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Captains Courageous (1937)

4.8 out of 5 stars 257 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Captains Courageous (DVD) (1937)

A wealthy spoiled brat falls off an ocean liner and is rescued by a Portuguese fisherman. Forced to endure a three month voyage, he learns to love the sea and earns his place among the crew. Based on the Rudyard Kipling story, this is a timeless family adventure classic. Oscar-winner Spencer Tracy earned his first Academy Award as the fatherly fisherman. Co-starring child-star Freddie Bartholomew and Oscar-winners Lionel Barrymore Mickey Rooney and Melvyn Douglas. Directed by Oscar-winner Victor Fleming ,it was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Screenplay.

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Special Features

  • Vintage short: The Little Maestro
  • Classic cartoon: Little Buck Cheeser
  • Leo Is on the Air radio promo
  • Two theatrical trailers

Product Details

  • Actors: Freddie Bartholomew, Spencer Tracy, Lionel Barrymore, Melvyn Douglas, Charley Grapewin
  • Directors: Victor Fleming
  • Writers: Marc Connelly, John Lee Mahin, Dale Van Every
  • Producers: Louis D. Lighton
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Dubbed, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: January 31, 2006
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (257 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BYA4II
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,147 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Captains Courageous (1937)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on December 14, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I don't profess to be an experienced movie critic, but this is one of the best movies I've ever seen. A wonderful story of a spoiled rich kid who gets taught some values by a lowly Portugese fisherman. I actually thought, after reading other reviews, that this might push the hammy side of things a bit, but I was wrong. The bond that develops between the two characters - slowly at first, and then stronger as the boy Harvey learns gets attached to Manuel and starts developing into a real person - is one of the greatest 'love' stories to ever hit the silver screen. Spencer Tracy won an Oscar for his performance, and Freddie Bartholomew's performance will move you to tears.
I still am impressed by the timeless screenplay (based on the Rudyard Kipling novel), the convincing special effects (remember this movie was released in 1937). The racing scenes and the storm scenes are still completely convincing.
Why this movie has not been restored and out on DVD one will never know. On one viewing it has become one of my all time favorites. It is a real gem.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
"Captain's Courageous" is IT...the real thing....a truly great, heartfelt, classic film....arguably THE most emotionally compelling film of Hollywod's Golden Age.

Victor Fleming was known as a "MAN"S" director; so how did he produce one of the most perfectly paced, sensitive and outright BEAUTIFULLY loving "relationship" films of all time.....a story of a profound bond between a boy and a man who becomes his surrogate father? It's simply amazing.

OK...you have to overcome your initial reaction to Spencer Tracy's pseudo-"Portegoosie" (as John Carradine says) accent; after that...sit back and prepare to lose yourself in moviemaking at its finest.

Freddie Bartholomew....incredible performance! The growing bond between him and Spence....superbly wrought! The heaviness, the heartbreak of the film's final 15 minutes.....I experience it as if it were actually happening to me every time I watch it! This is one of those films that I am happy to know simply EXISTS...it's sitting there on the shelf, ready to be experienced any time, and that gives me great satisfaction.

The scene of conflict with Tracy and John Carradine....then the uncomfortable but caring bond that develops bewteen Carradine and Freddie Bartholomew near the end.....the reuniting of Freddie with Melvin Douglas....has there ever been a more revealing encounter? The final ceremony scene.....I've never been particularly moved by the hymn "Rock of Ages"; now the emotions well up when I even THINK about it.

Why Don't THEY make movies like this any longer????....BECAUSE THEY CAN'T! The world has changed..our values, our ways of viewing and expressing ourselves have become too "sophisticated" and cynical.
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This is a marvelous movie about a spoiled, insecure child who brags, manipulates, and uses his wealth & positon to feel strong & good about himself (sound like anyone you know?). After being suspended from school for his antics he is dragged to Europe to accompany his father on a business trip. En route, he accidentenly falls overboard from the oceanliner (that's how they travelled in those days - - airplane travel was new, rare and horribly expensive) and is rescued by a fisherman. He learns his lesson, matures and acquires integrity through his association with the crew of fisherman & in particular Spencer Tracy's character.

This fine cast consists of legends who give wonderful performances: John Carradine, Lionel Barrymore, Mickey Rooney, Melvyn Douglas and of course, Spencer Tracy.

The film also gives you a rare glimpse into a way of life past. Today we have huge fishing ships that net miles of fish and have the canneneries right on board. Without it being intentional, the movie shows one what life was like when people still cared about the work they did and had pride in the honest work they had accomplished. And how many of us still entertain ourselves and family by singing together and/or playing a musical instrument rather than turning to solitary pursuits with electronic machinery? I am not waxing nostalgic for the days before the advent of universal elecricity! However, the movie is a snapshot in time of a not so distant past that inspires much food for thought.

You may show this movie to your children without fear;not only is there nothing unseemly in it, it has a valuable lesson to teach us all. And it is of much better quality than any of the so-called "family films" that have been produced in the last two decades.
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I for one believe this is the best movie about men who go down to the sea in ships ever made.
Spencer Tracy is magnificent as the Portugese cod fisherman, Manuel, and deserved his Oscar for this powerful and heartwarming (and heartbreaking) role. He more or less repeated the performance, accent and all, many years later in The Old Man and the Sea, a less successful film.
The sailing and fishing scenes are true to life. You can almost smell the salt air and feel the swells on the old Grand Bank fishing ground. Excellent supporting performances by John Carradine, Lionel Barrymore and Mickey Rooney. Freddie Bartholomew is perfectly type cast as a spoiled rich kid, but Melvyn Douglas wasted in a minor part as his spoiled rich dad.
A great film for the family!
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