11 user 9 critic

General Spanky (1936)

Passed | | Comedy, Family, War | 11 December 1936 (USA)
A small boy is instrumental in a famous Civil War victory.


, (as Fred Newmeyer)


(original story and screen play), (original story and screen play) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Spanky (as Spanky McFarland)
Marshall Valient
Yankee General
Buckwheat (as Billie Thomas)
Alfalfa (as Carl Switzer)
Colonel Blanchard
Robert Middlemass ...
James P. Burtis ...
Boat Captain (as James Burtis)
Willie Best ...
Henry (as William Best)


A small boy is instrumental in a famous Civil War victory.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Hal Roach full length feature. (Posters).


Comedy | Family | War


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

11 December 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

O Grande Generalzinho  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


George "Spanky" McFarland died at age 64, Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas died at age 49, Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer died at age 31. See more »


Yankee soldier: You'll have to get a higher authority than me.
See more »


Edited from Abraham Lincoln (1930) See more »


Captain Jinks
Written by T. MacLagan
See more »

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User Reviews

Exceptionally well made but rather grotesque...
25 January 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Spanky and his friends all decide to play army as the country is embroiled in war. His friends designate him their general and he leads them on a rather funny encounter with real Union troops! In addition, they help a nice Southern officer escape a hanging--a hanging orchestrated by a total jerk.

It's not hard to believe that Hal Roach Studios decided to give little Spanky from the Our Gang comedies his own feature film. After all, for his age, he was a dandy actor...and cute as a button. However, in hindsight, their choice of material was a bit on the grotesque side. It's not that setting the story in the South during the Civil War was necessarily a bad thing, but the whole slavery issue is very weird when you see it today. After all, in this film you see lots of black slaves standing about and singing for joy, as they apparently love their lot in life!! And, when Buckwheat (who is a runaway slave) begins to cry because he wants to have a master, too, it's just too much! If it weren't so evil, it would be comical. It's sad. Because without the racial insensitivity, the film is very good. The kids in the film are all good actors and Buckwheat really is quite adorable and effective in the film.

Rather surreal...that's for sure.

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