Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
Caractacus Potts (Dick Van Dyck) likes to tinker in his laboratory where he invents time saving devices like the breakfast server, vacuum cleaner and automatic hair cutter. Unfortunately none of his inventions work… at least not very well.
Meanwhile his children, Jemima (Heather Ripley) and Jeremy (Adrian Hall), wander around the countryside instead of attending school. One day their free spirited ramblings cause Miss Truly Scrumptious (Sally Ann Howes) to run her car into a mossy pond on the side of the road. After removing her automobile from the water, she offers to take the two home in order to have a word with their father. But Professor Potts is far more worried about getting his latest rocket powered contraption to work than his youngster’s truancy.
Yet despite his seeming lack of parental concern and his obvious eccentricities, Truly begins to feel something for the absent-minded and bumbling creator. Accepting an invitation to picnic with the single father and his offspring, she spends a full day of fun with them on a sandy beach. Then Caractacus begins to tell a captivating tale. Before they realize it, pirates begin firing upon the beachgoers. Luckily their car, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, is a magical machine that can not only drive but also float.
Even better, it can fly. So when their grandfather (an equally peculiar character played by Lionel Jeffries) is captured by Baron Bomburst (Gert Frobe) and his henchmen (Alexander Doré and Bernard Spear), and hauled off to a remote castle, the group takes to the sky to rescue the patriarch. Truly and the Potts family touch down in the small village below the fortress, where they meet the local toymaker (Benny Hill) who tries to protect Jeremy and Jemima from a crafty child catcher (Robert Helpmann) that locks away any kids he finds.
The lighthearted adventure takes a darker turn when both are lured into the catcher’s horse drawn cage and hauled off to the royal court where Baroness Bomburst (Anna Quayle) banishes them to a prison cell. That depiction, along with the portrayal of more youngsters hidden in a dungeon under the castle, may upset some viewers. Other violence includes slapstick antics, a character that barely avoids death at the hand of her husband and riot-like mayhem when the town’s children escape their imprisonment.
Watching this movie as a child, I loved the idea of a flying car and spent hours pretending our family station wagon could do the same. (Imagine my disappointment when I couldn’t find any fold out wings under the chassis.) As a parent of little ones, I had legitimate concerns about the scariness of the child catcher and the depicted moments of peril. But revisiting the film a third time with older kids, I found much of the original charm. While the silly antics and unconventional characters may not be for everyone, the idea of setting off on an adventure—even if it is just make believe—is a wonderful reminder of the power of storytelling.Starring Dick Van Dyke, Sally Ann Howes, Lionel Jeffries, Benny Hill, Gert Frobe, Anna Quayle, Heather Ripley, Adrian Hall. Running time: 144 minutes. Theatrical release December 18, 1968. Updated July 17, 2017
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Rating & Content Info
Why is Chitty Chitty Bang Bang rated G? Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is rated G by the MPAA
Violence: Pirates shoot at an automobile. Depicted with slapstick humor, men attempt to blow up a bridge, kidnap a character and steal a car. Characters are hit on the head, slapped with a pie, threatened with weapons and nearly drowned. A child pours a drink down the front of a woman’s dress. A man attempts to do away with his wife. A rocket contraption on a man’s back is engulfed in flames (a discussion about the dangers of burning follows). A car drives over a cliff and begins to fall before flying. Children are captured and imprisoned in cages or cells. Adults are trapped in a net and tied up with ropes. A melee breaks out when children escape from their captors. Characters fight with homemade weapons. Guns are shown, although they are not shot.
Sexual Content: A female characters is seen in undergarments. A couple kisses.
Language: Brief name-calling and a crude anatomical term are included in the script.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Secondary characters drink at a social event. A man is shown with a cigar.
Other: Dogs run wildly through a candy shop. Children unintentionally cause a minor car accident.
Page last updated July 17, 2017
More parents' guide for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang after the break...
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Parents' Guide
What challenges do inventors face when perfecting their creations? What problem did Professor Potts have with his candy? What other inventions have come about by chance or as the result of an apparent failure? Read about 3M’s Post-it Notes, Penicillin, and Kellogg’s Corn Flakes.
If you could go on any adventure, what mode of transportation would you want? What special capabilities would it have?
The most recent home video release of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang movie is November 2, 2010. Here are some details…
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang releases in a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack on November 2, 2010. Bonus extras include:
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (remasterd feature film) on Blu-ray with 7.1 audio
- Toot Sweet Symphony melody maker the Toot Sweet Toots Musical Maestro
- Chitty’s Bang Bang Driving Game
- Remembering Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with Dick Van Dyke
- A Fantasmagorical Motorcar: Sherman Brothers’ Rare Demos of the films most popular songs
- Featurettes: The Ditchling Tinkerer, Dick Van Dyke Press Interview and The Potts Children’s
- Photo Gallery
- Vintage Advertising Gallery (including English and French versions of the theatrical trailer and several television spots)
- Sing-a-long version of the film
- Music Machine
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on DVD
- Sing-a-long version of the film