When people go to the movies, they go to be entertained. What they do not expect is a lesson in morality. But however unlikely it might seem, many films attempt to do exactly that. Children's films especially have been given the role of teaching others the moral lessons that society has long since established are desirable and can lead to a successful and fulfilling life.
While morals are quite prevalent in many film genres, the role they play in children's films is to set a basic and very fundamental structure for children to follow. In many films there is a "bad guy" and a "good guy." There have been films where the line is blurred and even unseen until the moment when the roles of those involved are truly revealed. But overall, companies such as Disney tend to instill the public sense of right and wrong within each of their productions from the most minor to the most epic films produced.
Several examples of moral behavior can be seen in "Beauty and The Beast," "The Lion King" and even "The Princess and the Frog." Such movies show that negative and hurtful qualities exhibited by the villain and other associates are generally unwanted and lead to disaster in the end. On the other side of the coin it is shown that virtue, honesty, and other such positive characteristics eventually win the day for the hero.
Children who see this are not guaranteed to follow the example, but they are at the very least helped to understand and gain a better perspective of right and wrong. While movies are not the end-all solution to behavioral problems, they are a means by which to show children the benefits of positivity and the downfall of negative acts and thoughts. For example, more children would want to emulate a figure such as Mufasa or Simba from "The Lion King" than they would Scar or the hyenas.
This shows that morals within films, particularly children's films, are quite effective in showing kids what is expected in society. While the finer details and more realistic outcomes must be learned with time, kids are at least shown the possibility of what can happen if they attempt to treat others as they wish to be treated. The example of "Beauty and The Beast," for instance, illustrates that point quite well, as the Beast begins to learn he can accomplish far more by being nice than he can by being fierce and abrasive.
There are so many examples of moral behavior in Disney films that it is difficult to list them all. Sacrifice, kindness, mercy, compassion, and even just good old honest hard work as is seen in "The Princess and the Frog" speak to generations of children who sing and enjoy the story without ever truly touching upon the lessons that are being imparted until later in life. The movies are a wonderful time for children to enjoy. They can also be a time in which valuable lessons are imparted.