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Where the Red Fern Grows

3.9 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

THE TALE OF A BOY & HIS BEST FRIENDS: TWO REMARKABLE HUNTING DOGS WHO TEACH HIM ABOUT LIFE, LOYALTY & TRUST AGAINST A WILD WOODLAND BACKDROP WHERE ADVENTURE WAITS JUST AROUND THE BEND!

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Based on Wilson Rawls's 1961 novel of the same name, Where the Red Fern Grows is the touching story of a 12-year-old, Ozark mountain boy (Joseph Ashton) who wants a dog so badly he performs odd jobs for months and saves enough to get two hunting hounds. Just as he hoped, the dogs usher in a period of golden adventure and happiness. Moreover, the pets prove profitable at awards shows and courageous while fending off danger from wild animals. No story about a farm boy and his best four-legged pals is complete, however, without sacrifice and ensuing wisdom; Where the Red Fern Grows has plenty of both. This 2003 feature is co-directed by the original 1974 film's producer and screenwriter, Lyman Dayton, and while it is both efficient and emotionally effective, one might have expected this second go-round to be a bit more deeply felt. Supporting performances by Dabney Coleman and Kris Kristofferson are commendable, while Dave Matthews (yes, that Dave Matthews) has a sweet presence as the hero's kind father. --Tom Keogh

Special Features

The Roots Of A Classic -- Explore the story's journey from book to film through interviews with the author's wife and filmmakers.|Lights, Camera, Animals -- Learn how the film's animal stars were "discovered" and trained for their roles.

Product Details

  • Actors: Joseph Ashton, Dave Matthews, Renee Faia, Mac Davis, Kris Kristofferson
  • Directors: Lyman Dayton, Sam Pillsbury
  • Writers: Based Upon The Novel By Wilson Rawls, Screenplay By Doug C. Stewart And Eleanor Lamb And
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Surround Sound, Widescreen, Full Screen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 21, 2004
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002S64VO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,921 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Where the Red Fern Grows" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
My teacher read the story to me and I'll always remember it as THE book that hooked me into reading. Now, 20 years later, I read this story to my 5th graders every year and find that it hooks them as well. It is one of my students' fondest memories of 5th grade and our year together. Every one can relate to loving a special pet. I always follow up the book with the movie. Needless to say, they always say that the book is way better. I was so glad to see the new version of the movie come out on DVD. The older version always had a dark picture that was a little hard to view at times (technology issue). I watched the new version last night and must say that the book is still so much better. I guess for the sake of time, they have to leave out certain parts, but the book really spoils you. I am glad that the movie still included the spiritual aspects from the book. It reminds one to have faith and to try to meet GOD half way when asking HIM for help. So many people/movies/books fail to share this message to keep from offending people. "Hats-off" to the producers for taking a stand and including the spiritual aspects as a vital part of the story. This is a wonderful message that we should never forget. I'll continue to read and show the DVD year after year. I am really happy that I have a more updated video to show my students. If you have never read this book, I hope this review will inspire you to do so. Even if you have already seen the movie, before reading the book, you'll still be surprised throughout the story. It is truly an emotional, life-changing story. Upon reading it, you'll never forget the way it made you feel.
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Format: DVD
This wonderful book deserves much more than this movie. I was hoping for so much more, especially from Disney. It seemd to me that it was made hastily and on a tight budget...Coleman and Ned Beatty (sp?) did their part, but Dave Matthews? This story did not deserve to have an actor if his inability playing the role of the young man's father. As a young man who read this book over and over, and for a Father who was excited about having his 6 year old son watch this movie with him, I am very, very dissapointed.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
So here's the deal: As anyone who's read the book and seen the original movie knows, the original wasn't very good. Oh, it was "barely passable" but never captured the book. It was one movie that was BEGGING to be remade. Well, it was. And, as incredible as it is to believe, the remake is actually worse.

That was some feat they pulled off. I really don't understand how you could remake a movie like this and do it worse, but they managed to do so. The updated movie is widescreen and looks a bit more modern. That's about all it has going for it compared to the original.

Here's my problems with it (in no particular order):

- Pretty poor acting all the way around, but Billy's parents were the worst and neither the father or mother "feel" right for their part at all

- No establishing of any "feeling" or "connection" between Billy and his dogs at all. Considering this is a big part of the book, and at least attempted to be shown a little in the original movie, this is incredible that they could tell this story without doing this.

- No establishing of any "feeling" or "connection" between any of the characters.

- General "wussification" as I call it of life in general back then and Billy and his family specifically. This movie lacks the "ruggedness" that even the original portrayed somewhat. It's almost impossible to believe that THIS Billy Coleman could actually be skinning any raccoons given his demeanor in this new version.

- The hunting supposedly takes place at night, but most all the scenes are in daylight...

- The whole big scene with the boy dying flies so fast you can't even remotely tell what happened or experience much any feelings one way or the other in regards to it...
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Comment 8 of 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Where the Red Fern Grows has been my favorite book since my second grade teacher read it to us. Now I read it to my 5th grade class. The original movie was very disappointing, as it did not follow the book. I have always hoped that the movie would be remade and remain true to the book. Such was my anticipation when I bought the 2004 release. Unfortunately, this version has the same bastardizations as the original movie and other facets that make it difficult to enjoy. For example, most of the hunting is done in the daytime, even though the narration says it is night. Like the original movie, Billy does not win the coon hunt outright, but rather the real winner declares Billy the winner and gives the trophy and money to him. Many of the highlights of the book are left out, which I can understand due to time constraints, but why can't we get a movie of Where the Red Fern Grows that makes some attempt to remain true to the book?
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Format: DVD
I think the biggest problem with this movie is the casting. The actress who plays the supposed mother living in the middle of nowhere looks like a model, and has very odd and awkward expressions. The gentleman who plays the father acts poorly, the young man who plays the lead character feels much older than he is supposed to be, and plays the part a bit too goody goody for believability. The only part well played in the movie is the part played by Dabney Coleman. This movie feels like a cheap made for TV movie, which is a real shame given the pedigree of the book to which it represents.
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