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Where the Red Fern Grows (movie)

1 rating: 3.0
A movie directed by Norman Tokar

Based on the classic novel set during the Great Depression, this feature follows a young boy and his dogs on a struggling Oklahoma farm.

Director: Norman Tokar
Genre: Drama
Release Date: 1974
MPAA Rating: G
1 review about Where the Red Fern Grows (movie)

Where The RED Fern Grows Old Glory W/O

  • Jul 1, 2002
Pros: great family story, beautiful scenery

Cons: none

The Bottom Line: A great movie for the entire family

This 3-part write off, dreamed up by Jay1051971 & ariel10575 is to honor this weeks celebration of the RED, WHITE & BLUE. We were to write three reviews, with those words in the title.

Where The RED Fern Grows begins my journey through the trials of American families. This was an older time, when families lived together on the farm, away from town. When they sat down at the dinner table each night, together, and shared their dreams and yes, their pain. Times were extremely hard, little money to be had, but loved pulled the family together.

It's a family affair, It's a family affair. One child grows up to be Somebody that just loves To learn [1]

Billy Coleman is a young boy with a dream. Coon hounds. But they are expensive, and dad needs a new mule as well. He prays each night to God for his hounds, finally telling Grandpa (James Whitmore) he thinks God has failed him by not delivering. Grandpa explains that of course God could drop those hounds on him easy as pie, but he has to do his fair share to earn them. So Billy goes to work, hard labor for little money, eventually earning the bucks for his hounds.

This is where we realize Billy has met his first crossroad in life. Does he spend the money on the hound pups, or buy dad a new mule?

A few weeks later the pups arrive, Billy has made his decision, and he spends the entire summer training them, loving them, nurturing them. They excel at their job, compete in the end of season coon hunting contest, Billy is pleased with his choices. However, even this idyllic setting is met with several hardships along the way, which I won't divulge.

We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun But the hills we could climb were just seasons out of time [2]

Where The RED Fern Grows is a movie about sacrifices. It is also a movie about love and devotion to family values. Each family member must make some sacrifice to keep the unit contained as one. Yet, no member of the family considers what they do a sacrifice, but a commitment to the love of the family.

The music in this movie was composed by another family unit, The Osmonds, and sung by Andy Williams. All the songs were dedicated to uplifting experiences, positive values, goals well met. This would be a great movie for the entire family to snuggle down on the couch, grab a bowl of popcorn, and share together …… however, we find little of that in today’s society. Too few minutes, let alone hours, are spent in quality time as a family.

But what is the story of the RED fern? An old Indian lore, telling of dedicated lovers forced to stay apart, but defying all the rules. Anne & Dan, the lovers, meet near the river, and die (this isn’t explained, sorry) and the next spring a RED fern grows between their bodies, as a symbol of true love. Billy named his hounds Anne & Dan, after discovering the tree with the lovers named carved on it.

Acting abilities in the movie wouldn’t warrant any awards but I am ashamed to say the movie itself earned no acclaim. Even as early as 1974, when this was released, we were seeing a deterioration of the family in America, and this movie offered little to the viewing public that turned jaded eyes in its direction.

This was adapted by Eleanor Lamb, Douglas Stewart & Wilson Rawls for the screen from the novel by Wilson Rawls. Directed by Norman Tokar. Beverly Garland played the mother, Jack Ging the father, and Stewart Petersen played the part of Billy. I have never read the novel but I understand it follows fairly close in the movie.


[1] Family Affair by Sly & The Family Stone
[2] Seasons In The Sun by Rod McKuen

This Old Glory Red, White & Blue write off was dreamed up by Jay1051971 & ariel10575. The following were brave enough to try this challenge: dedemw, jeff_wilder78, Tom Barnes, Beckish, SusiDee34, Aerocat, Ned1, Bryan_carey, Donnie013 and our hosts Jay1051971 & ariel10575. It was quite the challenge.

I understand ariel10575 is devising a link to these reviews, I'll update when I receive that information. Thanks. Write Off Link:

Thanks Ariel


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