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The Reluctant Dragon

Released Jan 2, 1941 1h 12m Kids & Family Fantasy List
100% Tomatometer 5 Reviews 65% Audience Score 1,000+ Ratings
Excited at the idea of producing a film about a children's book, humorist Robert Benchley visits the Walt Disney Studio to offer the idea. At the studio, Benchley evades an enthusiastic young tour guide and, wandering about the lot, goes into a drawing class. He then visits a soundstage, where he watches a couple recording a song, unaware they provide voices for famous cartoon characters. Benchley later visits the camera stage and then the animation department, where he discovers a surprise. Read More Read Less
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Critics Reviews

View All (5) Critics Reviews
Alan Ng Film Threat Any fan of the Disney of yesteryear will love The Reluctant Dragon despite its questionable and outdated cultural references. Rated: 8/10 Nov 23, 2021 Full Review Mike Massie Gone With The Twins Every second is hilarious, using the limitless boundaries of animation to stretch reality, plausibility, and reasoning for extra laughs. Rated: 8/10 Aug 14, 2020 Full Review Brian Costello Common Sense Media Excellent glimpse into how animation was made in the '40s. Rated: 4/5 Jan 14, 2014 Full Review Austin Kennedy Film Geek Central This isn't really so much a movie as it is just an excuse to show the movie-going audience some of what goes into making an animated film. And you know what? That's absolutely fine by me. Rated: 3/4 Apr 18, 2013 Full Review Tim Brayton Antagony & Ecstasy One of the most fascinating, irregular curios in all the cobwebby corners of Disney history. Rated: 7/10 Nov 9, 2010 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (70) audience reviews
Dale R I did enjoy this movie for what it was: a story wrapped around an educational movie about how Disney creates their animated movies. I wish they would do this again in modern times as the process has changed a lot over the past 70+ years. Cute story, fair acting, some classic Disney animation, check it out if you're curious. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 08/28/23 Full Review Jacob B While undermined by an animators' strike that was going on at the time and, as is to be expected from a product of the 1940's, has outdated imagery with stereotypical racial caricatures and the titular character behaving in an annoying camp gay fashion The Reluctant Dragon, technically Disney's first live-action film, is a cute, if short, film. There isn't much of a plot to speak of and everything is staged in an audience-friendly presentation but it is interesting to see how the animation process worked back in the day and the cartoons we see throughout are enjoyable. They're drawn well and are quite funny though I wouldn't be lying if I said that I preferred the Goofy cartoon over the one which is supposed to be the main focus. The actual Reluctant Dragon short isn't bad, just rather basic and I can understand why Walt Disney didn't turn it into a feature film since, even with the artistic liberties they usually take with pre-existing source material, I suspect the original book barely had enough material to cover 15-20 minutes. Make no mistake, this was made for financial purposes - to recoup the losses of Pinocchio and Fantasia - but at least this tried a different approach going for a pseudo-documentary style unlike modern Disney which tends to hide behind safe projects that won't damage the brand's image. While not a massive gamble, it still felt like something daring although I probably wouldn't go as far as to call it a risky endeavour. Also, on one final note, amusing to learn that Disney beat Pixar to the punch decades before with in-film sneak peeks for their upcoming projects with a scene dedicated to making an animation cel for the then-upcoming Bambi. Probably would've been hyped if it weren't for the growing threat of WWII and sooner or later, America couldn't stay on the sidelines any longer. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 07/17/23 Full Review Fernando Cedillo Esta película realmente no tiene elementos para resaltar, es una película más basada en un libro, no tiene algo que realmente impacte dentro de la historia, claro que tiene un mensaje muy lindo e importante pero la verdad esta es el tipo de películas que las llegas a ver una o dos veces en la vida y ya, se me hace difícil encontrar alguien que la conozca y más difícil encontrar alguien que le encante la película, a ver, no es mala pero la verdad es que no tiene algo relevante aparte del muy bonito mensaje que tiene. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 05/26/23 Full Review Audience Member An enjoyable film of shorts, the documentary tour of the Walt Disney Animation Studio, and interacting with the Disney Animators. I would recommend watching this film for Animation Fans/Enthusiasts. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/18/23 Full Review aarjun l this is a behind of the scences of disney movies. it very informative on how they used to create films. i did not enjoy the whole skit of him avoiding the tour guide Rated 1.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Pretty good Disney movie that's virtually been forgotten. It almost plays like a documentary, but it's a unique look at how the animation studio works. I doubt the studio was really this carefree at the height of the animator's strike, but it's still an entertaining movie. Would definitely recommend to any diehard Disney fan, which is probably the only way you would have heard about this movie in the first place. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/16/23 Full Review Read all reviews
The Reluctant Dragon

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Cast & Crew

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Movie Info

Synopsis Excited at the idea of producing a film about a children's book, humorist Robert Benchley visits the Walt Disney Studio to offer the idea. At the studio, Benchley evades an enthusiastic young tour guide and, wandering about the lot, goes into a drawing class. He then visits a soundstage, where he watches a couple recording a song, unaware they provide voices for famous cartoon characters. Benchley later visits the camera stage and then the animation department, where he discovers a surprise.
Director
Alfred L. Werker
Distributor
RKO Radio Pictures
Production Co
Walt Disney Productions
Genre
Kids & Family, Fantasy
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Jan 2, 1941, Limited
Release Date (Streaming)
Mar 1, 2013
Runtime
1h 12m
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