Disney

10+ Children's Movies That Dealt With Very Deep Issues

Sarah Kester 13 Jul 2020

On the surface, children's movies appear to be light and fluffy. But once we dig deeper, we discover all sorts of dark things.

This includes terrifying backstories, behind-the-scenes secrets that change how you view these films forever, and now this: the dark issues that weren't caught on first watch.

Here are 10+ children's movies that had very deep issues.

1. The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Disney

For a Disney movie, this one is surprisingly dark.

First, Frollo basically treats Quasimodo like an animal because he's deformed. At the same time, he's emotionally manipulating Quasimodo into believing that only he loves him.

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He even killed Qausimodo's mother and attempted to kill him as well.

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We can't forget about Frollo's creepy obsession with the gypsy, Esmeralda, either.

At one point, he gives her the option of sleeping with him or facing death.

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2. Frozen

Disney

"I saw [Frozen] for the first time a month ago or so. [The] blonde almost kills her sister twice, rebels against her parents and kingdom then brings a snowy hell to her own country. and kids still look up to her." — Redditor deleted

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3. The Karate Kid

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Behind all those karate kicks was something very, very dark.

Sensei John Kreese was likely going through PTSD from his time in the Special Forces during the Vietnam War. This spilled over to his students in the form of aggression.

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4. Pete's Dragon (The Original Movie From 1977)

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"Pete is a runaway. From hillbillies who bought him as a slave and beat the [expletive] out of him. The movie terrified me as a child. I can't believe they're remaking it." — Redditor Jux_

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5. The Goonies

IMDb

When watching this flick, you might get caught up in the whole "kids going on an adventure for treasure" theme.

Things get dark when you realize that they're doing it to save their homes. Seriously, these kids need a lot of parental supervision.

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6. Toy Story 3

Giphy | Disney Pixar

Disney was playing games with this one.

"It all turned out [well] in the end, but that movie was [expletive] scary. The incinerator, Lotso, the baby in the dark quietly sitting on the swing...shudder." — Redditor MonstarsSuck

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7. The Sound of Music

IMDb

It's a classic movie that keeps things light and cheery with its music and the ever-charming Julie Andrews.

But without these things, it's just a movie where the characters are running from the Nazi party. To be fair, it's a really good movie.

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8. Great Mouse Detective

Disney

"Honestly, 99% of it is about elaborate, sociopathic murder. Everything else is other sorts of criminal activities that lead up to it. Also, they go to a seaside brothel to watch a burlesque show where one of the performers sings about how good she is at sex." — Redditor nova_cat

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9. Polar Express

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There was so much wrong with this film. It starts with a stranger luring kids out of bed to go on a train. From there, things get even crazier.

This included a ghost, possessed toys, and the fact that the kids are almost killed several times.

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10. The Rugrats Movie

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Sibling rivalry became super real in this film. Tommy was basically an attempted murderer since he covered his baby brother, Dil, in mashed bananas and then fed him to hungry monkeys.

Why? All because he was crying. Talk about a stressful movie.

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11. Big Hero 6

IMDb

"Big Hero 6 had a human character death at the beginning (made worse by the fact that he burned to death) and a guy becoming a sort-of supervillain because he wanted revenge." — Redditor deleted

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12. Home Alone

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Maybe it's the holiday spirit that makes us forget that this Chrismas classic is actually pretty twisted.

Kevin's booby traps against the Wet Bandits would be enough to kill anyone in real life. Seriously, it's true!

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We also can't forget about the psychological damage that would come from being left behind, twice.

Macaulay Culkin, the actor who played Kevin, even once made a parody video, showing the mental damage that his family caused him.

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13. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

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This image alone is horrifying. And no, I will not have anyone disagreeing with me.

Once kids suddenly became illegal in the film, this man went around town and kidnapped them using candy. There are just so many things wrong with this.

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14. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

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With The Candyman horror flick hitting theaters soon, it's a good reminder that Willy Wonka was basically a child murderer.

He lured kids into his home and then they all start disappearing, one by one. I mean, come on.

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15. The Incredibles

Giphy | Disney Pixar

It is an amazing movie, but once you realize it was made for kids, things don't make sense.

That's because the film tackled some pretty heavy issues, such as marital problems and a daughter who is depressed.

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16. Finding Nemo

Disney

"A father has to rescue his kidnapped son, and on the way has [run-ins] with the mafia and a mentally disabled woman [who] tags along with him." — Redditor WiseauIsLife

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17. Lilo & Stitch

Disney

While the Disney film was released in 2002, most of the animation had been completed before 9/11. The end of the movie included one scene where Stitch and his friends hijack a plane and it crashes through buildings in the city.

After 9/11, this scene was changed. The plane became an alien ship that crashed into the mountains.

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18. The Secret Of NIMH

United Artists

The Secret of NIMH is not a kids' movie. Let me be clear: It's terrifying.

But beneath its frightening demeanor, it also shone a light on the realities of animal cruelty and animal testing.

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19. CoCo

Giphy | Disney+

The topic of death is a tough subject to tackle — even for adults.

What CoCo attempts to do is humanize death in such a way that young viewers regard it as an integral part of life. Not something that should be feared.

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20. Watership Down

Warner Bros.

On the surface, Watership Down is an incredibly violent and bloody tale of warring rabbits.

Underneath it all, Watership Down can be interpreted as an allegory for communism or a commentary on Christianity as a whole.

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21. Onward

Disney

The loss of a parent is heartbreaking. Without a doubt, it's one of the hardest things that any of us will ever experience in life.

Onward's ability to tackle this subject head-on and in a humorous way offers a whole new perspective on the idea of legacy.

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22. FernGully: The Last Rain Forest

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I can still remember the scene where Zak is carving Crysta's name into the tree, only to have her scream "Can't you feel its pain?"

It's a powerful moment that bodes well for the film's overarching commentary on rain forest preservation.

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23. The Lorax

Universal Pictures

Speaking of conservation and preservation, The Lorax has that in spades. I myself am more partial to the original Dr. Seuss short-film, but that's neither here nor there.

The film is a grave and earnest cautionary tale of the dangers surrounding deforestation and climate change.

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24. Inside Out

Giphy | Disney

Inside Out stressed the importance of emotional balance and stability. Rather than to shy away from what we may perceive as a negative emotion, the film taught us that true happiness comes from allowing ourselves to feel everything.

Only by embracing our full emotional spectrum can we realize our potential.

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25. Wall-E

Disney

It's kind of scary to think about how much Wall-E got right. The following might sound like a glib interpretation but the ugly truth is still the truth, nonetheless.

The film envisions a future where human beings have become completely enveloped in their technology to the point where they literally can't live without it. Sound familiar?

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