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11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A very special film.

Author: Randy (rcw12932@fastpointcom.com) from Southern California
12 February 2001

It was from reading these comments that I located the film in 16mm and later transferred it to video. Bobby Driscoll has always been a favorite of mine and everyone I have been in touch with says that this was his best film.This is a very special and wonderfully sentimental story that should be seen by every male of any age. I, like so many others, cried at the end. It brought back memories of my parents and the struggles of being a young teenager. This film is also blessed with an inspired musical score. The opening theme will haunt you for a long time. When I Grow Up is a classic and should be available on video! Let's unite and demand it!

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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

One of the earliest movies to "move" me...

9/10
Author: Lawrence Santoro (critter@suba.com) from Chicago, Illinois
12 September 1999

I saw this film by accident. It was a second, unbilled, feature at a Saturday matinee I attended when I was 9. I have no idea, now, what that first feature was, but this movie took me in and moved me in a way that had never happened before. Laughed before, yes. Been scared of course! Hid my eyes and left the theater peering ahead at dark corners and the spaces between streetlights.

With this film, however, for the first time (and not the last), I found myself crying in a theater. I am certain, now, I wasn't in tears for the people in the film, but for my own life and at the way I had always responded to my grandfather. The movie -- dare I say this -- held a mirror to the reality I knew as a well cared-for middle-class kid in a small eastern town at mid-century and let me know that I, too, would some day grow up, grow old, come to know sorrow and, one day, die.

Soon, very soon after this, I encountered Citizen Cane on late night television and all things changed again. But this little film opened me up to the power and potential that movies can have toward making people see, understand and feel.

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

When I Grow Up is one of my favorites but I can't find anyone else who has seen it.

Author: jeffhill1 from Sapporo, Japan
3 March 2002

I saw "When I Grow Up" 40 years ago, have not only been looking for it ever since, but have also tried in vain to find anyone else in the world who has even heard of it. Even now, I can't tell the story line of the film without holding back tears when I get to the "Mom, where's Dad?" scene when Bobby Driscoll finally comes out of his fever coma.

Like the boy in the film, I also never achieved the going fishing relationship with my father that the film symbolizes. But I thought I would, "maybe next week or the month after that." And when my father died, "When I Grow Up" was one of the first things I thought of as having been a reminder or a warning that I hadn't heeded soon enough.

But when my own son was born, I remembered it and I heeded it. And the message of "When I Grow Up" was with my son and me all of the days of my Brandon's childhood. With a little luck, in a few years I'll be the grandfather responding to my grandson, "You know, I can't think of anything I'd rather do" when he says to me "Hey, Grandpa. Let's go fishing."

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A Keeper in my repertoire

10/10
Author: StopDUI from United States
5 August 2006

I have never been able to forget this movie. I was 7 or 8 years old when I saw it. I stayed all day on that Saturday, which was matinée day at the local theater 2 blocks from my home and saw it several times in that one day I was allowed to go to the movies. It was the first movie that made me feel part of it. My most memorable moment was when he was reading and making his own diary and attempting to spell words which were only sounds. Sounds he made with his mouth and a slap or finger popping in and out of his cheek. There was as definite connection for me with Bobby Driscoll in that movie. I felt like his personal friend and peeking in on his life, giving my the feeling of the love I had for my own. I only wish I knew where I could obtain that movie on DVD or VHS, for to me, it is truly a classic. I'm now 63 years old, and when looking at photos of Bobby back then, I become that 7/8 year old boy for just a moment. I can't believe I have found this information on this site, to bring back such a wonderful time in my life.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

One of the best, most poignant movies I've ever seen.

Author: Roy Cash from Memphis, Tennessee
26 October 2004

I first saw the movie when I was around 12 or 13 years old. It has stuck with me all these years as one of the most moving father/son relationship moments I've seen. I tried to incorporate the best of the movie's redeeming values as we raised our son -- now a 34-year old Navy Chaplain. The trials and tribulations of the family and, particularly the father and son, are themes that each of us need to either experience or learn about in life. If we did, I think we would all have a better grasp on the humanity of us all. I've looked for the movie over the years; if it were on or available, I'd watch it over and over. Here's hoping other fathers and sons get to experience this wonderful movie. Roy

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

One of the first films to 'move' me!

