Box art for Pan's Labyrinth

Pan's Labyrinth

drama, horror, thrillers

Amidst a civil war, armed with only her imagination, young Ofelia discovers a mysterious labyrinth and meets a faun who sets her on a path to saving herself and her ailing mother from the tyranny of her new step-father.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 15
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
0 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
0 out of 5
5 out of 5

Brilliant, poignant fairy tale isn't for kids.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that, while this gorgeous, subtitled Spanish fantasy-drama focuses on an 11-year-old girl's experience, it's not meant for children. It's full of mature themes and violent scenes (including the bloody death of a child) -- in fact, it opens on the face of a child who has been hurt, her mouth bleeding. The villain is a captain in the fascist military who repeatedly brutalizes others: He berates his wife, threatens his stepdaughter, kills villagers (beating them and shooting point-blank), and tortures his servant. Weapons include guns, knives, and grenades; some violent acts are explicit on screen (pain and bloody wounds visible). Some of the creatures Ofelia meets are frightening: The giant toad, the Faun, and the Pale Man are all strange, noisy, and physically threatening. Language includes two uses of "f--k."

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the nature of fairy tales. How do they reflect (and comment upon) real-life experiences? In this movie, how do Ofelia's experiences in the fantastical world mirror what she's going through at home?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 24
    see all Pan's Labyrinth reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Pan's Labyrinth plays with dark magic, a hideous enchantment spun with grief and torment. It is emotionally devastating and sensuously rich: Details are as sharp as the ching of a straight-edge razor, as strange as the squeal of a magic root.

- Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle, Friday, January 12, 2007

Rotten: Ofelia's smock is swiped from Alice, her faun from Narnia, and her magic book from Harry Potter, Del Toro sets her fairytale apart with its unrelenting gore and misery.

- Amy Nicholson, I.E. Weekly, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: So breathtaking in its artistic ambition, so technically accomplished, so morally expansive, so fully realized that it defies the usual critical blather. See it, and celebrate that rare occasion when a director has the audacity to commit cinema.

- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Saturday, February 3, 2007

Audience Reviews

4 stars

Okay, I will admit that I am a sucker for Fairy Tales. Always have been, always will be. But, while I love them, the only problem is that they have been so stripped of any true suspense and terror that made the originals wonderful that, now they have gotten kind of pathetic. Well, in 2006, director Guillermo Del Toro released this little gem that is, to be honest, unlike anything I have ever see or will see again. The only way for me to describe this film is to think of the darkest, most richest fantasy that could surpass films like The Lord Of The Rings, The Chronicles Of Narnia, and Harry Potter. Being an adult (in terms of tone) version of Alice In Wonderland, this is a beyond complex film. How so? Because while all of the fantasy aspects are going on, there is this complete separate subplot going on about Spain during World War II and that is somehow mixed in with all of the Fantasy parts. Basically, this is a film that could of went disastrously wrong, but thankfully it did not. Now, when I re-watched this film for the first time in a year and a half, I noticed something that made me think back to Marlon Brando. You see, with acting there are two eras: Pre Brando and Post Brando. This was because Marlon Brando invented new methods of acting that changed the way actors acted on screen. (For example, what The Godfather) The reason why I brought this up is because I noticed that, for one character, that this film created a new era in terms of enemies: Pre-Vidal and Post-Vidal. In the movie, the character of Vidal is portrayed by Sergi Lopez and he makes this character one of the most sadistic and down right terrifying war captains I have ever seen. This film, in terms of his character, is ahead of it's time only to be proven by the character of Hans Landa in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. That is another thing that makes this film so genius: the characters. But the two (I would say three, but I already talked about Vidal) that just steal this film is Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) and Pan (Doug Jones). With Ofelia, I am just surprised at how well acted her character was. I know for child actors/ actresses it is difficult, but with the material and the pure imagination of this film, she was fantastic and a bit heartbreaking in one scene. For Pan, Holy ****. I have no idea as to what to say about Doug Jones. But, if I had to say something, I would say that his performance reminded me of that of Tim Curry in Legend: completely breathtaking. But most of that has to go to the make-up effects team for designing this faun and making him look aged, terrifying, yet comforting. And with his acting, for having been through all of that make up, it was outstanding. The look of this film is, without a doubt, one of the most important things to notice. Everything was the dark, gritty real world to the fantastic and terrying underworld to even the creatures that Ofelia encounters is, breathtaking. Del Toro has a wonderful eye for capturing the dark beauty of this film, and it just works. That is probably all I can say about this film: dark, beautiful, near perfect in almost every category, and just a thrill to watch. But, best keep young kids away. Some of the torture scenes and dark imagery might be a bit too much. But for everyone else, this is a feast for the imagination.

- fb100000257973100, Sunday, November 6, 2011

5 stars

del Toro does a masterful job creating this world, while magical it is still believable to the audience. The score, the cinematography, the imagination, the realism, the acting all come together in this film and leave us wanting more. Absoultely wonderful flick, so good that the we barely notice the language barrier. A film I will watch countless times.

- fb100002891058690, Friday, October 21, 2011

4 stars

Finally got around to watching this in November 2013!! Late to the party I know. This film was very well rounded and pieced together. It's not often (or ever) that an adult/mature fairy tale film is made that garners such high scores and ratings. The thing I loved the most about this film though, was the emphasis on making "El Capitan" such an evil character. Antagonists will be antagonists in every film, but the role of Vidal was excellent.

- fb729949618, Thursday, November 21, 2013