Parents' Guide to

Where the Red Fern Grows

By Scott G. Mignola, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Moving version of the classic novel.

Movie G 1974 97 minutes
Where the Red Fern Grows Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 9+

Book is better

We just finished the book as a summer read-aloud (and yes, all three of us cried at the end) and I had found the movie at a yard sale so we watched it tonight. I was surprised to hear a "d--n" and "h--l" several times in a G rated movie, especially circa 1974. These are in the book, too, but since I was reading it out loud, I replaced them with a more acceptable term. We were expecting the violence (which in my opinion is much more graphically described in the book than shown in the movie) and sad ending so that was OK. As is usually the case, the book is faaaar more descriptive and you are in Billy's head much more than came across in the movie. A lot is omitted and some scenes are changed completely, including the great coon hunt ending. But enjoyable - just wanted to point out the couple of bad words that are not mentioned on this site :)
age 7+

Such a cute film for kids & adults alike!

This is such a wonderful story for kids! It really brings back memories from my childhood when my mom would sit three of us down on afternoons to watch this delightful film. I must have been 7 when I first saw this and I cried like a baby toward the end! It is very very very sad but too good not to let your young ones watch. It's about responsibility, growing up, making choices and following your dreams, even if it means hard work to get there. Billy is a very good role model and faces the same situations as we do today - bullying and fitting in. There are a lot of good messages and lessons throughout. Violence has some brief bullying and peer pressure, a kid dies when he falls on an axe, some mild fighting (pushing and shoving) between boys, animal attacks and deaths. The language is very mild. No sexy stuff and no smoking that I recall. Just a wonderfully clean 70's flick for any family to watch together!!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (12 ):

If the performances seem a bit over-starched at times, they never fail to do their job. Like the acting, the songs (written by the Osmonds and performed with utmost sincerity by Andy Williams) are obviously of another era. Adults may find it amusing to hear Williams crooning about running free as the wind while Billy adoringly trains his pups, but they'll be touched in spite of themselves. It's just that kind of a movie.

Based on the Wilson Rawls novel, set in the Ozarks of the 1930s, the film is about a place where people are good to one another, during a time when hard work and compassion are rewarded. But there's a deeper layer as well, which slowly unravels to expose a boy struggling toward adulthood, grappling with the large issues of life and death and the heartaches that lie in between.

Movie Details

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