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(1940), G [PG-G*] (1hr 28min)

Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
January 3, 2006
70 out of 100

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Christian Long Distance

(This section may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(1940), G [PG-G*] -- "Parents should be cautioned..."

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Walt Disney Pictures, Buena Vista Pictures (1962) (theatrical) (re-releases from 1956 onward)
Distribution (US): Walt Disney Home Video,
Director(s): Hamilton Luske, Ben Sharpsteen
Produced by: Walt Disney
Written by: Carlo Collodi
Story Adaptation: Aurelius Battaglia, William Cottrell, Otto Englander, Erdman Penner, Joseph Sabo, Ted Sears, Webb Smith
Music: Leigh Harline, Paul J. Smith, Edward H. Plumb
Viewed on: Disney Home Video

Many of Disney's animated features contain sinister and dark matters. Disney seems to use this theme or subplot often. Fantasia had Mickey doing battle with evil magic and is rescued by a sorcerer. Snow White had the handsome prince doing battle with an evil witch that turns into a dragon (which I hear is the icon for Satan). And so on. Pinocchio is no different.

Pinocchio, rated G, earned a CAP final score of 70, placing it among the scores earned by PG films (86 to 68 out of 100) in the comparative baseline database. The final score of 70 makes Pinocchio equivalent to a "hardcore" PG using the same analysis model used on more than 1000 other films. It is a PG G.

Pinocchio is rather violent. [Prov. 13:2] Though it is an animated film, the trend-setting imagination and vision skills of Disney animators of the day (circa 1940) were masterful in imparting a dire sense of danger with both sight and sound. Neil Doyle described this well:
The scene of Geppetto searching for Pinocchio with a lantern on a rainy night after he has been captured by Stromboli is unforgettable imagery. The wagon lurching along roads with Pinocchio in a cage is a frightening thing. Even darker are the adventures that await Pinocchio when he reaches Pleasure Island. The scene of the boys turning into donkeys is probably one of the most awesome and frightening moments in the film. ... Parents should be cautioned that very young children may be frightened. [Matt. 25:40]

Clock and puppet maker Geppetto (voice of Christian Rub) yearns for his newest wooden puppet, Pinocchio to be a real boy. Hearing his plea, a blue fairy (voice of Evelyn Venable), which looks strangely like an angel and even comes down from the sky, grants Geppetto's wish by giving life to the wooden puppet. Pinocchio (Dickie Jones) is now alive and free of strings but not yet a real boy. Pinocchio must first prove himself brave and honest.

When Geppetto sends Pinocchio off to school, Honest John (voice of Walter Catlett), a local con artist, distracts Pinocchio with promises of stardom as an actor [Prov. 12:26] then sells Pinocchio to Sromboli (voice of Charles Judels), a marionette master who makes his living with puppets. What a find! A wooden puppet with no strings! Pinocchio is a success! Sromboli decides to keep Pinocchio. Much against Pinocchio's will.

While Pinocchio is imprisoned in a bird cage in Sromboli's wagon, the blue fairy appears again. When asked what happened and why he was not in school, Pinocchio fires a volley of lies. [Prov. 19:5] With each lie the now famous nose of Pinocchio became longer. Pinocchio kept lying even after his conscience, Jiminy Cricket (voice of Cliff Edwards) advised Pinocchio time and time again to tell the truth. Finally, Pinocchio "comes clean" and fesses up to what he had done and the fairy returns Pinocchio's nose to normal then releases Pinocchio and Jiminy from the heinous grips of Sromboli.

After Pinocchio escapes Sromboli, due to his gullibility Pinocchio is sold to a carnival master who promises fun and games with no parents or police on Pleasure Island. [Prov. 12:26] What a delightful array of pleasures. The boys are able to "be boys" until their hearts are content. Beating up other kids. Breaking things. Smoking. Drinking. Getting drunk. Destroying a house. Carnival rides. More! Leading Pinocchio in the revelry is a particularly nasty street-wise young thug, Lampwick (voice of Frankie Darro).

