an emotional scene between Spot and Arlo when they reveal to each other that they miss their families and that Arlo’s dad and Spot’s parents are dead.
  • Spot and Arlo are trapped in the river and fall down a waterfall. This is a scary scene because it’s briefly unclear whether Arlo and Spot are still alive.
  • There is a sad scene when Spot and Arlo finally have to say goodbye to each other. 

From 5-8
Children in this age group might also be scared by some of the scenes mentioned above.

From 8-13
Younger children in this age group might be scared by some of the scenes mentioned above.

Over 13
Nothing of concern

Sexual references

None of concern

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

There is some use of substances in The Good Dinosaur, including when Arlo and Spot eat some fermented fruit. They have hallucinations and wake up with headaches.  

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Product placement

There is no product placement in the movie itself, but there’s likely to be merchandise associated with the movie marketed to children.

Coarse language

There is some mild and modified coarse language in this movie.

Ideas to discuss with your children

The Good Dinosaur is a beautifully animated movie about Arlo, a young dinosaur who’s learning to overcome his fears. 

We don’t recommend The Good Dinosaur for children under 7 years, and we do recommend parental guidance for children aged 7-9 years. This is because the movie has several upsetting and scary scenes and themes, which include the deaths of family members and characters being separated from their families. There are also scary predatory creatures that threaten the main characters. The settings make the movie seem very real and, at 101 minutes, it’s also rather long for very young children. 

The main messages from this movie are about the importance of doing something bigger than yourself and overcoming fears so you can see the beauty and positive things in life. 

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include loyalty, hard work, kindness and bravery.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about the importance of helping your family out around the house and contributing to household chores.