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Paddle to the Sea (The Criterion Collection)

4.6 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Based on Holling C. Holling s beloved Caldecott-awarded children s book, William Mason s stunning film follows the adventures of a tiny, wood-carved canoe as it forges its own path from Lake Superior through the Great Lakes and down to the Atlantic Ocean. Buoyed by beautiful photography and a sense of true wonder about the sun, Earth, and water, the Academy Award nominated Paddle to the Sea is an unforgettable tribute to the forces of the natural world, as well as a thrilling journey across the waves and rapids of North America.

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Paddle to the Sea, the short film named after the carved wooden toy boat it tracks through various waterways from Canada to the Atlantic Ocean, is Canadian director William Mason's sweet homage to the 1940s children's book. Like The Red Balloon, Paddle To The Sea folklorically portrays a toy's journey, with a bit of added personification since the whittled boat contains a stoic Native American man carved into its seat. The film begins in a Nipogon log cabin, where a boy laments releasing his newly crafted artwork but soon realizes that setting his toy free is the only way to enliven it. After pouring molten lead into the boat's base to encourage its floating upright, and writing "I am Paddle to the Sea: Please Put Me Back in the Water" on the boat's underside, he drops the boat into a snowy stream and hopes someday it will reach the ocean. Beyond the film's wise message of non-attachment, wonderment is sustained throughout while trying to guess how Mason managed to track this swift-sailing canoe down river rapids, through industrially polluted waterways, and even over Niagara Falls. Fortuitous shots of animals investigating the boat as if to eat it seem almost pre-planned. Cameras strapped onto rafts, lowered down cliffs by rope, and more enabled the director to follow the toy in close-up, as if he were filming a wildlife documentary. Narrated from an omniscient point of view by a man with a soothing storyteller's voice, Paddle to the Sea is a lullaby to tranquility that entertains with simple charm and clever wit. --Trinie Dalton

Special Features

  • Restored high definition digital transfer

Product Details

  • Actors: Paddle to the Sea
  • Directors: Bill Mason
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • 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: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: April 29, 2008
  • Run Time: 30 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0012Z362G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,675 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Paddle to the Sea (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
As an English teacher, I am so sorry to read the negative reviews of the two young people. I am in awe of Hollingsworth's ability to tell a good story for students. I own his books, albeit worn and well-read, and I am buying this film for my grandson, so I hope it is the one I saw when I was doing my PHD in children's literature in the early 1970. I have never forgotten the story. Perhaps our young people today are used to blood and guts, and fail to understand there is sweetness in life, too. I love Paddle to the Sea.
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Format: DVD
"Paddle to the Sea" is the story of a carving of an Indian in a canoe that is placed in the snows of upper Lake Superior, and which has as its goal reaching the Atlantic ocean. A legend written on the carving asks that anyone who finds him please put him back in the water. His passage through lakes, locks, and rivers is depicted in scenes of great beauty alternating with scenes of industrialization and pollution. Whether or not Paddle to the Sea will make it keeps arising as an issue, and the original beauty of the carving degrades as it traverses seemingly insurmountable barriers. This is a movie that MOVES you... an emotional experience as gripping as any, done with simplicity and without dialogue. It should not be missed.
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Format: VHS Tape
I love this video! I borrowed it from the local library and we don't want to take it back so I decided to buy it. My son and I have watched it every day for a week. It is so beautiful. It takes you into a magical world. It is so much better than the flashy cartoons you get so often. This is the best kids video we have ever found. I wish it weren't so expensive. This video will delight you if you have any sense of the beauty of nature and the magic world of a child's imagination.
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Format: DVD
This is the kind of film that works its way into your subconscious. A boy carves a small wooden canoe with one wooden passenger...an all-watchful Native American...and sends the small craft into a frozen lake so that it can journey thousands of miles to the ocean. To keep the canoe afloat, the boy pours a bar of lead into the bottom of the canoe. "I am Paddle to the Sea" the boat tells us. The film tracks its journey past frogs, deer, and snakes, past ice and storm, even past the rushing currents of Niagara Falls. A few individuals fish it out of the water but on seeing the instructions (carved on the bottom of the boat) they wisely return the craft back into the lake or stream from whence it came. Thus, the canoe returns to its mysterious source. This is a fine contemplative film that makes us meditate on our own personal journeys, our own attachments, and our own connection to the living world (After all, the canoe started out as part of a tree). In a 21st century world where too many children's films are violent or meaningless, this is a perfect gift for youngsters five and upwards.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Only one of the best movies of all time for kids that went to elementary school in the 80s. I remember this movie as it was played on the original 16 mm film. Also, the book is a great addition to this and is fun to read with your kids. I recommend picking that up.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This little film is just really fun to watch. I love the idea behind it, and teachers using it in the classroom will want to either read the book to their students first, or explain the premise, as the narration in the film is quite subtle regarding the boy's illness and why he himself cannot 'paddle to the sea.' Very young kids will appreciate all the animals that interact with the canoe, and the film presents the opportunity to segue into science or history or geography lessons.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Having first met Paddle to the Sea in print as a child, and having been fascinated by it, I felt this was a true interpretation and faithful to the book. I would introduce the child first to the book and then to the DVD.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I grew up attending elementary school in Milan, Michigan in the early 1970s. Once a year, our class would pack into our tiny cafeteria to see a classic filmstrip: Paddle-to-the-Sea. This short film has been restored way better than I ever got to experience it back then. An excellent teaching primer, and just enjoyable to reminisce to. I've shared it with my daughter, who is now in first grade, and she really enjoyed it.
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