Incredible Journey, The (1963)

“From the very start, the travelers had adopted a certain marching order.”

Two dogs and a cat leave their temporary caretaker (Emile Genest) in search of their owners, and soon find themselves on a truly incredible adventure across the Canadian wilderness.


Disney’s first live action adaptation of Sheila Burnford’s classic children’s novel features a voice-over narration chronicling the tale of three plucky pets sticking with each other through thick and thin as they battle obstacles such as a raging river, a prickly porcupine, and a lynx. They receive ample support from well-meaning humans along the way, but their ultimate destination (getting back home to their owners) is never far from their minds. Thank goodness the animals don’t talk; we’re allowed to believe in them as actual creatures who happen to be incredibly hardy, loyal, and smart. The sections with human actors are poorly acted and a bit stilted, leaving one even more impressed by what the well-trained animals here manage to pull off. This film is infinitely better than Benji (1974), and holds a certain charm, but it isn’t must-see viewing for all film fanatics.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Assured performances by the animal cast
  • Fine cinematography

Must See?
No. Listed as a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.


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