Follow Me, Boys! (1966) Poster

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Great Entertainment
George Mussman (GEM-20)24 February 2004
I was very pleased to see that Disney finally released this movie on DVD. I have been wanting to see it for a long time, but not only because it was another Disney film with Fred MacMurray. Rather, I am a Scout Leader, and can relate to many of the things in the picture, and that made it a special delight for me.

This was Kurt Russell's first Disney picture. He is wonderful here as the reluctant boy with a drunken father. While he loves his dad, he is embarrassed when others see him. I have seen scouts in these positions.

With my two sons in Scouting, they enjoyed this movie very much. Even my daughter, who is a Girl Scout, liked it too. A measure of a great film is when it makes you want to see it again.

Out of my usual four-star rating system, I would give this: ***.5
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A little background to the movie
scgkj27 May 2006
Just thought I would share what little I know about this movie.

Mackinlay Kantor was born in my hometown of Webster City, Iowa. He belonged to Boy Scout troop #17. He would have been 16 years old in 1920 so that gives you an idea when he was in scouts. My understanding is that he wrote the book to honor the Boy scouts and their leaders and he wanted to do so because of the great experiences he had a scout. I don't know how much of the movie is true but I do know there is at least one thing in the movie which reflects Webster City. It's nothing more than the name of a street but it's something anyway.

When I was a scout in the mid 70's we met in the upstairs of an old school building. All over the walls were posters which listed the winners of some of the annual contests that the troop held each year. Mackinlay Kantor's name was up there several times for having won several contests.

The name of my Scout leader in the 70's was a man named John McMurray. The man who founded Troop 17 in Webster City was a man named Murray McMurray. Their family has run a chick hatchery of all things in Webster City for years and it is still a thriving business today. Murray would have been Mackinlay Kantors Scout leader and I'm sure a big reason why he wrote the book. Murry, by the way, was a local banker who started the hatchery on the side. So he wasn't a musician like Lem was per say but his commitment to the town and to scouts is obviously reflected in the book and movie.

At this writing it is Memorial Day weekend 2006. There is a reunion being held this weekend in Webster City for all scouts who ever were in Troop 17. Among other things John McMurray will be speaking and concerning the movie Follow Me Boys? They will be be playing it twice for everybody there to go and see.

If you grew up in Webster City and were a scout this movie holds a little bit more than the usual emotions.
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A well-acted feel-good tear-jerker
jayrnj12 June 2004
I was six years old when I saw this movie in the theaters in 1966. Back then the screens were big and a little kid like me, seeing other kids on screen looking bigger-than-life, wanted to be just like them. I never joined the boy scouts, but the film's somewhat typical Disney values definitely had an influence on me. Now let's fast-forward almost 40 years later and look at the film from a grown-up perspective. The acting here is marvelous. Anyone over 40 knows all about Fred MacMurray and the great actor that he was, both on TV and in films. Throw in the pretty Vera Miles, the legendary Lillian Gish, and the I-know-his-voice-from-Saturday-morning-cartoons Charlie Ruggles, and it all comes together nicely. The best part of this film? Not the catchy Sherman Brothers theme song...but perhaps one of the best child-actor performances ever...Kurt Russel. Want a movie where you'll cry a bit but then feel real good at the end? Follow this one!
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Times of happiness and opening a door to a wonderful world..
aliemre62718 December 2001
Follow me boys is an excellent movie that attracts you for a long time.I watched that movie when I was 8 (1989) but still I remember it (2001,age 21).The story was powerful and so on the cast (children players). I think it is not only a children classic but also a movie that every individual must see.
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A man becomes a scoutmaster and has some funny adventures with the troop.good drama/comedy
Doc_Who3 August 2001
In this movie a man moves into a town in the 1940 or it is 1930'(not sure which) a starts a new job. Then one day during a town meeting he volunteers to lead the local Boy Scout Troop. Of course this also leads to romance(it is Disney movie so it's standard) with one of the town's women. The only bad thing is she is going out with a rich,snobby guy . Eventually they both fall in love and get married. A young Kurt Russell also stars in this movie as boy always getting into trouble and treating the other boys meanly. The scout troop has pleanty of misadventures including accidently getting into a miltary "war games" .

Then many years World War 2 arrives. The young man who was always teasing everyone is now a soldier and a doctor.he also married a fellow solider. Everyone else in the orginal troop grew up as well. The troop honors their former scoutmaster with a touching day honoring him. If you like Fred Mccurray or Kurt Russell you might like this movie! This moive is a good drama/comedy.. It makes one wonder why Disney does not make these kinds of movies any more besides all this stupid live action movies. This movie was fresh in 1966 and it's still fresh today!

One question though.. When/Will will this come out on DVD?
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When Individuals Mattered
JohnnySTL21 June 2001
Follow Me, Boys! is a feel good film with an impressive cast. It's a snapshot of a time when there was a true sense of community that we rarely see today. A time when personal values carried more weight than profits.

