Greyfriars Bobby: The True Story of a Dog (1961) Poster

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The Greatest Dog Of All Time ( And a good movie)
Tim Pace8 December 2004
I love movies, I also love Dogs so I had a head start with this one. However I have always been a fan of this little dog. Although not exactly a documentary ( Jock was in real life a policeman not a shepeard). But the basic tale is true as far as I know, and is a true adaptation of the book. The acting is superb, the sets are wonderful and have captured Victorian Scotland superbly. If like me you cry at animal tales then get the tissues out, sit back and have your faith restored as to why the Dog is the greatest creature on Earth. And truly Man's best pal. If you feel moved enough you could even visit Scotland and see the gravestone that bobby sheltered from the rain under and his collar is still in one of the museums.
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Wonderful, sentimental story of a faithful dog.
Marta28 December 1998
I'm sure everyone who grew up in the 60's remembers watching the wonderful world of Disney, where this film originally appeared. I remember watching it then and crying during the movie. It is a sentimental, heartwarming but very true to life story of Greyfriar's Bobby, a small dog who refused to leave his master, even after the master's death. Bobby sleeps on the master's grave at night, and is looked after by the residents of the Edinburgh, Scotland, neighborhood. When the question of paying for his license comes into the picture, the entire neighborhood, one of the poorest in Scotland, buys his license. Laurence Naismith and Donald Crisp are two of the neighborhood residents, and they are both great. Might be too slow for some kids, but don't let that stop you. It's a marvelous, well-told story and touched by just the right amount of realism and atmosphere. The residents of Edinburgh erected a statue in Bobby's honor after his death, and it's still there for everyone to enjoy, in remembrance of a Skye Terrier with a loyal heart.
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7/10
A well-made film about why dogs are our best friends.
Mel J25 October 2006
The story of Greyfriars Bobby is one familiar to most Scottish schoolchildren and this film is a worthy adaptation of a very endearing tale. 'Greyfriars Bobby: The True Story of a Dog' is set in 1865 where an ageing shepherd from the Highlands and his faithful Skye terrier Bobby visit Edinburgh. But when the shepherd succumbs to pneumonia and is buried in a local cemetery of Greyfriars Kirk, Bobby remains loyal to his master, sleeping on his grave and only leaving to search for food. In those days, dogs had to be licensed but, when the local police try to take him to the pound to be put down, the children of Edinburgh and the city's Lord Provost (who incidentally was director of the Scottish SPCA) rally to save him.

Although the film is not exact on all the details of the story, nevertheless, it is a very warm and touching film about why dogs are possibly the most loyal and devoted creatures on this planet (we humans could probably learn a thing or two from them, in that respect). The Scottish setting is well-depicted and there were few wobbly accents to be heard since most of the cast were actually Scottish.

'Greyfriars Bobby: The True Story of a Dog' remains one of Disney's best films and hasn't dated much despite being more than thirty years old.
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10/10
putting away the hanky
oaksong24 June 2006
I was probably 14 when I saw this film, back in the early 60's and I know I cried. I hadn't seen it since, although it was never far out of my memory, 'til I got the DVD recently and took the time to watch it again. It still brought a tear to my eye.

Time can play tricks on your memory, but this case it was as good a film as I recalled. It doesn't have any jump cuts, the camera work is simple and steady. The acting however is superb, bringing a genuine life to this mostly true story of a dog's faithfulness to it's departed master.

My family always had dogs, and I watched plenty of Lassie on TV and read the novels of Albert Payson Terhune, so I have always had a close relationship with dogs, my most recent being a 16 year old miniature dachshund.

If you can get your family to sit through it, I suggest it as a great alternative to what's on TV today.
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10/10
A Quiet Classic
dsayne4 September 2007
Watching this for the first time in nearly forty years I was prepared for a nice little animal show the likes of which Disney studios were well known for. I expected a pleasant, well made, but mostly average little movie. Instead I found an artfully rendered film; calm but powerful, subtle and deep. The look of the film is surprisingly gritty and realistic, with the only complaint that anyone could raise being that the children were perhaps a tad too clean. The characterizations are top notch, even the children! There's not a faker in the bunch! They are wholly believable. The pace of the film is steady, never rushed, never slow, and lends a sense of real time passing. Even though most adults will easily predict the ultimate outcome, they will not be bored or disappointed as it unfolds. This is the kind of film that should be required watching in elementary schools instead of some that are. There is much to learn here: of how people in a particular place and time lived, of human nature and interpersonal relationships, of responsibility and initiative. Parents be confident showing this to your children. Adults be amazed at how good a G-rated family film can be. My comment upon viewing the conclusion in my own living room, "Remarkable!"
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9/10
film for ALL ages
fcasnette28 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Let's get this out of the way... I hate Hollywood movies by number, Disney schmaltz, stereotyped screenplays, and endings and plot devices you can see a mile off... so why do I like this film? Basically the story is a true and affecting one of loyalty beyond death, and the kind of love a dog gives a loving master which could easily have me reaching for the sick bucket in the wrong hands. Well directed by Don Chaffey who went on to much work on TV series like Danger Man, The Prisoner, The Avengers, Mission Impossible etc in a simple unassuming manner which perfectly fits the low key style required to get just the right emotional punch and uplift at the end.

