Best Fairy Tale Movies: Alice in Wonderland

From recent theatrical releases, such as Into the Woods, to required reading lists for students, fairy tales are prominent contributors to popular culture and academia. Some parents may contemplate the lessons taught by fairy tales, while others fear the films may be too scary for their youngsters. We are sharing the Best Fairy Tale Movies series with the intention of addressing both of these considerations as well as broadening the fairy tale genre to include animated classics, live action adventures, and modern interpretations. So, delve into these on-screen stories to experience lessons in love, loss, and life and, perhaps, to find your new favorite film.

The Disney classic, Alice in Wonderland, is based on Lewis Carroll’s beloved story about a seven-and-a-half-year-old girl who creates fantastic adventures that continue to get “curiouser and curiouser” with characters like the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, March Hare, Tweedledee & Tweedledum, the Cheshire Cat, the Queen of Hearts and more.  

Movie Details:

Released: July 28, 1951

Directors:  Hamilton Luske, Wilfred Jackson and Clyde Geronimi

Cast: Bill Thompson, Richard Haydn, Kathryn Beaumont, Ed Wynn, Jerry Colonna, Verna Felton

Rating: G

Run time: 75 minutes

Alice in Wonderland is brought to us by the team known for their work on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Dumbo, and 101 Dalmations

Like other Disney movies, Alice in Wonderland has a G rating and is fit for audiences of all ages.

Is Alice in Wonderland educational?

On the surface, Alice in Wonderland seems like a dreamland fairy tale for children, however, if you look closer, you will realize that Alice’s world translates into much more. The most important metaphor in the story is one of growth. Not only do we physically see Alice grow from tall to short and from big to small, but we also see her grow emotionally throughout the film. When Alice eats she grows, when she drinks she shrinks. She soon learns to use the resources in her world to control her personal growth. This can be reflected in your home with discussions about growing up, changing body size, dealing with ups and downs, and feeling confident or insecure about oneself.

Alice also learns about the importance of accountability, and knowing what her expectations are from the actions she takes. Her conversation with the Cheshire Cat is a prime example:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where,” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

This may be a children’s story at heart, but we can learn a great deal from a young girl who acquires the creativity, curiosity and confidence to become the person she aspires to be.

Will my family like Alice in Wonderland?

Overall, Alice in Wonderland won’t cause much concern for parents, but please be aware of the Caterpillar who is a hookah-smoking caterpillar which may pose questions from your children, and could be seen as a bad influence. 

The film is a classic that has stood the hands of time. In 2011, Disney celebrated the film’s 60th anniversary, and in 2010, they released another version telling a similar story, but characterized Alice as 19-years-old.

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Image Credit – Alice in Wonderland, Disney /

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