Song of the South - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Song of the South Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ June 9, 2011
Considering the reputation this film holds, I compliment it with revealing that it's not as racist as one expects. Oh, there's no disputing that the insensitivity of the Disney Corporation in making this film wasn't apparent, just that it couldn't possibly be worse than anyone could expect. Based on the tales of Uncle Remus, the logic behind making this film is apparent: a folksy old man tells tales of hilarity to a socially disadvantaged youth. In simple terms, this is cute and kitschy as any other Disney live action film, but making it about slavery in the Antebellum South and adding in the cute as it went along made for a confusing and racially deplorable film watching experience. There is so much wrong in this film: the slave/master relationship is not a dramatic and abusive toil, but a pleasant exchange. There's even a scene where the Uncle Remus goes against his mistresses' orders and asks if she's mad at him, to which she replies, "I could never be mad at you, you old coot!" Because we all know slave owners were respectable and understanding folks. Another incredulous moment came when Uncle Remus leaves the plantation forever and while the misguided boy runs after him, the owner sadly watches it all happen. The live action, overall, was disgusting. As for the cartoons incorporated, they weren't all that spectacular, and the animal characters could easily have been copy/pasted from Robin Hood, but with worse quality and voice actors who were obviously portraying stereotypical black characters. Worse was a sequence one can only title "Tar Baby" which made me flinch all the way through. It hurt to see, and I only gave as many stars as I did for the one redeeming value, "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah," a mellifluous song that Disney can claim credit for.
Super Reviewer
January 23, 2010
As this film was meant for children, and seeing as how I'm an adult AND a history graduate student, it was really hard for me to watch this film objectively. Anything related to racism, hurt stereotypes, and the like, can be attirbuted to when this film was released, and the time period it depicts. Regardles though, it's still pretty dated by modern standards, but any "offensiveness" is purely relative. The story is well intended, and fun, and filled with fantasy, but that's the problem. This film is segregation through the eyes of Disney, meaning that it is not only watered down, but candy coated in the extreme. If this movie is to be considered offensive, then it would be on the grounds that it totally fucks up how it portrays history due to the agenda of the filmmakers. I can only tolerate such a thing for so long. I enjoyed the film, for the most part, but it was hard for me to care really about everything. I did like the blending of animation and live action though. If I'm not mistaken, this was one of, if not the earliest, film to blend the two, so in that regard, it has some merit, but as I said, even though I should just shut up and enjoy, it's really hard to do that when you spent most of your time in classes where they teach you to scrutinize.
Super Reviewer
January 12, 2009
Wonderful Disney classic that has become hard to find due to the contemptible specter of political correctness.
Super Reviewer
December 27, 2008
i love it its a great childrens story lovely and so innocent!
Super Reviewer
July 16, 2007
I will never understand why Disney classified this film as racist. It's a wonderful family film that teaches life lessons as well as entertains. As far as the slavery issue goes...well, it happened! I'd rather my kids glean their first idea of slavery from a Disney film then say, Roots!
Super Reviewer
July 14, 2007
Great mix of animated animals and live action, but that's only a small portion of the movie. The remainder is live action, with a whiney little plantation boy hanging out with good old Uncle Remus, against his parents' wishes. Oprah needs to recommend this movie on her show; then it will get released. The songs were great. Favorite Tune: Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, of course! It's pure magic.
Super Reviewer
½ November 4, 2007
This movie is artistically beautiful and contains some of the finest actors of the time including child star Bobby Driscoll who was the voice of Peter Pan and academy award winning Hattie McDaniel who acted alongside the likes of Clarke Gable, Shirley Temple, and Vivien Leigh. This story is all about Uncle Remus, a wise, kindhearted storyteller who befriends a little white boy named Johnny. Johnny feels mistreated and neglected but Uncle Remus gives him something to live for and becomes a father figure to him since his daddy has left him. When he tells stories that revolve around the trickster Br'er Rabbit who outwits Br'er Fox and slow-witted Br'er Bea, the children hang on his every word. These stories are moral fables that have been passed down from generations of black history and can be traced all the way back to Africa.

