Captains Courageous (1937)

G   |    |  Adventure, Drama, Family

Captains Courageous (1937) Poster

A spoiled brat who falls overboard from a steamship gets picked up by a fishing boat, where he's made to earn his keep by joining the crew in their work.




  • Freddie Bartholomew and Melvyn Douglas in Captains Courageous (1937)
  • Spencer Tracy and Freddie Bartholomew in Captains Courageous (1937)
  • Freddie Bartholomew and Melvyn Douglas in Captains Courageous (1937)
  • Spencer Tracy and Victor Fleming in Captains Courageous (1937)
  • Spencer Tracy and Freddie Bartholomew in Captains Courageous (1937)
  • Lionel Barrymore and John Carradine in Captains Courageous (1937)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

5 January 2006 | petangi
| Son meets father - in his heart
A wonderful film I only discovered about ten years ago. A low key beginning, hardly anything to attract the viewer to sympathize with the predicament that befalls young Harvey. With a wonderful cast, fairly average story but told and beautifully understated brings a wonderful balance and heart-tugging restoration for young Harvey, plucked from the sea by Spencer Tracy, a Portuguese fisherman. Having to become a fisherman for two months, young Harvey finds out what he has not known in life. He begins the story as a spoilt young irritating brat but ends it restored to life and his father. A message for us all, begun and ending in eternity. Poignant, sad and enriching. Great cinema.

Critic Reviews

Did You Know?


The instrument played by Manuel (Spencer Tracy) while singing is a hurdy gurdy. It is a strange amalgam of a keyed instrument and a stringed instrument that originated in France in the middle ages and is thought to have evolved from the fiddle. Instead of using a bow, a crank turns a wooden wheel that comes in contact with the strings to make the sound. In addition to up to three melody strings, it has up to three drone strings, which give it a bagpipe-like sound. The melody is created by pressing small piano-like keys that cause tiny bars to rise up and change the length and thereby the pitch of a melody string. The original hurdy gurdys were enormous and required two persons to play them.


Burns: There'll be none of that. No trays.
Dr. Finley: The Star Telegram has you quoted quite definitely: 'before departing by plane for New York, Mr. Cheyne stated that the new equipment is to be provided by the present bond issue.' The other papers have virtually the...


It does not make sense that Harvey's teachers could expect him to be independent if he is only ten. In the novel he was fifteen.

Crazy Credits

The opening credits are letters on planks, like the lettering on the side of ships, and between screen-fulls, a foaming wave of water splashes over it and then runs off. In the initial sets of credits, these appear to be actually letter-forms attached to the wood, as the water gets deflected by some of the letters; in later sets of credits, this effect is harder to see and the sets may be credits superimposed upon wood.


Ooh What a Terrible Man
(1937) (uncredited)
Lyrics by
Gus Kahn
Music by Franz Waxman


Plot Summary


Adventure | Drama | Family

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