10/10
Author: Larry Santoro (larry@LarrySantoro.com) from Chicago
9 March 2005

I saw this film by accident; it was a second, unbilled, feature at a Saturday matinée I attended when I was 9. I have no idea, now, what that first feature was, but this movie took me in and moved me in a way that had never happened before. Laughed before, yes. Been scared -- of course! Hid my eyes and left the theater peering ahead at dark corners and the spaces between streetlights, certainly.

With this film, however, for the first time (and not the last), I found myself crying in a theater. I am certain, now, I wasn't in tears for the people in the film, but for my own life and at the way I had always responded to my grandfather. The movie -- dare I say this -- held a mirror to the reality I knew as a well cared-for middle-class kid in a small eastern town at mid-century and let me know that I, too, would some day grow up, grow old, come to know sorrow and, one day, die.

Soon, very soon after this, I encountered Citizen Cane on late night television and all things changed again. But this little film opened me up to the power and potential that movies can have toward making people see, understand and feel.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

SUPERB MOVIE!

10/10
Author: lloyd baldwin (bal51940@aol.com) from brandon, ms
31 December 1999

when i read the review by "meister-5" of kansas, city, missouri, regarding this motion picture, i thought i had written it. it is so sad that such an influential work has not made it to vcr and sold/rented on the marketplace. what a shame. the storyline is excellent and the acting is fabulous. it is clean and it impacted my life very similarly to that of your commenter "meister-5". i appreciate the info provided by imdb!

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Saw movie 47 years ago and influenced my life, even today.

Author: meister-5 from Kansas City, Missouri
7 March 1999

I have been looking for this movie for 47 years. At times I thought I had the wrong title. I only saw the movie once but it influenced my thinking then and still today. I saw myself as Josh/Danny Reed. It was like looking into a mirror. I changed my attitude toward my relationship with peers, younger and older persons. I learned to treat people with respect and expect respect when deserved.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Understanding the importance of family

Author: white8208 from United States
21 September 2011

Like the other reviewers, I saw this film in the early 50's at a Saturday matinée. I was 8 or so, and have never forgotten that day. I wonder if all of you who have seen it remember the haunting harmonica tune played throughout, and especially during the last scene. I understand that TCM owns the rights to the film, but have never moved forward with it. I worked for Disney Studios for years, and even presented my case to them as a feature for the Disney Channel, especially since Bobby Driscoll was one of their classic performers. To no avail, I'm afraid.

The world is missing such a gem.

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Reed Family Values

7/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
30 August 2014

For a modest little B picture When I Grow Up packs a lot of heart string tugging punch. Sam Spiegel produced this when he was operating under S.P. Eagle and screenwriter Michael Kanin got his only directorial credit for the screen.

This is the story of two generations of Reeds, present day 1951 with Harry Morgan and Elizabeth Fraser trying to raise Bobby Driscoll whom they see as willfully disobedient. Living with them is Morgan's father and Driscoll's grandfather Charley Grapewin. After a hand wringing session with Morgan and Fraser about how are we going to deal with this rebellious kid, Grapewin goes up to the attic and finds a diary he kept as a kid.

As he reads his thoughts back then we're transported to 1892 and now Grapewin's role is also played by Driscoll. He's being brought up by a very stern father in Robert Preston and a deferring wife in Martha Scott. He also as a little sister in Sherry Jackson who delights in tormenting him and the parents always take her side. She's daddy's little girl and everyone knows it. Watching Preston he's far from the charming conman Harold Hill who was operating in Iowa in this era.

The influence of Mark Twain is unmistakable here as Driscoll slips neatly into a Tom Sawyer like childhood. The Huckleberry Finn of the story is Johnny McGovern whom Driscoll's parents warn about associating with such disreputable people. McGovern's mom is reputed to be a lady of easy virtue.

A decision by the boys to run away and join the circus has an impact that's felt two generations away. That's all I can say about how the lives of Charley Grapewin and his grandson are affected, but affected they are.

The closest film I could compare this with is A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. Nostalgia to be sure, but tempered with a very hard realism about what life was like in semi-rural setting for Driscoll and an urban setting for the Nolan family in A Tree Grows In Brooklyn.

When I Grow Up hasn't got the production values a major studio could have given it. But the ensemble cast is just about perfect in their roles and it will get the tear glands working.

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