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The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story

4.7 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Boys: The Sherman Brothers’ Story is an intimate journey through the lives of Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman, the astoundingly prolific, Academy Award®-winning songwriting team that defined family musical entertainment for five decades with unforgettable songs like “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocous” from Mary Poppins, “I Wanna Be Like You” from The Jungle Book and the most translated song ever written "It’s a Small World (After All)" from the Disneyland attraction.  The feature-length documentary, conceived, produced and directed by two of the songwriters’ sons, take audiences behind the scenes of the Hollywood magic factory and offers a rate glimpse of a unique creative process at work.  It also explores a deep and longstanding rift that has kept the brothers personally estranged throughout much of their unparalleled professional partnership


What songwriters' tunes have been covered by John Coltrane, Annette Funicello, Ringo Starr, Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Louis Prima, and Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, among others? Consider yourself an expert if your answer is Robert and Richard Sherman, whose long, fruitful, and often contentious partnership is chronicled in The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story. The fact that this documentary by directors Jeff and Gregory Sherman (sons of Robert and Richard, respectively) was released under the imprimatur of the Walt Disney Company, for whom "the Boys" did their most renowned work, is an indication that this isn't exactly a hard-hitting exposé; although the estrangement between Bob and Dick, as they were known, isn't ignored ("We perpetrated a façade for 50 years," says one), far more attention is given to the music. That's precisely as it should be. Talking heads like Van Dyke, Andrews, Randy Newman, Ben Stiller, and Hayley Mills help tell the tale of lyricist Bob and composer Dick, who were themselves the sons of a successful songwriter, Al Sherman. They began writing together in the early '50s, scored a hit with Funicello's "Tall Paul" late in that decade (Annette is also seen here singing "Monkey's Uncle," backed by none other than the Beach Boys), and soon became staff writers for Walt Disney. Major successes followed, including an Oscar-winning score for Mary Poppins and songs for The Jungle Book, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and others; they also wrote pop hits like "You're Sixteen" (a hit for Ringo in the '70s), and can take credit (or blame, depending on one's point of view) for "It's a Small World," one of the planet's most ubiquitous songs. The documentary has its flaws--it's overlong at 102 minutes, and the brothers' eventual estrangement, which continues to this day, is attributed to their opposite personalities (Bob, who served in World War II, is quieter and more dour than his volatile younger brother) but not really explained. Still, the music, and there's lots of it, is very well handled, especially in a terrific bonus feature called "Sherman Brothers Jukebox," which details the creation of several Sherman classics. --Sam Graham

Special Features

• Why They're "The Boys"
• Disney Studios in the '60s
• Casting Mary Poppins
• Theme Parks – A look at their theme park music songbook and how they went about composing a song for a ride
• Roy Williams - A Disney Animator and also famous for being on the original Mickey Mouse Club, we learn through his artwork some of the stories of what it was like to work in the Animation Building in the 1960’s
• Bob's Art:  A look at Bob Sherman’s other passion, his artwork
• Celebration:  Testimonials from celebrities and Hollywood legends
• Sherman Brother’s Jukebox:  A collection of Sherman Brothers songs and the stories behind them including: “Tall Paul”, “Chim Chim Cher-ee”, “Feed the Birds”, “There's A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow”, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, and more

Product Details

  • Actors: Robert B. Sherman, Richard M. Sherman
  • Directors: Jeffrey C. Sherman, Gregory V. Sherman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 30, 2010
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003TVTRY2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,379 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie in the theater and plan on purchasing the DVD for the ability to watch it again and again and for the bonus features which appear plentiful. The set up of Richard Sherman as the light weight,melody minded Paul McCartney type and Robert as the more thoughtful and brooding John Lennon type who carries the trauma of war throughout his career came across as a bit contrived and not matching the record if one cares to investigate further.

There is no doubt that these two amazing artists , Richard the musician and wordsmith and Robert, his lyrical foil, have contributed more catchy and wonderful tunes than almost any other pair in recent history. The music of the Sherman Brothers is deceptively simple and quite intelligent. There is an excellent 2 cd set available on Amazon.com which highlights their music and a recent guitar tribute Poppin' Guitars : A Tuneful of Sherman (CD/DVD) also available on Amazon.com which also demonstrates that even without lyrics their tunes are ridiculously memorable.

If you are a fan of classic Disney scores and or great song writing I'd recommend this movie...just realize that dramatic license is taken in the story which was most likely the only way it could be sold ...sad that their amazing volume of work wasn't enough on its own. The score is also very emotional and features Richard M Sherman on piano ...much of this score can be heard on his recently released CDForgotten Dreams which I would also recommend.
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Format: DVD
Even if everyone doesn't know their names, very few people are ignorant to the musical magic that the Sherman Brothers, Richard & Robert (aka "The Boys") have created over the last 50 years or so. Best known for their Disney work ("Mary Poppins," "Bedknobs & Broomsticks," "The Parent Trap"), they also have a healthy repertoire of non-Disney musical hits ("Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," "Charlotte's Web," "Tom Sawyer"). Despite the upbeat catchy tunes they have crafted over the years, the two brothers have always had somewhat of a rift between them. Produced by Richard & Robert's sons, Gregory & Jeffrey Sherman, it was hoped that the estrangement would end as a result. Even though it doesn't appear to have accomplished that task, this documentary is an excellent inside look at how the two developed into one of the most successful songwriting teams.

It is an emotional journey as the brothers tell firsthand about their differences, their experiences with their mother and dad (also a songwriter), their time in the War, and their special relationship with Walt Disney. The deep emotion in their remembrances will make it difficult to keep the tear ducts dry, and the heartfelt tales told by Dick Van Dyke, Julie Andrews, Debbie Reynolds, Hayley Mills, and Roy Disney (just to name a few) convey how thoughtful the two were in the creative process and how beloved they are in the industry.

Through vintage movie clips and photos that are creatively presented (old photos have been crafted in such a way as to appear layered and three dimensional), this movie is also a visual treat.

And the extras? Quite a few to choose from and just as interesting as the documentary itself! Inside the DVD case is a print of the original song sheet for "Tuppence A Bag," later renamed "Feed The Birds.
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Format: DVD
I saw this documentary when it was in too-limited release two summers ago. I have been a lifelong Disney fan which of course means that the Sherman Brothers have been a huge part of my constitution since I saw "Mary Poppins" when I was three years old.

Most Baby Boomers consider the music and songs of the Sherman Brothers as the soundtrack of our childhood, and I distinctly recall playing my Disney Song Collection LP (purchased with a tank of gas at Gulf!) and can still rattle off the order of the song line up. And 95% of the songs were written and composed by the Sherman Brothers.

"the boys" gives fans of this talented duo an intimate look into what took place behind the scenes of not only their years at Disney but in their personal lives as well. I was surprised at just how SAD this story is; we all grew up hearing such happiness come from these talented siblings, but what happened when they weren't collaborating on their music on the Disney lot will really astound any fan who believes that Richard and Robert's lives have always been as sweet and simple as "a spoon full of sugar."

Adding to the depth of this interesting bio-pic are the original tunes composed by Richard M. Sherman (short-sightedly considered the light-weight "Tigger" of the duo). Haunting, melodic, and a way for him to break away from the happy-go-lucky music with which he's always associated, if you are a fan of the Shermans, you absolutely must hear the album of these never-before heard melodies played by this deep soul. I was SO pleased to discover that these songs were available on their own on the wonderful CD, "Forgotten Dreams."
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The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story
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