But there is a price for all the fun. The brew the boys drink is also a potion to change the boys. Physically. Into donkeys. Now from what source do you suppose is a "magic potion?" Which best fits such a concept even though it be fantasy? Good or evil? Answer: Evil. Specifically, witchcraft or sorcery. [1 Sam. 15:23] Just as the "powers" of the blue fairy ought to be seen as a form of witchcraft though used for "good." [Isa. 5:20] There is no such thing as a "good witch." If the magic does not come from God it comes from Satan.

Lampwick is the first of the quintessential characters to change. Before Pinocchio's eyes Lampwick changes, part by part, into a hee-hawing donkey. Then, the shock of it all really sets in as Pinocchio sprouts donkey ears. Then a tail. Then a hee-haw. Please remember, a bad influence does not have to be real to influence badly.

Jiminy is in the fray trying to get Pinocchio off Pleasure Island for Jiminy has seen the truth. The boys were being changed into donkeys to be sold as labor animals for the salt mines. Before the shape-shifting is complete in Pinocchio, he and Jiminy escape by plunging into the ocean.

After returning home they find Geppetto is nowhere to be found. He has gone looking for Pinocchio. Worried about Geppetto, Pinocchio and Jiminy launch a search mission for Geppetto. After being led to the sea, together Pinocchio and Jiminy search the sea floor for Geppetto only to find he has been swallowed by Monstro, the monstrous whale.

There is much more to the story but we have all heard it by now and there is little benefit in itemizing the story any further.

This film is not targeting adults who typically possess experiential maturity by which comparison and discernment are possible. It is targeted at the young adolescents who cannot be expected to be able to fully separate fantasy from reality OR fully anticipate the consequences of their actions. Such skills typically do not fully plateau until the early 20s. [1 Cor. 13:11]

Above I speak of Pinocchio, Lampwick and other boys being herded to finally serve as labor animals. This is a matter of child trafficking. It is used as a plot device in a fantasy film but it still has power to disturb young viewers.

Geppetto prays to the blue fairy which looks like an angel with wings and all. Geppetto kneels with palms together and head bowed which is traditionally symbolic of Christian prayer to God, but he is praying to the blue fairy. This smells a little bit like the beginnings of the use of initially small and seemingly innocuous tools and tactics to substitute Christian symbolics with "gentle" counterfeitings to draw away from the Christian faith: the beginnings of paganizing Christianity by paganizing the children. [2 Cor. 11:3] Maybe there is nothing to the possible dangers of "wishing on a star" stealing thunder from praying to God, but maybe there is.

The blue fairy. She could have been an angel with the power of the Creator of angels, God. But the script said she was a fairy: a non-holy entity. If she was intended to introduce the concept of "angel" she should have been called the blue angel.

The blue fairy gave life to a puppet. Though I have heard of no Scripture in which an angel has the power to give mortal life to inanimate objects, nothing is beyond God. However, a fairy is not an angel. This may be another "gimme a break" matter or this might be another smidgen of paganization of Christianity. If not, it may have had a lot to offer to the slow desensitization of our young to the truth about evil.

The youth of the Pinocchio era are the leaders of our country, policies. legal systems and society today. And what, may I ask, happened to prayer in school? To the Ten Commandments in public places? To Christianity in general? Hasn't Satanism become an official "religion" today? And Paganism? And how might you suspect the separation of church and state, which is NOT in the Constitution but was rather a letter from an early president to a pastor promising no national religion, became a law of the land? Maybe this multi-level inference is not as far-fetched as you might think. [Jude 1:4]

A three-letter word is used three times clearly as a thinly veiled expletive. But these instances of masked profanity were not incorporated into the scoring since the foul word used is also another name for donkey and, by the story, making [foul word] of himself (Lampwick) is what happened. While "legalism" is rarely beneficial in matters of faith, sometimes it is unavoidable. Clever, Disney. But you fooled no one. You just gave some children an excuse to cuss.

