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Pete's Dragon Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! 

By Kimberly Heinrichs

This story of a winsome orphan and his guardian dragon features an Academy Award-nominated score and song, Helen Reddy's "Candle on the Water." The combination of a live-action story with an animated figure was innovative in 1977, and the green dragon with pink wings will still charm youngsters today. However, its plot has the boy running from a nasty family to whom he's been sold into slavery, as well as an evil magician who tries to steal the dragon for his parts. These dark story lines may scare or bore younger children, who only want to see Elliot the dragon belch fire and give Pete rides on his back. And older children who might appreciate the plot may scoff at the relatively crude animation. This leaves a rather narrow audience window of about ages 3 to 7. A cast of veterans includes Shelley Winters, Mickey Rooney, and Red Buttons, who all turn in the hammiest of performances. Acting newcomer Reddy demonstrates both why her acting career never took off and why her singing career did. (Lines like "You're a bunch of superstitious ding-dongs" don't give her much help.) However, her sometimes awkward performance as the lonely lighthouse keeper who gives the boy a home provides the film with its heart. Bottom line: it's a keeper for diehard Disney fans, dragon lovers, and those who remember this movie fondly from their childhood.

Academy Awards

Pete's Dragon received Academy Awards nominations for Music Scoring Awards (Best Original Song Score and Its Adaptation or Best Adaptation Score) (Al Kasha - Song Score, Joel Hirschhorn - Song Score, Irwin Kostal) and Music Best Song (Al Kasha - Music & Lyrics, Joel Hirschhorn - Music & Lyrics).

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this soundtrack from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Rated GNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Don Chaffey

Stars: Helen Reddy, Sean Marshall, Mickey Rooney, Red Buttons, Shelley Winters, Sean Marshall, Jane Kean, Jim Backus, Jeff Conaway, voice of Charlie Callas

Released: November 3, 1977

Availability: DVD VHS CD


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