Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year (2013), Who Framed Roger Rabbit may have been innovative for combining live actors with animated characters from Walt Disney and Warner Brothers studios when it released. (It was also the most expensive movie made in the 1980s.) But don’t expect this film to be family friendly for all ages just because Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse share scenes with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit visits the seedier side of cartoon land where a hard drinking, small-scale gumshoe, Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins), gets caught up in a murder investigation. After his brother is killed by a toon, the last thing the detective wants to do is help one of the animated characters. But when Roger Rabbit (voice by Charles Fleischer) is accused of murdering Marvin Acme (Stubby Kaye), he pleads with Eddie to clear his name. And, more importantly, to save him from falling into the hands of the dreaded Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd) who metes out justice by killing toons with a deadly solvent called “dip”.
Made in the style of film noir, the movie features Roger’s well-endowed and sultry wife Jessica (uncredited voice by Kathleen Turner) and one of the industry’s longest film credits. But while the famous cartoon characters and gags from the Golden Age of American animation may speak to film history connoisseurs, even Disney’s then CEO Michael Eisner and Vice Chairman Roy E. Disney felt the film’s sexual innuendos were too risqué for the Disney stamp according to the book Disney War. Twenty-five years later, many parents may still feel the same way about the frequent sexual quips, lewd leers, crude depiction of sexual organs and the misogynist tone of the film.
Added to the sexual content are the frenetic pace of some scenes, weapon use, the killing of a cute cartoon character and frequent threats of harm or death. Eddie, who uses liquor to brace up his courage and gets a free cigarette from a group of boys on the street, also fails to meet the standard for a good role model.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit, based on the book Who Censored Roger Rabbit, won Oscars in 1989 for Best Sound Effects Editing, Visual Effects and Film Editing along with a Special Achievement Award to Richard Williams for animation direction and the creation of cartoon characters. But while the revolutionary use of live action and animation may have caught audience’s attention in 1988, the film’s crude content will likely leave many parents steering clear of this rabbit hole in favor of more family friendly entertainment.Directed by Robert Zemeckis. Starring Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Joanna Cassidy. Running time: 104 minutes. Theatrical release June 22, 1988. Updated April 11, 2013
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Rating & Content Info
Why is Who Framed Roger Rabbit? rated PG? Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is rated PG by the MPAA
Violence: The film’s opening scene involves a baby and older character exposed to numerous dangers in a kitchen including knives, fire, electrocution, hot water and a stove. Characters hitch a ride on a trolley car without paying the fare. A character is flattened by a steamroller. The chalk outline of a man is seen along with a huge safe that smashed him to death. A man is choked when his tie is caught in a machine. He is then shot in the back twice. A cartoon character is killed by being dipped into a deadly solvent. After his death, the character’s red paint looks like blood dripping to the ground. Other characters narrowly miss being covered with the solvent. Guns and other weapons are used. Characters threaten others with harm or death. Several scenes include frenetic action and terrified characters that may disturb young viewers.
Sexual Content: The sound of sexual activity implies characters are involved in sex. It turns out to be something else. A male cartoon kisses a man on the mouth. A voluptuous woman is the subject of numerous sight gags. Characters engage in crude sexual jokes, oogling women, spanking them and leering at them. A man appears to have a huge erection. A character misunderstands the words “prostate” and “probate”. A man pulls a woman behind the bar by grabbing the low cut neckline of her dress. After a man reaches down a woman’s shirt his hand is caught in a bear trap referred to as a “booby trap”. A man is seen with his pants down. Other crude jokes include references to male and female anatomy. The script has a derogatory tone in relation to the female protagonist.
Language: The script contains moderate and mild profanities, epithets, crude terms for anatomy, brief terms of Deity and crass name-calling.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A man gets a cigarette from a group of young boys. The main character drinks frequently, has a known drinking problem and is portrayed as drunk at times. A man who looks like a baby smokes cigars often. Another character is seen with a mouthful of cigarettes. Other characters either drink or are offered drinks.
Page last updated April 11, 2013
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Parents' Guide
How does this production show that just because a film includes animated characters does not necessarily mean it is suitable for younger audiences? How has the use of animation in adult oriented productions become more popular over the last few decades?
What is film noir? What are the elements of this genre and how well does this film make use of them?
The most recent home video release of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? movie is March 12, 2013. Here are some details…
Home Video Notes: Who Framed Roger Rabbit: 25th Anniversary Edition
Release Date: 12 March 2013
Who Framed Roger Rabbit releases to home video in a 25th Anniversary Edition (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo). Bonus extras include:
- Digitally Restored Roger Rabbit Shorts: Tummy Trouble, Roller-Coaster Rabbit and Trail Mix-Up
- Before & After Split-Screen
- Toon Stand-Ins
- Deleted Scene: Pig’s Head
- Toontown Confidential Feature Trivia Track
- The Valiant Files: Interactive Set-Top Gallery
- Theatrical Trailer
- Feature Audio Commentary
- Behind the Ears: The True Story
- Who Made Roger Rabbit?
- On Set! Benny the Cab
Related home video titles:
Other films that combine live action with animation include the basketball movie Space Jam, which also features Looney Tunes characters. Animated penguins and farm animals in Mary Poppins interact with live characters in this musical adventure. Disney also mixed animation and live action in Pete’s Dragon.