Movie: "Bless The Beasts And The Children"
Year: 1971
Rated: PG-13
Genre: Drama
Directed by: Stanley Kramer
Writing credits: Mac Benoff, Glendon Swarthout

Reviewer: Max Burbank
Posted: 2/9/2009

Plot: A bunch of emotionally disturbed summer camp kids go AWOL, steal a car and attempt to free a heard of Buffalo scheduled to be slaughtered during Arizona’s annual Buffalo hunt.

Review: Mention director Stanley Kramer and your film snobs are likely to think of “Judgment at Nuremberg”, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” or “Inherit the Wind”. Hey, eggheads, screw you. Do any of those pictures feature a teenage Billy Mummy with long, flowing hair performing an unplugged version of The ‘Stones “Mother’s Little Helper”? No, sir. They do not. And “Bless the Beasts and the Children” does.

It’s also the film about odd kids at summer camp I can think of.

The boys quest to free the Buffalo is laced with flashbacks detailing each kids miserable family life. This gives each of the excellent child actors in the film a little solo scene, and each one is a wonderful blend of comedy and pathos. You laugh and squirm at the same time, it’s funny, but it rings true. As a kid I identified with it, and as an adult, it stings a little.

The scenes of the Buffalo slaughter are pretty disturbing. Small wonder, since it’s mostly stock footage of the real thing, Arizona's annual buffalo hunt.

And hey, here’s some trivia, “Bless the beasts” is the first movie to use the piece of music later picked up by Soap Opera “The Young and the Restless” that’s come to be known as ‘Nadia’s Theme’ on account of spunky Romanian gymnastics android, Nadia Comaneci. The piece was originally called ‘Cotton’s theme’ and was written for this movie.

Also, the Carpenters sing the theme song, but that’s more something to endure than an enhancement.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeWhole
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Feb 10th, 2009, 03:49 AM
I got dragged to see this at a very warpable age. Did my head in big time, I can tell you. Thanks for opening up old wounds Max.
Forum Virgin
Feb 10th, 2009, 04:55 AM
Hey, what's wrong with the Carpenters?
Forum Virgin
Feb 10th, 2009, 01:56 PM
this is a movie?? i read this book in high school, and i really liked it, but also completely forgot it existed until just now.

now i want to both watch the movie AND re-read the book.
Jason's a Furry! Run!
Feb 10th, 2009, 06:24 PM
Hey, I'm a film snob! Nice :P

This is one of those movies I never seem to have time for, I really need to try and watch it soon.
Feb 11th, 2009, 06:51 PM
I have never heard of this movie. I must correct this.
Sex Panther
Feb 12th, 2009, 08:07 PM
I had to read that for High School one year. I didn't. Thought I still managed to pass the test, go figure.
May 31st, 2009, 07:30 PM
Man I swear, I was laying in bed thinking about this movie the other day, I shit you not. I only saw it once as a kid but I remember many things about it.