Old Yeller

Old Yeller

4.0 2
Director: Robert Stevenson

Cast: Dorothy McGuire, Fess Parker, Tommy Kirk


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Based on the novel by Fred Gipson, the story is set in Texas in 1869. While his father is away on a cattle drive, 15-year-old Tommy Kirk takes over management of the family farm. Adopting a "strictly business" policy, Kirk is irritated when younger brother Moochie Corcoran adopts a frisky stray dog. But


Based on the novel by Fred Gipson, the story is set in Texas in 1869. While his father is away on a cattle drive, 15-year-old Tommy Kirk takes over management of the family farm. Adopting a "strictly business" policy, Kirk is irritated when younger brother Moochie Corcoran adopts a frisky stray dog. But soon Kirk is as fond of the dog as everyone else in the family; moreover, "Old Yeller" is an excellent watchdog. But while fighting off a mad wolf, Yeller is infected with rabies. Though Yeller seems unaffected at first, he eventually behaves so viciously that the disheartened Kirk has no choice but to shoot the dog. A heart-to-heart talk between Kirk and his returning father (Fess Parker), coupled with the adoption of a new pup, paves the way to an emotional but reasonably happy ending. Earning $8 million domestically on its first release, Old Yeller convinced Walt Disney to devote more and more time to live-action films and less time to animation-which at the time was a sagacious business move. In 1963, Disney released a lesser sequel to Old Yeller titled Savage Sam.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Amy Robinson
One of the great boy-and-his-dog yarns, this Disney classic has moved generations of children and adults to tears with its legendary conclusion. The story, based on a novel by Fredrick B. Gipson, concerns a frontier lad (Tommy Kirk) who develops a kinship with a stray mutt as he attempts to carry out his absent father's responsibilities. The horror of rabies and the vulnerability of a mother and two young boys living alone on a remote homestead lend a hint of darkness to this otherwise buoyant coming-of-age tale. Veteran performers Fess Parker and Dorothy McGuire acquit themselves nicely as the loving parents (particularly the delicate McGuire), but the kids carry the film. Future teen idol Kirk was at his most endearing here, cute without being cloying, and convincing as a child forced to accept an adult role for which he is not sure he's ready. And, of course, there is Old Yeller himself. One of the screen's most charismatic canines, he cocks his head and fights bears in a manner that will forever win the hearts of young viewers.
All Movie Guide
Old Yeller is one of the best-loved live-action features ever made by the Walt Disney Company. Unabashedly weepy, the film is genuine enough to have become a family classic. Director Robert Stevenson coaxes some fine performances from his cast and does an admirable job recreating farm life in the mid-1800s. The film inspired a number of copycats, and its influence can still be felt in almost any movie that prominently features an animal. Disney began to move away from animation after the success of 1950's Treasure Island; Yeller was one of many live-action hits directed by Stevenson, including Kidnapped, The Absent-Minded Professor, and, most notably, Mary Poppins. Yeller spawned an inferior sequel, Savage Sam, featuring much of the same cast but a different director.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Walt Disney Video

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Dorothy McGuire Katie Coates
Fess Parker Jim Coates
Tommy Kirk Travis Coates
Kevin Corcoran Arliss Coates
Chuck Connors Burn Sanderson
Jeff York Bud Searcy
Beverly Washburn Lisbeth Searcy
Spike Old Yeller

Technical Credits
Robert Stevenson Director
William Anderson Associate Producer
Charles P. Boyle Cinematographer
Gertrude Casey Costumes/Costume Designer
Carroll Clark Art Director
Jerome Courtland Songwriter
Walt Disney Producer
Gil George Songwriter
Fred Gipson Screenwriter
Stanley E. Johnson Editor
Chuck Keehne Costumes/Costume Designer
Emile Kuri Set Decoration/Design
Fred MacLean Set Decoration/Design
Pat McNalley Makeup
William Tunberg Screenwriter
Clifford Vaughan Musical Direction/Supervision
Oliver Wallace Score Composer

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Old Yeller 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Old Yeller' is the heart-wrenching family drama about two brothers, Travis (Tommy Kirk) and Arliss Coates (Kevin Corcoran) and their faithful golden retriever - Yeller. When the boys¿ father, Jim (Fess Parker) leaves on an expedition, mother Katie (Dorothy McGuire) becomes the head of the household. This is one of Disney¿s first attempts at capturing the great outdoors and vitality of the old frontier plains and it is one of their enduring live action masterpieces. Arliss is always getting into trouble ¿ engaging wild bears and skunks and other critter in the brush, only to be saved in the nick of time by Yeller. However, when Yeller contracts rabies it is left up to Travis to do the humane thing and put his best friend out of misery. Upon its initial release the film did phenomenal box office. And there are still those who get a lump in their throats and a tear in their eye when this heartbreaking family drama and coming of age flick is mentioned in mixed company. Unfortunately for DVD-philes, this isn't Disney's best despite being advertised as part of their new 2-disc ¿Vault Disney¿ series. In fact, visually it's not even close to what a film like 'Old Yeller' truly deserves. For starters, the print used to master this DVD is very softly focused while still managing to be riddled with edge enhancement, aliasing and shimmering of fine details. There's a lot of pixelization throughout that really breaks up fine detail. Color is poorly balanced, betraying the lushness of many of the outdoor scenes, with greens, in grass and trees shifting color from brownish beige to muddy beige and then back again. Flesh tones are never natural but appear too, too orange. Fine detail is generally lost in the darker scenes. The audio has been remixed to stereo but is very, very strident and forward sounding. At times it¿s painful on the ears and really doesn't hold in comparison to the fidelity of the period. Disney does gets top marks for their supplemental materials. We get documentaries, isolated scores, vintage advertising and short subjects, a gallery of stills, trailers and television spots and interviews with the surviving cast members. What more could anybody ask for? A better print of the film, sadly!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The is one of the best and sadest movies I have ever watched!