Woodworker Geppetto (voiced by Christian Rub) is delighted when the Blue Fairy (voiced by Evelyn Venable) grants him his wish, and his masterpiece, a wooden marionette, comes to life. Geppetto names his marionette Pinocchio.
But before the Blue Fairy can turn Pinocchio (voiced by Dick Jones) into a real boy, Pinocchio must prove himself brave, truthful and unselfish. To help Pinocchio tell right from wrong, she assigns Jiminy Cricket (voiced by Cliff Edwards) to be his conscience.
Temptations, however, are lurking everywhere, and soon Pinocchio finds himself in serious trouble. Will he be able to prove himself worthy of becoming a real boy?
Disney classic; fantasy; adventure; right versus wrong; friendship
Pinocchio (1940) has some violence. For example:
- One of Geppetto’s cuckoo clocks shows a figurine of an angry mother smacking the bare bottom of a crying child.
- Stromboli, the manager of a puppet show, threatens to turn Pinocchio into firewood and locks him up in a cage.
- ‘The Coachman’ hires two henchmen, Honest John the Fox and Gideon the Cat, to lure ‘stupid little boys’ to Pleasure Island. Once at Pleasure Island, the recruited boys are turned into donkeys and sold to the salt mines or the circus.
- Honest John indicates that they’re happy to kill someone for a generous payment.
- One of the attractions at Pleasure Island is the ‘Rough House’, where the boys are encouraged to pick a fight and take part in brawls. Lampwick, Pinocchio’s companion, suggests that they go in and ‘poke somebody in the nose, just for the fun of it’.
- After the boys have turned into donkeys, they’re handled roughly. They’re pulled by the ears, their clothes are ripped off, and they’re kicked and thrown into little cages.
- The whale that swallows Geppetto, and later Pinocchio, is a vicious, angry character who tries to kill them.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Pinocchio (1940) shows some use of substances. For example:
- One of Geppetto’s cuckoo clocks shows a figurine getting drunk.
- Geppetto’s pocket watch has beer glasses as handles.
- Gideon the Cat smokes cigars and drinks beer.
- One attraction at Pleasure Island is Tobacco Row, where the boys are offered endless cigars, cigarettes and chewing tobacco. They’re encouraged to smoke their heads off.
- Lampwick and Pinocchio smoke cigars and drink beer. Lampwick teases Pinocchio that he smokes ‘like me grandmother’ and encourages him to take bigger drags. This makes Pinocchio feel very sick.
Nudity and sexual activity
Pinocchio (1940) has some nudity and sexual activity. For example, one of Geppetto’s cuckoo clocks shows a figurine of an angry mother smacking the bare bottom of a crying child.
There is some coarse language in Pinocchio (1940), including ‘jackass’.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Pinocchio, first released in 1940, was Disney's second feature-length movie after Snow White and Seven Dwarfs.
The story gets viewers thinking about morals, temptation, ethical choices, and ways to learn about life. The movie has positive messages and role models, but there are also many dark, disturbing, sad, scary, violent and mature themes and scenes. These themes and scenes make the movie unsuitable for children under five years, and we recommend parental guidance for children under nine years.
These are the main messages from this movie:
- There might be dire consequences if you decide to do the wrong thing despite knowing better.
- Good things come from being brave, truthful and unselfish.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include honesty, courage, selflessness and friendship. The movie also emphasises the importance of being guided by your conscience.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about the real-life consequences of things like:
- giving in to temptation and doing the wrong thing despite knowing better
- being arrogant.