The story at least portrayed consequences for immoral behavior and redemption for one's iniquities. But the next time you wish upon a star, remember that a noble destination does not excuse an ignoble path. When inspecting influences for corruptive effect on your children, look not just to the foundation but look also to the blocks by which the foundation is built.

The theme of this masterpiece of animation art is let your conscious be your guide: do what is right. This is a noble doctrine but some of us feel doing wrong is very right. So, let his Word be your guide.

This film may indeed provide an educational platform from which parents might augment their teachings of right from wrong and good from bad. But how beneficial it might be is up to mom/dad. How the various positive devices of the film (and there are positive features in Pinocchio) might serve the development of your child(ren) is up to you. That is why we provide details about the content of a film -- so mom/dad might be in a better position to make an informed decision whether a film is or is not fit for their kids.

I am certain this Summary/Commentary will cause a few "gimme a break" mutterers to surface. And so will the listing in the Findings/Scoring section. So be it. My "job" is to sound the horn about the coming enemy. And if what is coming is not of God, it is of the enemy. For the watchman of Ezekiel, it is not the watchman's job to make sure the people heed the sounding of the trumpet, it is his job to make sure they hear. [Ezek. 33:2] Please read the listing in the Findings/Scoring section with an open mind.


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  • Prov. 13:2 From the fruit of his lips a man enjoys good things, but the unfaithful have a craving for violence.
  • Prov. 12:26 A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
  • Prov. 19:5 A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will not go free.
  • 1 Sam. 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, ... [Though this verse compares rebellion to witchcraft, it succinctly states witchcraft is a sin.]
  • Isa. 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
  • 1Cor. 13:11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
  • 2Cor. 11:3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
  • Ezek. 33:2 - 9 Son of man, speak to your countrymen and say to them: 'When I bring the sword [righteous judgment for sins] against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not take warning and the sword comes and takes his life, his blood will be on his own head. Since he heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning, his blood will be on his own head. If he had taken warning, he would have saved himself. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood.' Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, 'O wicked man, you will surely die,' and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin [eternal separation from the Father if unforgiven], but you will have saved yourself.

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences to younger and younger audiences every year when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it].
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. ["Offend": skandalizo - to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away. "Little ones": mikros - little;, small of age; younger which can include at-home teens].
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary/
    Commentary section.

    Pinocchio (1940) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • images of attempted animal killing with gun and axe
  • reckless gunfire
  • slapstick violence, repeatedly
  • opportunist luring child into other than proper
  • child trafficking, multiple instances, two quintessential
  • reckless endangerment with large blade
  • threat with physical brutality "Knock-a you silly"
  • kidnapping, multiple instances, two quintessential
  • offer to commit murder for money
  • hiring to do harm
  • child jumping into ocean with weight tied to him
  • long probably disturbing sequence of whale chase and attack
  • shocking image of what is viewed as death in story

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • wishing upon a star to make dreams come true
  • "I'll run home and tell his father ... that would be snitching"
  • deceiving a child for personal gain
  • lies, several
  • leading child astray with promises of gain and greatness

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • portrayal of [accidental] inappropriate touch
  • rear nudity - child
  • shadow of nudity against inside of night robe
  • can-can dance with observer getting excited about it
  • attention to posterior and form of it

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • image of drunkenness
  • smoking, repeatedly, most by children
  • bar
  • drinking, most by children

    Offense to God (O)
  • portrayal of wishing on a star as prayer
  • fairy as angel-looking being with the power to give life
  • portrayal of unholy magic to do good, repeatedly
  • lust for licentiousness and anarchy by child(ren)
  • "Being bad is a lot of fun"
  • children in licentious revelry
  • shape-shifting, child to donkey
  • fairy having the power to give life
  • unholy magic to do "good"

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • none noted

  • Christian Educators Association International



    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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