A well constructed screenplay gets us off to a favourable start but the acting all round hits exactly the correct note. Donald Crisp is really excellent as the crusty Scotsman, and lifts Laurence Naismith (Moore and Curtis' boss in the Persuaders) to the same level in their long running feud scenes and affecting melting to friendship through common love of the little dog at the end. Andrew Cruickshank (in the original Dr Finlay) is wonderful as the Lord Provost in the crucial highpoint turnaround scene. The comedy turns like the officious policeman and the court reporter who lets the kids into court are spot on. Even the kids are fine.

The actors stick close to a style suitable for a Disney movie but the clever understatement (helped by the character motivation not wanting to appear too weak in loving a stray dog) make the unfolding story and ending carry a real emotional punch. Yes, it's corny but based on a TRUE corniness, and that's what makes it stand out among Disney (and other!) films. Beautiful colour throughout and if you've ever been to Edinburgh you will like the recreation of the old city. The music is also excellent, the strings perfectly complimenting the Scottish theme with bagpipe like harmonies.

Recommended for children of all ages up to 110.

Get a box of tissues out for the last quarter of an hour and enjoy!
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10/10
A great story for kids of all ages and all the better for being true.
mail-29781 February 2008
This is a great story well told and all the better for being true. I took a girlfriend to see it way back in 1962 and I remember she spent the last ten minutes of the film sobbing her heart out. I sat and watched it again on the television only last week along with my two grandsons, who have been brought up on a diet of movies dedicated to mindless violence and ever more extreme special effects, and they thoroughly enjoyed it too. They even shed the odd tear towards the end although they would never admit it. There was one slight error - the cost of a dog licence in the United Kingdom was 7/6 ( seven and sixpence or 37.5 new pence after we went decimal in 1971 ) and not seven shillings as in the film. Disney have always excelled in the making of feel good movies, movies that show the best in people and I for one wish they made more of them today.
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10/10
A gem of a story
gringo25809 January 2012
I saw this in my local cinema when I was 6 years old and had tears running down my face at the end. I saw it again when I was in my 40's...and had tears running down my face!!!!! The cast is great, the locations beautifully shot and the storyline is easy to follow for even the youngest of kids. The fact that it is a true story only adds to the effect. As a Scot it has special significance for me as this little dog symbolizes our two main characteristics..loyalty and stubbornness. Definitely a wee treasure of a movie and it hasn't aged, since it relies not on special effects or sensationalism, just on a simple beautiful story, simply and beautifully told. Definitely a good one for the kids (of all ages9, unforgettable and timeless.
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9/10
A tearjerking feel good movie
newhopes20 October 2009
As a USA transplant to Scotland, I loved the way this movie portrayed 19th century Scots. It actually managed to present a genuine Scottish feeling without horrible stereotyping and corny dialog. My local friends own the movie and love it— a real statement for what a good job was done.

The scenes of Edinburgh are great (with the Edinburgh Castle backdrop). The story-line is so lovely and engaging that, even though at times I knew that I was being manipulated, I cried, laughed and loved every minute of it! The movie was obviously made in a different time in the history of film making; while at the same time the story is about a different time in humanity. I felt that the datedness of the filming techniques made the story even more beautiful and evocative.

The dog is a show stealer, the kids are adorable and the adults are absolutely believable...

Although I pretty much cried from beginning to end, I felt hopeful and more compassionate towards my fellow human beings after watching 'Greyfriars Bobby' than I felt beforehand.

This is truly a classic and I loved it!
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8/10
man's best friend
petersj-21 September 2008
Well I admit it... it worked on me and at the end of the movie I was a blubbering mess. It is a cleverly manipulative little gem and you will need a box of tissues. Its a real tear jerker and in this cynical age that's rather lovely. It is a case of anthroprorphism gone mad. It all about a cute(incredibly cute)little dog who has a beautiful friendship with old Jock, a kind hearted shepherd. Poor old Jock gets the boot from his employees and Bobby (the dog) follows the old man to Edinburgh. Its not Lassie comes home its Bobby follows Jock. The message is clear dogs pick their owners. Poor old Jock dies and well you know the rest. I saw the film as a kid and loved the story. There are a few liberties taken but trust Disney to tug at the heart strings, indeed its masterful.It is never creeky though. The film looks wonderful and it really has stood the test of time better than other Disney movies such as Condor man.The setting is beautiful and its one of the best Disney productions of all. Shamelessly sentimental but because of the winning performances by Laurence Naismith and the exceptional Donald Crisp it wins out every time. The whole cast are superb and as for that dog... it should have got an Oscar as best actor.
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7/10
One of the best examples of dogs's incredible loyalty
Atreyu_II30 January 2011
This Disney oldie was directed by Don Chaffey, the same who directed "The Three Lives of Thomasina" and "Pete's Dragon" and, like the famous story of Hachiko, is based in a true story, in this case of a Skye Terrier named Greyfriars Bobby that lived in the 19th century (in Edinburgh, Scotland) and became famous for reportedly spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner until his own death.