This movie was heart-warming with many tender parts, especially at the end when Johnny's family is reunited. There is an especially moving part when Johnny wakes up from being bed-ridden and sees Uncle Remus, taking his hand to hold it.

It's a crying shame that I wasn't allowed to see this movie growing up. I was born only one year before the last showing of this movie in theaters. I sure wish I could have seen it in my childhood, and Disney robbed me of that joy. I had this movie on my "to-see" list since I was a little girl and I finally found it on youtube.

The reason Disney will not release this classic film on home video or DVD is lost on me. I did some research and found some of the complaints and quite frankly, I think they are unfounded and I will explain.

Why Song of the South is NOT Racist:
1.) People claim that the blacks in the movie are so happy all the time so it shows an unrealistic picture of happy, subservient slaves. First of all, this movie takes place POST Civil War, which means there is no more slavery. Of course the blacks are happy because they are well-treated by the plantation owners who regard them as family, affectionately calling Remus "Uncle." The blacks work on the plantation of their own free will and are paid for their work. Uncle Remus leaves the plantation at the end without asking permission. This is proof that the time period is a post civil war era. If you're complaining about showing black people living happily alongside the whites, then too bad. It's history, and the movie is just being true to the past. I don't see you complaining about Gone With the Wind which deals with a similar time period. The ex-slaves stay with Scarlett's family after the war because they are treated well and enjoy working there and are considered part of the family. People just want to have this ugly picture of slavery in their mind when they think about the deep south but even though poor treatment unfortunately did happen sometimes, other times, the blacks were sharecroppers and had good relationships with the whites.
2.) I've heard people complain about stereotypes. I didn't really see any stereotypes except maybe Br'er Bear who wasn't even mentioned in any of my research.
3.) Some people complain that the blacks singing traditional black songs were offensive as a stereotype. OH COME ON!!! The parts where the blacks sing traditional songs were among my favorite parts of the film. I think Disney hired some amazingly talented singers and the music was beautiful and added richly to the story. Be proud of your heritage! If I were black, I'd be proud that my ancestors had such beautiful music and sang it when they were both happy and sad to express emotion.
4.) The last objection to this film was that the Negro dialect was offensive. Really? Are you serious? The movie is just depicting reality. I rather enjoyed hearing the dialect because I don't think I've ever heard that dialect before. There are black dialects even today depicted in modern-day movies but you don't complain about that! Why not? It's just the way people speak. If the black people in Song of the South spoke the way the white people did, that would be dishonest because they didn't speak that way, they had their own way of communicating, just like different parts of the United States today have different accents. It's not a stereotype to show a white southern person with a southern accent but for some reason it's suddenly racist if a black person has a southern accent. In fact, my research shows that Disney watered down the dialect so that it could be better understood by the audience and that the actual dialect was even more thick. Why is everyone so racist???
Nick C.
Super Reviewer
½ March 17, 2010
Zip a de do dah zip buddy yea. My oh my what a wonderful song. The animated segments are fantastic, I wish that Mr Blue Bird was on my shoulder. It would truthfully brighten my day.
Anthony L.
Super Reviewer
½ August 13, 2012
Disney Movie #20: Song of the South

