The seventies was a terrific time for films of living, breathing animals (as opposed to the animated Disney kind) – there was Survival on the telly and movies like Black Beauty, The Black Stallion and Tarka the Otter in the cinemas. Of course, they were made at a time before people fretted too much about how watching an animal in peril may affect a small viewer, so if you are concerned that your tot may be upset by that, this is probably one classic kids’ movie that’s best left on the shelf (which would be a shame).
For while it is the tale of Tarka the otter’s life, from young pup to an adult otter who finds love of his own (aaahhhh), this film, based on the Henry Williamson novel of the same name, does have some sad moments as death haunts the film. Both Tarka’s parents die and (plot revelation ahead!) Tarka doesn’t make it to the end either, but it’s no more traumatising than Simba’s dad biting the dust in The Lion King or Bambi’s mother getting shot. And the beautiful filming of this otter’s often humorous adventure through life is well worth watching.
Is Tarka The Otter suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
As mentioned in the review, this is more upsetting in a sad way rather than a scary one.
Be aware younger children will be upset as Tarka’s mother is shot, and also by the hunt that happens later in the film. And grown-ups should have tissues handy for their children and themselves, too!