In the film (I'm not sure how it was in real life) Greyfrairs Bobby, despite guarding his owner's grave, doesn't spend the whole time there waiting for him to come back. People feed him well and he gets along beautifully with most everyone, especially children.

The film was shot in England and Scotland. Its looks very dated but rich cinematography is one of its virtues, thanks to the enchantment and natural beauty of the Scottish scenario.

I noticed that they often use the expressions "laddie" and "lassie", which are often used by Jock the Scottish Terrier in 'Lady and the Tramp'.

Considering their roles, most actors are alright. But the star is definitely the little great star. Now, who can that be? That's the doggy, of course!

The dog is cute and utterly adorable. His loyalty to his owner in life and even long after death is worthy to be considered and admired. Despite being a dramatic film it has some fun moments. The children of the film are all nice and enjoyable.

Overall, a reasonable film, realistic, poignant. Its only let-down is the courtroom scenes and the rather annoying policeman who looked like a caricature of himself.
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8/10
The true story of a lovely film
Gary1704592 June 2012
Thanks to The Wonderful World Of Disney TV programmes that ran seemingly endlessly in the 60's I've always been fond of their auld live action family melodramas, this supposedly true tale being one of the best. In less than 90 minutes it plays with you, effortlessly running through the full range of your emotions from heart breaking to heart warming. And yet clever people wouldn't call this Art!

Shaggy Skye terrier Bobby is faithful to his master Auld Jock even after his death, sleeping on Jock's grave in Greyfriars kirkyard, eating at the local café owned by Laurence Naismith, playing with the local urchins and catching rats for the kirkyard keeper Donald Crisp. Uniting everyone in respect for his respect for a dead pauper. I wonder if Gordon Jackson was happy with his totally unsympathetic portrayal of Jock's former employer, hard heartedly kicking him out of work to die in the first place which set off the train of events. Helping get you into a Scottish mood there's the usual warm grainy Disney colour of the period complemented with some generally bright music and believable acting, even by the dog. Favourite bits: Bobby continually dodging round Crisp to get to the grave; fine background sets full of uneven wooden furniture and uneven paving; the key scenes with the Lord Provost.

It's recently been suggested that the whole story was made up for tourism purposes, apparently (hem) grave doubts were being cast on Bobby's authenticity even while he - or his look-alike successor - was still alive. Well, what a surprise! But if so it doesn't bother me, it's still an incontrovertible fact that with this Disney had made a wonderful film.
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9/10
Very warm and touching
TheLittleSongbird8 June 2011
I have seen my fair share of wonderful dogs' movies, my favourites being Old Yeller and Lassie Come Home. Greyfriar's Bobby is another one of my favourites. It could have been perhaps a tad longer, but it is such a warm and touching film that moves at a generous pace that you don't mind. The scenery, costumes and sets are absolutely beautiful and very evocative, and I did like its somewhat old-fashioned albeit suitably cosy style of filming. The dialogue is well written, as is the engaging story and heart-rending ending, while all the characters are characters I care for. The acting is great, the dog of the title is the definite scene-stealer and it is a wonderful and adorable scene-stealing performances, but there are also superb performances from Donald Crisp and Laurence Naismith and the kids are also surprisingly effective. Overall, a film that never fails to warm my heart and move me too. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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4/10
Faithful Bobby
Prismark1017 January 2015
This is a sentimental Disney story recounting the true fact tale of Greyfriars Bobby, a small terrier who was the faithful companion of Old Jock, the highland shepherd who died of pneumonia in Edinburgh. The dog spent sixteen years spending time at his master's grave and now a statue of the dog has been erected in Edinburgh. The film has been remade several times even with an altered story such as Hachi: A Dog's Tale with Richard Gere.

The film here has been fictionalised as two local residents fight for the affection of the dog and the city magistrates taking the dog to court as he does not have a license and no one seems to own him. The children in the area rally to his rescue before the Lord Provost.

Its a touching tale shot on location is Scotland however to expand the story as you cannot have the dog just visiting the grave of Old Jock, it just felt overlong as the caretaker of the graveyard spars with the local tavern owner for the affection of the dog and yet when it comes to the magistrate court he refuses to pay for the dog license which for the 19th century costs a princely sum.

It might have worked better as a shorter film but I feel now stripped of nostalgia, kids watching this would get easily bored of the slight storyline.
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