The Yearling

  • Review Date: January 11, 2005
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1946
  • Running Time: 128 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Thoughtful adaptation of the prize-winning novel.
  • Review Date: January 11, 2005
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1946
  • Running Time: 128 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence & scariness

Bear and dog fight, fistfights, Pa bitten by snake, deer shot (offscreen)

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has a few tense and sad scenes that may upset younger or more sensitive kids, but overall it's a fine family film. A young boy dies, and a mother shoots her son's pet deer.

Parents say

Kids say

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What's the story?

This quiet, thoughtful, visually striking adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings covers a year in the life of the Baxter family, post-Civil War settlers in remote Florida. The focus is on Jody (Claude Jarman, Jr.), 12, who loves animals and wants a pet. Pa Baxter (Gregory Peck) is warm and understanding. Ma (Jane Wyman) seems harsh and rigid, but only because she has been so devastated by the loss of three children. The only other boy around frail Fodderwing, who Jody loves to visit. Over Ma's objections, Pa lets Jody keep a young deer as a pet, and Jody goes to Fodderwing to ask him to name the deer. Fodderwing has died, but his father tells Jody he once said that if he had a deer, he would name it Flag. Jody does everything he can to keep Flag, even building a fence to keep him out of the corn crop, which is essential to the family's livelihood. But Flag cannot stop eating the crop and has to be destroyed. Ma shoots him, and then Jody has to put him out of his misery. Jody runs away, but returns.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

THE YEARLING is a classic story of loss, not just of a beloved pet, but of the innocence and freedom of childhood that Flag symbolizes. Pa says to Jody: "Every man wants life to be a fine thing, and easy. Well, it's fine, son, powerful fine. But it ain't easy. I want life to be easier for you than it was for me....A man's heart aches seeing his young 'uns face the world knowing that they got to have their insides tore out the way his was tore." All parents want to protect their children this way. And yet, all parents realize that having one's "insides tore out" is a necessary part of growing up, that no one ever learns how to make responsible choices without these painful experiences. Pa tells Jody that life is "gettin', losin', gettin', losin'."

In the last moment of the film, as in the book, the boy and the deer run off together in Jody's imagination. In part, this means that Jody's innocence is gone with the deer. But it also means that a precious part of his spirit, the part that loved the deer so deeply, will be with him always, and will be a part of everything that he does.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about who "the yearling" is. What do you think of Pa's strategy for trading his dog for a gun? What did he mean when he later said that his words were straight, but his intentions were crooked? What do Jody's friends Fodderwing and Oliver tell you about him? Why was it hard for Ma to show affection? How can you tell? How was Jody different when he came back home?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 18, 1946
DVD release date:September 3, 2002
Cast:Claude Jarman Jr., Gregory Peck, Jane Wyman
Director:Clarence Brown
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Drama
Run time:128 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of The Yearling was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 9 year old Written byerich April 9, 2008
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Great story, superbly acted

This is a very moving film, superbly acted. There are controversial aspects, for example, the mother's social disapproval of the Forresters, the family nearest the Baxters. Undoubtedly because of my own experience, the aspect of this film most moving for me was the mother's inability to show affection for her son. Pa says, "Don't be afraid to love the boy, Ma." This theme was lost on my young son; I doubt pre-adolescent people can begin to understand the experiences which have resulted in her seeming harshness to her son.
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Awesome Old Time Moive (If You Like Kind of That Stuff)

It was a great story but boring at some parts. All in all, pretty much all ages would enjoy this movie.

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