This movie at a glance
Rating
  • Suitable for viewing by general population
Recommendations
  • Parental guidance for children under 7
  • Suitable for children over 7
Warnings
  • Contains coarse language
  • Contains frightening scenes
  • Contains violence and scary scenes
Genre Animation, adventure, comedy
Length 106 minutes
Release Date 14/12/2017

Legend

Parental guidance for children under 7 Parental guidance for children under 7
Suitable for children over 7 Suitable for children over 7
Contains coarse language Contains coarse language
Contains frightening scenes Contains frightening scenes
Contains violence and scary scenes Contains violence and scary scenes

Story

Casa del Toros is a premier ranch where matadors come from all over Spain to select the bulls they will fight in the ring. Ferdinand (voiced by Colin H. Murphy and John Cena) is different from all the other bulls at Casa del Toros. For example, Valiente (Jack Gore and Bobby Cannavale), Guapo (Jet Jurgensmeyer and Peyton Manning) and Bones (Nile Diaz and Anthony Anderson) all push, shove and fight each other constantly, trying to be tough and impressive. Ferdinand, however, refuses to fight. He is friendly, compassionate and caring. He loves flowers and cares for the one flower that grows in the bull pen.

When Ferdinand’s father is chosen to fight, he tells his son that he will be back and that he will show Ferdinand the secrets to being a great fighter. But Ferdinand doesn’t want to fight and his father never comes back. In horror and sadness, Ferdinand runs away and finds himself on a train that takes him to another part of Spain. There he’s found by a friendly farmer who takes him home to his young daughter Nina (Julia Saldanha and Lily Day).

Nina showers Ferdinand with love, and slowly he becomes part of her family. He grows up on the farm surrounded by flowers and friends and is happier than he has ever been. But after being stung by a bee at a flower festival, Ferdinand inadvertently destroys the town and is captured and returned to the Casa del Toros.

His size is beyond anything the men at the ranch have ever seen, but Ferdinand still refuses to fight. When he decides to escape with the help of his new friend Lupe (Kate McKinnon), he learns the truth: that no bull ever wins, and he sacrifices himself to save the others.

In the ring Ferdinand is finally able to answer the question that he asked his father so long ago: ‘Is it possible to be a champion without having to fight?’

Here we outline any topics, issues and ideas in this movie that might upset children and adolescents, so that you can gauge whether it is appropriate for your child. For example, children and adolescents may react adversely to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, separation from a parent, animal cruelty or distress, children as victims, natural disasters and racism.

Cruelty to animals, particularly during bullfights; sending bulls to the slaughterhouse when they do not perform as expected.

Here we identify any violence in this movie, and explain how and why it might impact on your child or adolescent. In general, movie violence can make children less sensitive to the use of violence in real life. Alternatively, they may become fearful about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world. In some contexts, it can also teach them to see violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution.

Ferdinand has frequent violence. For example:

  • The bulls constantly push, shove and fight one another, trying to prove who is toughest.
  • Valiente deliberately crushes the flower that Ferdinand cares for. Valiente wants to punish Ferdinand for his father being chosen by the matador.
  • Ferdinand accidentally destroys a small town because he’s so big and he can’t stop knocking things over or breaking them.
  • Ferdinand is captured, tied with ropes and forced into the back of a truck while Nina tries to tell everyone that he isn’t dangerous.
  • The ranch hands poke Ferdinand with long sticks to get him into the pen.
  • Three little hedgehogs use their quills like spears and throw them at other animals.
  • Three horses in an adjoining pen often insult the bulls and fight each other with their hooves. They wind up in a tangled mess
  • There are images of matadors about to stab bulls and a huge wall lined with bull horns.
  • Cars get smashed as the animals escape the ranch in a truck.
  • Ferdinand is finally captured while helping his friends escape. He is forced to the ground, tied with ropes and taken away to the bullfight.
  • Ferdinand sends the matador flying through the bullring.
  • The matador slashes Ferdinand and threatens him with spears.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Ferdinand has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example, Ferdinand’s father never comes back, and Ferdinand realises that he has been killed. In shock and horror Ferdinand runs away. Men from the ranch chase him, and he just manages to escape on a passing train. He wanders the countryside in the dark and in the rain until he falls down a steep incline where he’s rescued by a farmer. The music is loud and intense and adds to the drama of the scene. 

From 5-8
In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, Ferdinand has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:

  • Guapo is sent off to be slaughtered after he loses a fight. All the bulls think that he has been killed. Ferdinand later saves him.
  • Valiente is also sent to the slaughterhouse when one of his horns breaks off. Ferdinand helps him escape as well. 

From 8-13
Nothing of concern

Over 13
Nothing of concern

Sexual references

Ferdinand has some sexual references. For example, Lupe looks Ferdinand up and down when they first meet and comments on his ‘flanks’ in a suggestive way.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Nothing of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Nothing of concern

Coarse language

Ferdinand has insults and name-calling throughout.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Ferdinand is an animated adventure about staying true to yourself no matter what comes your way. By doing this, you can be an inspiration for others. Although it’s aimed at young audiences, there is a simple truth in this movie’s message that will touch the hearts of everyone who sees it.

Although the movie has a G rating, children under seven years might be scared by some scenes, so parental guidance is recommended for this age group.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:

  • kindness and compassion for all living things
  • the true nature of strength
  • forgiveness and courage.

You could also talk with your children about the following issues:

  • Bullfighting still exists as a celebrated sport in some parts of the world. What are the animal rights issues related to this?
  • Many animals, not just bulls, are sent off to be slaughtered when they have outlived their ‘usefulness’.
  • Ferdinand is an excellent example of how to overcome bullying, teasing and hostility by choosing to respond with kindness and humour. 
 

Last updated or reviewed
03-01-2018

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Raising Children Network is supported by the Australian Government. Member organisations are the Parenting Research Centre and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute with The Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Community Child Health.

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