The Thief Lord parents guide

The Thief Lord Parent Guide

Overall B

When two recently orphaned brothers (Aaron Johnson and Jasper Harris) flee to Venice rather than accept their proposed custody arrangements, they join a band of pick-pocketing street kids who are led by a mysterious masked teen called The Thief Lord (Rollo Weeks).

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

Why is The Thief Lord rated PG? The MPAA rated The Thief Lord PG for language and thematic elements.

Run Time: 98 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Why is it some mothers delight in giving their children unusual names? For Prosper and Bo (Aaron Johnson and Jasper Harris) this phenomenon proves akin to a curse when the two boys find themselves on the run from their dreadful relatives.

Following the tragic death of the aforementioned parent, the brothers are split up by Aunt and Uncle Hartlieb (Carole Boyd and Bob Goody), because the middle-aged couple only cares to adopt six-year-old Bo. Unhappy with this arrangement, fifteen-year-old Prosper breaks out of the orphanage where he has been interned, kidnaps his younger sibling and then flees to Venice.

Although the canalled city was much romanticized by their Mom, the fugitives find little refuge in its damp corridors until they meet The Thief Lord (Rollo Weeks). Not much older than Prosper, the streetwise masked figure invites them to take up residence in an abandoned cinema with a group of other homeless orphans. Without any better offers, the pair joins the gang, just as the band members, who are used to stealing to meet their basic needs, decide to try their hand at something bigger.

Meanwhile, the heartless Hartliebs have hired a private detective (Jim Carter) to track down the runaways. Thanks to their unique monikers, the gumshoe is soon hot on their heels. His persistent investigation not only endangers the brothers, but also threatens to foil their heist plans and reveal a few secrets about the mysterious Thief Lord.

From beginning to end, the movie evokes a magical mood, so it’s no surprise when the script stumbles into an artifact with supernatural powers. This fantasy setting also helps to dispel some of the darker realities of the juveniles’ acts of crime, which include lying, robbing, hostage taking, and breaking and entering. While some of these activities result in gunshots and suspenseful moments, there is never any real sense of peril. Yet, there are no consequences for their illegal activities either. Boasting a kids-know-best attitude, adult characters are portrayed as simpletons or buffoons—especially the aunt and uncle, whose villainous reputation is never explained.

Taken at face value, the film presents an engaging adventure tale for its target audience. It also serves up lots of brotherly love and a happy ending, where some of the bad guys turn into good guys and the rest get their comeuppance. Based on a book by best-selling children’s author Cornelia Funk, it may even encourage a trip to the library. However parents should note, considering the glamorization of certain activities, the title The Thief Lord is not a misnomer.

Starring Aaron Johnson, Jasper Harris, Rollo Weeks. Running time: 98 minutes. Updated

The Thief Lord
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Thief Lord rated PG? The Thief Lord is rated PG by the MPAA for language and thematic elements.

Orphaned children engage in lying, stealing, kidnapping, and petty crime in the name of providing for their needs. They also have dealings with other criminals, including one who offers to pay them a large sum of money for their thieving services. Threats, gunshots, and hand-to-hand conflicts are depicted. No real consequences are depicted for these behaviors, and magic is shown to be the answer to some of their problems. Characters consume alcohol, including a minor. Adults are portrayed as incompetent when compared to the children in the movie.


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The Thief Lord Parents' Guide

Throughout the movie, Bo and Prosper attempt to stay out of the clutches of their Aunt and Uncle. What reasons does the script provide for the boys’ distain of these relatives? Are any of them serious enough to deny the couple their right to act as a guardian?

In the story, one character wishes he was old enough to have the responsibilities and respect given to adults, while another wishes he was young enough to enjoy the simple pleasures of childhood again. Why are they discontent? Does age really equal wisdom, maturity, or lack of accountability?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of The Thief Lord movie is March 13, 2006. Here are some details…

Providing both the wide and full screen versions of The Thief Lord, this DVD release includes deleted scenes, the animated short created by the character Mosca (one of the orphans) and the theatrical trailer. Audio tracks are available in English (Dolby Digital 5.1), with subtitles in English and Spanish.

Related home video titles:

Another group of orphans resort to petty theft to earn their keep in the classic Charles Dickens’ story of Oliver Twist (which has also been adapted for the screen as the musical Oliver!).