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Parents' Guide to

The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin

By Tom Cassidy, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 7+

Disney Old West slapstick adventure has outdated depictions.

Movie NR 1967 108 minutes
The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 1 parent review

age 8+

Completely different than the novel

As a film, this is a mediocre Western comedy, with a bit too much slapstick violence, and some racially insensitive characters and scenes. As an adaptation of a novel (By the Great Horn Spoon!), it is a great example of what not to do. Many of the book's positive messages about putting others first, hard work, and honesty are lost in the film version, which also introduces crude and cruel racial stereotypes. The sets and costumes are much more appropriate for a generic 1870s-1880s Western than the Gold Rush era that is supposed to be the setting. I use this film in my 4th grade class, because it has a lot of differences form the book, whioch makes it easier for them to write essays contrasting the way the story is depicted in film, versus print.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (1 ):

The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin is a solid children's Western with inspired comic flourishes that occasionally overreaches with some other aspects of its humor. The sped-up action sequences in particular make the film feel dated. The movie builds on the Western craze from the '50s and '60s that saw cowboys on movie theater and TV screens every week, which sets the stage for the adventure to unfold. McDowell is charming as Griffin, the proud and loyal butler who is devoted to his work, while Malden is devilish as Judge Higgins. There are a few surprises along the way, and the story is for the most part well paced, with animated cutscenes and a narrative song to fill in time gaps. That pace slows toward the end of the movie and the climactic boxing match starts to drag.

It's a spirited movie, though, and attractive too, with lavish costumes and sets complementing the dedicated cast's enthusiastic performances across the board. Suzanne Pleshette in particular gives a great performance as the headstrong and independent Arabella Flagg. While the movie has, in recent times, been edited to remove some culturally insensitive references, two remain. Although they are integral to the plot, they do the movie no favors in feeling old and out of step with what's acceptable today. While it's not an essential movie -- see our Westerns for Kids and Teens list for the best in the genre -- it is a sturdy, easy-to-watch adventure.

Movie Details

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