Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Parent Guide
A moving story about environmental stewardship that comes with gorgeous visuals.
Parent Movie Review
It has been a thousand years since the destruction of industrial society, and things are looking bleak. The toxic forests which sprang up are full of giant insects, and the trees are spreading dangerously close to the surviving pockets of humanity. Nausicaä (Alison Lohman) is a princess from the Valley of the Wind who wants to find a way to live in harmony with the insects and protect her home from the poison. But when the Tolmekians crash their airship into her town, kill her father, and take her hostage, Nausicaä will be hard pressed just to survive. With the help of her father’s advisor, Lord Yupa (Patrick Stewart), a young prince named Asbel (Shia Labeouf), and a wild fox-squirrel named Teto, Nausicaa might just be able to save everything she holds dear.
While the animation style is a little rougher than in later Miyazaki films (like Spirited Away or My Neighbor Totoro), the message is as strong as ever, and the story is simply beautiful. The world Miyazaki builds for his characters is deep and coherent bit feels small enough to be easily comprehensible. Even with this earlier style of animation, the visuals are gorgeous, from Nausicaä’s aeronautic acrobatics to the dense trees and dust of the toxic forest.
Parents will be relieved to find that there are virtually no content issues with Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. While the violence is probably too intense for really young kids, most children will understand the movie’s strong pacifist voice. The environmental and political warnings in the film are also hugely important, encouraging smart environmental stewardship and cooperation within our own species. It’s easy for kids, especially with any amount of access to the news, to see almost none of that happening in the real world, so it’s critical that we have examples like Nausicaä to show them.
This is an excellent movie for adults as well, who will undoubtably appreciate the fantastic English voice cast. Patrick Stewart, as always, is a powerhouse, but Alison Lohman brings a sweet, emotional urgency to her role. Not that the rest of the cast is slouching - Uma Thurman and Shia LaBeouf are both phenomenal. In addition to the voice work, adults might find the film an important reminder of the morals we held as children, and perhaps have forgotten since. It’s easy to bury a conviction in practicalities and convenience, but it’s important to hold on to the values we believe in. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind serves as a perfect channel for getting back in touch with a strong ethical compass, and more to the point, is fantastically entertaining to watch.Directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Starring Alison Lohman, Patrick Stewart, and Uma Thurman.. Running time: 117 minutes. Theatrical release November 25, 1987. Updated September 26, 2019
Watch the trailer for Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
Rating & Content Info
Why is Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind rated PG? Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is rated PG by the MPAA for violence.
Violence: A skull and several dead bodies are shown. Several airships crash, resulting in injuries. An individual is stabbed in the arm. Several individuals are shot and killed, typically offscreen. A battle occurs in which several individuals are killed, but shown from a distance. An individual receives some wounds which bleed, and later has a foot burned slightly in acid.
Sexual Content: None.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None.
Page last updated September 26, 2019
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Parents' Guide
Nausicaa does everything in her power both to save her home and to protect the ohmu. What can you do to protect wildlife? What do you think you could do to keep the planet in good shape for future generations?
Nausicaa also deplores violence and avoids it at all costs. Do you feel that violence is ever an acceptable answer?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
If you enjoy the environmental message of this film, you might be interested in Tom Simek’s Eco-Fables, which come in three volumes. Written around everyday items, these fables provide simple environmental messages for young readers.
A beautiful picture book that promotes environmental awareness without preaching, A Stone Sat Still is written and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel. It’s suitable for readers of all ages. Another hauntingly beautiful picture book with messages about cherishing the earth is The Earth and I by Frank Asch. Forests are celebrated in Shawn Sheehy’s pop-up book, Welcome to the Neighborwood.
The classic story about the need to protect the environment is The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. “I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees.” Who can forget those lines once they’ve read the book?
The Tin Forest by Helen Ward and Wayne Anderson is a beautiful picture book with a moving story about an old man who lives in a wasteland filled with trash. He dreams of a forest filled with life and finally sets out to make his dream become reality.
Trees are critical to our environment and there are real life environmental heroes who understand the power of trees. To learn about a woman who has planted trees and rebuilt an ecosystem, read Claire A Nivola’s Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai. Another real life story about a person whose work had positive environmental impacts is told in A Boy and a Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz and Catia Chien. Alan struggled to master his stutter – but it disappeared when he talked to animals. His passion for animals led him to become a conservationist, care for jaguars, and save thousands of acres of rain forest. Yet another true story, this one in picture book form, is told by Tereasa Surratt and Donna Lukas in The Forever Tree. A woman turns San Diego into an oasis in H Joseph Hopkin’s The Tree Lady: The Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever.
Do you have a tween who wants to make a difference? Get them a copy of The Adventures of Lola. Written by Jade Harley and illustrated by Craig Phillips, the Lola series empowers kids who want to be a force for change.
If the haunting tone of Studio Ghibli movies appeals to you, try reading Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s classic novel, The Little Prince. Accessible to children, this novel also has profound messages for older readers.
Older readers who are fascinated with Studio Ghibli might be interested in Studio Ghibli. This book by Colin Odell and Michelle LeBlanc details the history of the studio while exploring the cultural and thematic constants of the films. To examine Hayao Miyazaki’s style in greater detail, check out his books, The Art of Spirited Away or Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind: Watercolor Impressions.
Related home video titles:
If you like the look of this film, you will want to watch other Studio Ghibli features. Howl’s Moving Castle tells the story of a young woman under a curse who takes shelter in an enchanted moving castle. In Spirited Away, a young girl and her family are spirited away into a supernatural dimension.
Another young woman finds herself on fantastical (and hilarious) adventures in The Princess Bride.
Pixar’s Wall-E is an environmental tale told with a touch of whimsy.