Is Polar Express Movie Scary?

If you’re considering watching the movie Polar Express, you may be wondering if it’s scary or appropriate for your children. The 2004 movie directed by Robert Zemeckis is based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg and features a young boy who embarks on a magical journey to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. While the movie has become a holiday classic, some viewers have expressed concerns about its potential to frighten younger audiences.

What is Polar Express About?

The Polar Express tells the story of a young boy who is beginning to doubt the existence of Santa Claus. On Christmas Eve, he is awakened by a mysterious train outside his window, and he boards it along with other children who are also skeptical about the holiday figure.

Throughout their journey, they make stops at various locations including the North Pole where they meet Santa himself. The story is meant to be heartwarming and reaffirming of the magic of Christmas.

Is It Scary?

While there are some moments in the movie that could be considered intense or suspenseful, most viewers would agree that it’s not particularly scary. There are scenes where characters are chased by wolves or fall from trains, but these incidents are resolved quickly and without any serious injury. Additionally, there are some darker themes such as loss of belief in Santa Claus or feeling left out during the holidays that may be more emotionally impactful than frightening.

Age Appropriate

The movie is rated G and intended for general audiences. As with any film, parents should use their discretion when deciding if it’s appropriate for their children based on their individual sensitivities and maturity levels. However, most children over the age of five should be able to enjoy it without issue.

Tips for Watching with Young Children

  • Watch together as a family so your child feels supported and comforted.
  • Prepare your child ahead of time by discussing what they can expect to see and hear in the movie.
  • Reassure your child that the characters are safe and that everything will turn out okay in the end.
  • Take breaks as needed if your child becomes overwhelmed or scared.


Overall, while there are some moments of suspense in The Polar Express, it’s generally not a scary movie. Its themes of Christmas magic and hope are meant to be uplifting for viewers of all ages. Parents can watch with their children to offer support and reassurance, but most kids over five should be able to enjoy it without issue.