In 2001, Afghanistan is under the control of the Taliban. When her father is captured, a determined young girl disguises herself as a boy in order to provide for her family.


Nora Twomey


Anita Doron (screenplay), Deborah Ellis (screen story) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 22 wins & 54 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Saara Chaudry ... Parvana (voice)
Soma Chhaya ... Shauzia (voice) (as Soma Bhatia)
Noorin Gulamgaus ... Idrees / Sulayman (voice)
Laara Sadiq ... Fattema / Old Woman (voice)
Ali Badshah ... Nurullah / Talib Security Man (voice)
Shaista Latif Shaista Latif ... Soraya (voice)
Kanza Feris ... Sorceress / Woman in Courtyard (voice)
Kawa Ada Kawa Ada ... Razaq (voice)
Kane Mahon ... Optician / Kiln Owner / Crowd Voices (voice)
Ali Kazmi ... Darya / Fruit Juice Vendor / Jail Warden / Various (voice)
Mran Volkhard Mran Volkhard ... Megaphone / Market Seller (voice)
Reza Sholeh Reza Sholeh ... Stall Seller / Fruit Seller / Guard Man on Bike / Teenage Boy #2 (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lily Erlinghauser Lily Erlinghauser ... Zaki (voice)
Wamiq Furoghudin Wamiq Furoghudin ... Prison Gatekeeper (voice)
Millad Hamidkohzad Millad Hamidkohzad ... Other Talib Boy / Guard #2 (voice)


From executive producer Angelina Jolie and the creators of the Academy Award nominated The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea, comes the highly-anticipated new feature based on Deborah Ellis' bestselling novel. Parvana is an 11-year-old girl growing up under the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001. When her father is wrongfully arrested, Parvana cuts off her hair and dresses like a boy in order to support her family. Working alongside her friend Shauzia, Parvana discovers a new world of freedom-and danger. With undaunted courage, Parvana draws strength from the fantastical stories she invents, as she embarks on a quest to find her father and reunite her family. Equal parts thrilling and enchanting, The Breadwinner is an inspiring and luminously animated tale about the power of stories to sustain hope and carry us through dark times.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Animation | Drama | Family | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

N: Rated PG-13 for thematic material including some violent images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


This movie became the first win for Cartoon Saloon at the Annie Awards in the category "Best Independent Animated Feature", as well being the first female-directed movie to win an Annie Award. See more »


According to sources the film takes place in 2001. But the currency used in the film is Afghani which wasn't introduced until 2003. See more »


Fattema's Cousin: Son, daughter, which is it? Gather your things, we are leaving now!
Fattema: I am not leaving without Parvana! We have to wait!
Fattema's Cousin: Count yourself lucky I am taking you, old woman. The girl and the baby are of more worth.
See more »


Referenced in AniMat's Crazy Cartoon Cast: And The Nominees Are... (2018) See more »


The Crown Sleeps
Performed by Felicity Williams and Elaha Soroor
Original Song by Qais Essar
Lyrics by Joshua Hill
Arranged and Produced by Aaron Lightstone and Justin Gray
Mixed and Remastered by Justin Gray
See more »

User Reviews

A Depressing albeit Uplifting Tale of Survival
31 December 2018 | by elicoppermanSee all my reviews

The beauty about discovering independent animated films outside of America is that you discover gems that could never be made here. In the case of today's film, it comes from the Irish studio Cartoon Saloon, known for making The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea. Although the film did go under the radar outside of getting an Oscar nom and premiering at TIFF in 2017, it's still regarded as a beloved feature amongst critics and film fans. What could have easily been done in live-action ends up working well in the other medium to really bring to life the turmoil in Afghanistan through pure artistry.

The Breadwinner focuses on a little girl named Parvana who lives under the Taliban rule in Afghanistan. After her father is arrested without charge, Parvana disguises herself as a boy to support her family, whilst working alongside a friend of hers named Shauzia. As a lead, Parvana helps drive the film forward so she can save her loved ones, and the stakes that come from living in such an oppressive country make us sympathize with her. That being said, there is a sense of optimism displayed through both her and Shauzia, as they cleverly trick the hierarchy who view them as boys. It's also neat how the filmmakers made Parvana feel relatable by displaying her home life that shows as many sibling rivalries and issues as the average family.

It's neat how even though the film details many hardships, it also has several moments of sweetness and levity. The film sporadically showcases a story told by Parvana that ends up connecting to all the events happening to her, and it does it in a way where we want to know how it all ends. In terms of dark content, the film does not shy away from displaying the violence, evil from the order and even bits of war to heighten up Parvana's desperation and risk taking. However, there are still moments of soothing relaxation, especially whenever Parvana tells her story, allowing the viewers to digest the severely tense moments. While they can interrupt the main narrative's flow sometimes, it's still cool to see the contrast between the harsh reality and uplifting fantasy displayed in this film.

Cartoon Saloon outdid themselves with their previous features in terms of animation, and this film is no exception. The overall Middle-eastern inspired designs of the film create a very stylish and angular hand-drawn feel that's become so rare to find nowadays. In addition, another notable contrast is how the film emulates reality in Parvana's state of being. In contrast, the stories she tells are presented in a more abstract and storybook illustrative aesthetic that gives one the impression they are viewing an ancient narrative. Where the real world is murky, grainy and filled with bright lights and grim shadows, the surreal worlds of the story display a very versatile amount of colors, designs and characters to utilize the much needed creativity from a storyteller.

Although by no means a happy go lucky film, The Breadwinner succeeds very well in telling a narrative through the harsh realities of growing up in a dangerous country filled with oppression and prejudice. If you haven't seen this film yet, definitely check it out. It works as a story of feminism, it works as a blend of differing mediums shown throughout different states of reality, and it especially works as a biting tale on surviving in a country filled with tyrannical cruelty. This is the kind of underrated gem that demands a larger audience, so it can go on to become a cult classic and then a beloved film by more than just animation buffs. If Cartoon Saloon keeps pushing themselves to making more unique and great content like this, I think they're in for a wonderful future.

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Release Date:

17 November 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Breadwinner See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$17,395, 19 November 2017

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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