Although it may not rank with Disney's top movies, Song of the South holds a positive message for kids and adults alike. It's mix of live action and animation only make the film more interesting. Yes, it can be slow for kids but if you see the message trying to be taught, you will surely adore this movie's charm and lively characters.
Super Reviewer
½ March 22, 2008
Too bad Disney will never release this again. Yes it is racist, but it also tells a truth about a state of mind in America at the time.
½ February 14, 2010
An imaginative Disney classic that will help you find your laughing place. (First viewing - Sometime in 2010)
June 30, 2013
Song of the South (1946) -- [4.0] -- For its racist stereotypes and sugar-coated depiction of plantation life in the post-Civil War South, Disney has locked away "Song of the South" from the public since its last re-release in 1986. I don't think the film is any more offensive than countless others made before desegregation ("Gone with the Wind" among them). In fact, putting its social infractions in historical context is probably the most interesting thing to do with "Song of the South." If you're going to lock the movie away, lock it away for mediocrity. The live-action segments of the film are cheesy and melodramatic (think "Brady Bunch") and the annoying animated sequences lack the character or charm of so many other Disney efforts. On the bright side, I've always enjoyed the Oscar-winning song "Zip-a-dee Doo Dah," but its visual accompaniment is somewhat underwhelming. Doe-eyed, baby-faced star Bobby Driscoll became a Disney regular for a while. He starred as Jim Hawkins in Disney's "Treasure Island," and in 1953 he provided the voice and live-action reference for "Peter Pan." In the mid-60s, however, he fell into drugs and obscurity. His body was found by two children in an abandoned New York tenement and he was buried in an unmarked grave.
½ March 23, 2013
A gem that I haven't seen since it's last theatrical release. Aside from racial stereotypes I do not see the drama surrounding the non release of this. Further ludicrous thinking on Disney's part is the idea that they ban this yet have a popular ride based off of this. Dont people wonder where Zip A dee doo dah comes from? Disney should be happy that this stands the test of time in terms of it's animation.
½ December 3, 2011
Only the animated segments are decent, and even they are sort of hit or miss. The story told in live action is not terribly interesting, other than for its perceived racist elements. It is only sort of racist its not even as ignorant and ridiculously racist as one might hope. Now by hope, I mean that I find it interesting to see the ignorance of the past. Like a math book an uncle of mine once found, in which a math problem actually involved deciding how many white people would have to be thrown off a boat after you've exhausted the total amount of black people left on the boat. That is hilariously racist...Song of the South is only sort of mildly racist, certainly not as bad as some have claimed. But that doesn't mean the live action segments are good or interesting, they are mostly poorly acted and just make you hope for the actual animated segments.
½ March 7, 2010
great family that is very entertaining it has a great idea of a film more than that CGI crap with those new pixar films
½ August 2, 2009
I didn't find it racist at all. It's sort of sad that this movie gets hidden away because of the race issue, because I thought it was a solid children's movie, and enjoyed it a lot. This isn't a movie that should be buried, because it's a worthy Disney feature film that just solidifies Disney's record even further as an animation/film titan.
November 27, 2008
good movie.
i think its dumb that they wont release it on dvd though over the whole "racist" thing. cuz the tie period u know twas all quite accurate.
August 25, 2008
It's great to see a movie that shows how a rabbit can outwit a fox and a bear. It is a good Disney classic, which is fun for families, but I was hoping for MORE tales about Brer Rabbit (there was only two I think). Well, I can't argue with that. But most important of all, it must be known for its wonderful songs.
March 21, 2008
This is a great Disney film.
I remember reenacting this in an elementary school play.
I believe this was the very first film to use animation with live actors and it worked very well. I loved this movie and the tales of Uncle Remus. I remember having a vinyl record and book for this movie and playing it over and over.
The reaction that this film drew about racism is ludicrous and mostly from people who love to point out things that aren't actually there. *cough Jessie Jackson cough cough*
If you find this movie racist then you'd have to say some of the writings from Mark Twain were also. You must take into consideration the time, language and slang people used back then.
There is nothing in this film I find remotely racist considering the time in which it was set.
Political Correctness sickens me.
Stop the insanity now!
We can't change our past. We must address it with an open mind so we can move forward as a society.
I first saw this film when I was a child and found that all the characters were great.
Black or white had no meaning to me back then and watching this now brings back those memories (of ignorance if you want to call it that); Bliss.
Uncle Remus was NOT an Uncle Tom!
I'll kick your ass if you say so.
December 20, 2007
lousy acting, terrible writing, and song scenes that are a crime of artistic taste. i couldn't sit through the whole ugly travesty. i only started it in the first place because of the fond memories of the brer animals i somehow gained 25 yrs. ago. kids have pitiful taste.
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