The Black Cauldron parents guide

The Black Cauldron Parent Guide

Overall B

Based on the popular children's book series, The Prydain Chronicles, by Lloyd Alexander, The Black Cauldron follows the adventures of Taran (voice of Grant Bardsley), a young, assistant pig herder who cares for a prophetic porker sought after by the ill-intentioned Horned King (voice of Arthur Malet).

Release date July 24, 1985

Violence B
Sexual Content B
Profanity A-
Substance Use B-

Why is The Black Cauldron rated PG? The MPAA rated The Black Cauldron PG for some scary images.

Run Time: 80 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

Once again the Disney marketing team proves its prowess for recycling. Twenty-five years after the release of The Black Cauldron, the studio opens its vaults and brings this adventure to home theaters. Based on the first two books of Lloyd Alexander’s The Prydain Chronicles, the story follows the adventures of Taran (voice of Grant Bardsley), a young, assistant pig herder who cares for a porker with oracular abilities.

However, Taran soon discovers that The Evil Horned King (voice of Arthur Malet) is after his curly tailed charge. The regal ruler wants the prophetic pig to show him the whereabouts of an enchanted black cauldron. Imprisoned inside the ebony colored pot is a powerful spell that can create an unstoppable army of soldiers from the bones of skeletons. With this legion of undead militia, the king plans to take over the world.

When his little hog is captured, Taran embarks on a rescue mission. Along the way, he meets the outspoken Princess Eilonwy (voice of Susan Sheridan) and an aging minstrel (voice of Freddie Jones) who agree to help him find the piglet. Taran also stumbles upon a magical sword that gives the scrawny teen an edge when he fights off hoards of the Horned King’s gruesome goons. (Giddy with his newfound power, Taran envisions himself as a great warrior until he is forced to choose between it and the life of a friend.) Together with a puppy-like creature named Gurgi (voice of John Byner), the threesome encounters a trio of witches (voices by Eda Reiss Merin, Adele Malis-Morey and Billie Hayes) and a group of fairies (voices by Lindsay Rich, Brandon Call, Gregory Levinson) who point them in the direction of the cauldron.

The first ever Disney movie to receive a PG rating, the film failed to garner strong audience appeal when it was first released in 1985. With none of usual musical interludes to lighten the mood, the dark plot includes some gruesome characters and frightful moments that may be too intense for young viewers. (A young Tim Burton worked as a conceptual artist on the production.)

Whether a new generation of viewers is more taken with The Black Cauldron or not remains to be seen. But parents of little ones may still want to take a cautionary approach to introducing their youngest family members to this boiling pot.

Directed by Jack Hannah, Richard Rich, Ted Berman. Starring Grant Bardsley, Freddie Jones, Susan Sheridan, June Foray, Clarence Nash. Running time: 80 minutes. Theatrical release July 24, 1985. Updated

The Black Cauldron
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Black Cauldron rated PG? The Black Cauldron is rated PG by the MPAA for some scary images.

Violence: Frightening and perilous scenes include depictions of ghoulish and demonic characters. Skeletons come to life and form an army. Later they begin to disintegrate. Characters engage in hand-to-hand duels. Weapons are used on several occasions. A boy uses a sword to fight off a group of soldiers. One character suffers a bloody lip. A character is sucked into a magical cauldron. Humans and animals are chased, hit and threatened. A man is attacked and bitten by a dog. A character sacrifices himself.

Sexual: A woman with a large bosom throws herself on another character. A small animal is caught in her cleavage. A woman dances seductively for a group of soldiers. Two young characters kiss.

Language: Some brief name-calling is heard.

Alcohol/Drug: Several secondary characters are seen drinking at a party, some to the point of intoxication.

Other: Characters use spells and other black magic.

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The Black Cauldron Parents' Guide

What does Taran learn about the value of friendship? What sacrifices does he make?

How do the characters in this film learn to work together? What do they learn from each other?

If you’ve read the books, do you think this movie is a good adaptation?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of The Black Cauldron movie is September 14, 2010. Here are some details…

The Black Cauldron: 25th Anniversary Special Edition releases to DVD on September 14, 2010. Bonus features include:

- Deleted scene: The Fairfolk

- The Witches’ Challenge Game

- Still frame gallery

- Original theatrical trailer

- Trivia Game: Quest For The Black Cauldron

- Donald Duck cartoon from 1952: Trick Or Treat

Related home video titles:

Another young boy destined to become a future monarch pulls an enchanted blade from an anvil in the animated movie The Sword and the Stone. A boy discovers his role in the future of freeing his people from the clutch of an evil king in Eragon.