The Reluctant Dragon (1941)

The Reluctant Dragon


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Movie Info

With a blend of live-action and animation, this lively feature offers a glossy behind-the-scenes peek at Disney's animation studios. Comic writer/actor Robert Benchley and his wife travel to Disney Studios to see if they can convince them to make a film of their favorite Kenneth Grahame story, "The Reluctant Dragon."

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Animation, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Comedy
Directed By: ,
Written By: William Cottrell, Harry Clark, Ted Sears, Albert R. Perkins, Larry Clemmons
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 12, 2009


as Doris (Studio Artist...

as Mrs. Benchley

as Dragon's Voice

as Sir Giles' Voice

as Little Boy's Voice

as Herself, Voice of Cl...

as Goofy's Voice

as Baby Weems Narrator/...

as Himself

as Animator

as Animator

as Animator

as Animator

as Studio Cop

as Orchestra Leader

as Himself

as Baby Weems's father

as Himself

as Baby Weems

as Courier in Reluctant...

as FDR in Baby Weems

as Donald Duck's Voice/...

as Walter Winchell in B...
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for The Reluctant Dragon

All Critics (3)

Excellent glimpse into how animation was made in the '40s.

Full Review… | January 14, 2014
Common Sense Media

This isn't really so much a movie as it is just an excuse to show the movie-going audience some of what goes into making an animated film. And you know what? That's absolutely fine by me.

Full Review… | April 18, 2013
Film Geek Central

One of the most fascinating, irregular curios in all the cobwebby corners of Disney history.

Full Review… | November 9, 2010
Antagony & Ecstasy

Audience Reviews for The Reluctant Dragon


So...I found out that this film exists; for some reason. It's not why the film actually exists that bugs me, because it works well as an educational tool for the general public, and shows us what happens at the Disney animation studios. No, what remains baffling is why they chose to make the film in this way. It could have been a quick documentary, but instead they decided to slap together a mélange of several different shorts, live-action footage, and a weird ending that supposedly remains the eponymous start to the film. It's just an odd kind of gem that Disney can still look to now that their projects are becoming less innocent over time. The film starts with radio personality Robert Benchley and his wife discussing a book their nephew wrote, which she wants to be made into an animated short. Benchley doesn't want to, but is forced into taking a meeting with Walt Disney himself. While being rallied around the studio by a Nazi youth looking assistant, Benchley slips away and explores the studio himself. We get to see different frames being put together to make a film, much like a flip book, sound effects for a short about a train, the coloring for another with Daffy Duck, (which includes voice actor Clarence Nash in all his splendor) and another short with Goofy. Benchley is always in wonder when he sees something new, and though most of the technology is dumbed down for the audience, and the environment is definitely more family friendly than in reality, it was nice to see these forties' staples onscreen. The ending contains the short, which was made while Benchley was supposedly wandering around the studio for forty minutes. The short itself is horrible. The dragon is an effeminate stereotype of a fop, who doesn't want to fight, yet pretends to with a knight so the knight can seem powerful, and all the villagers will think the dragon is tamed. Nothing entertaining about it, and the insensitivity exhibited by Disney yet again was not appreciated. Otherwise it's a cute little movie about the wonders of animation, which even kids nowadays can watch with a sense of wonder.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

A fascinating behind the scenes look at some of the animators from Disney's Golden Age.

Anthony Valletta

Super Reviewer


The Reluctant Dragon offers film lovers an interesting glimpse behind the scenes at the Disney studio, but we are left wanting more. Maybe that is the point! (First and only viewing - In my mid-twenties)

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