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Old Yeller review

Check out our review of Old Yeller - a Disney classic, based on Fred Gipson’s novel

Old Yeller

Old Yeller

Certificate: U

Starring: Dorothy McGuire, Tommy Kirk

Release date: 1957

4 out of 5


Fans of Friends may remember that Old Yeller is the movie Phoebe’s mother turned off before the end so Phoebe would think it had a happy ending. It’s a Disney classic, based on Fred Gipson’s novel, but it’s not for the faint-hearted – strong men have been known to melt into heaps of blubbering mush by the movie’s end.

Set in 1860s Texas, it’s the story of a boy named Travis (Kirk, who’s wonderful) who lives on the family ranch with his mother (McGuire) and brother while their father goes off on a cattle drive. When a yellow dog wanders onto the ranch, Travis adopts him and has a series of adventures with the mutt he names Old Yeller.

It’s a very old-fashioned story about a boy and his dog that has been imitated many times. But this remains the best, even if the ending (don’t read any further if you don’t already know) is the most upsetting family movie moment ever – even worse than the death of Bambi’s mum.

Is Old Yeller suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...

Be warned – children (and adults) will be extremely upset when Yeller is bitten by a wolf, and what it leads to at the end of the movie.

If you like this, why not try: National Velvet, My Friend Flicka, The Yearling, Andre, Free Willy,