The film delivers a powerful message of just how much difference a single person can make by leading through example. I think with today's media glut of flashy superstardom and wealth and narcissism, many us have lost sight of how much force there is in simply being a kind and honest person. I certainly walked away re-evaluating some of my motivations and behaviors. Just how do I affect the people around me on a daily basis?
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Hickory Is High On Lem
cutterccbaxter31 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
MacMurray plays a character named Lemuel Siddons, a member of a big band in the early 1930s who is tired of the endless traveling involved with that occupation. He wants to settle down somewhere so he can study law. On a whim he picks Hickory (Population 4,951) located somewhere in the Midwest of the United States of America. He immediately meet-cutes Vida Downey, who is played by Vera Miles, by stepping on her foot as he catches a fly ball from a baseball game played by a bunch of kids. She takes an immediate disliking to him, which means they are eventually going to get married. Before this happens, Lemuel, or as he is more commonly known as, Lem, volunteers to organize a Boy Scout troop at a town meeting which impresses Vida. The movie focuses on MacMurray and the positive effect he has on the various groups of boys he leads over the years. Sctructually the film flows somewhat awkwardly. That is the pacing lingers, and then leaps forward, and then lingers again. In a way, it's sort of a poor man's "It's A Wonderful Life" as Lem never really pursues his goal of becoming a lawyer, but instead finds great satisfaction in his marriage to Vida and his commitment as a Scout leader. The difference between Lem and George Bailey is that Lem knows he has it good the entire time, which means most of the drama comes from guiding the troubled Kurt Russle character. Once this part of the movie is concluded the films sort of feels rudderless until it makes it way to the final scene where Lem is honored by the community. The film has a nice positive spirit to it, but it still could have used more drama to make Lem's life all the more poignant.
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Boy Scout troop memories
Baldach4 March 2003
I first saw this movie during the mid 1980's when I was at Boy Scout ski retreat. We were staying at a church (cheap lodging) and watched this movie twice (Friday and Saturday nite). The first time our troop saw we were intrigued by movie. There are few movies about Boy Scouts out there so this movie was a delight. The second time being rowdy teens the Scouts began to pandeomine and ad-lib the lines. For example during the scene when the wife tells Fred McMurray that she can not have any kids. One of the boys shouted "Don't touch her, she's sterile" A delightful movie, a bit corny at times (the behavior seems outdated compared to modern times) but still an excellent movie.
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great movie
indianman7 October 2004
I found that this movie is the best boyscout movie ever made. It has a great cast with Kurt Russell and Fred McMurray leading the amazing cast. With Vera Miles and the rest making it could holsom movie that everybody will enjoy young and old. It shows how one man can take a group of boys and send them off into the world to become doctors and even the governor of what ever state this movie is set in, and how a pull of a string can give a group of boys a great adventure. This movie is start in the early formation of the boyscout movement and ends in the early 1950. It can be seen how the troop in the movie changes through the years. It is a good movie and is a must for every body to see.
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Societal Values have Degenerated - Thank God the Boy Scouts Haven't!
Frank Alexander27 September 2015
I've seen a couple of reviews decry this movie, 50 years after the fact, for poor values or "teaching the kids wrong things." That is the silliest thing I have seen. This movie was a good movie in 1966, and remains so fifty years later. The Scouts NEVER have changed their mission to help boys grow into upright men; America has decided for some reason that upright men are bad and that good values are bad.

Too bad. In what remains of the real USA, men still are men, not women. The Scouts taught generations of boys how to be upright, forthright men. If that is bad, call this former Scout a bad man...and my sons...and my grandson.

We are what holds this country together while the critics try to tear it apart. By the grace of God, that shall never happen.
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Every small town Scout's story
bobmccanless7 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I think the strength of the film - at least for those of us who grew up during the "Mayberry Days" of our country - is, that - if you were ALSO a Scout during those days, this film IS your story as well.

I grew up in the 70's and early 80's in rural NC - not far removed from the inspiration for the fictional Mayberry, in many respects. While Fred MacMurray's name is in the credits, my Scoutmaster could just as easily have played this part. A tall man himself - a Korean War veteran - and a leader by example, he was a man of few words, but like Scoutmaster Lem, they always seemed to be the RIGHT words, and for impressionable boys of that age, that's what matters.

In 25 years of service to my troop - 17 of those as Scoutmaster - over 50 boys in my small town made Eagle Scout - including myself and my younger brother. The uniforms are older, and the kids names are a little different, but I recognize my own youth - my own Scouting adventures - in this big screen production. And when Lem finally gets his parade, we can all rejoice over all the Scouting leaders who made us the men we are today.
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Fun movie and a look back in time
dicknielson27 June 2006
I loved it for the look back at how things worked some 50 years ago. I know it is sugar coated. But the importance that people put in different things back then is good to see.

I love the view of how scouting as an organized group can bring the boys and the community together. My kids loved it and watch it again and again. That does not happen much with movies.

Well filmed and though it has comedy moments it dives into the seriousness of growing up in a small town. The acting is pretty much the same for all movies at the time - a little melodramatic, but during that time period you can expect that. Movies were for all ages adult to kids. So you see silliness in the middle of serious moments.

great film
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A nice slice of old America
Andy Howlett10 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
OK, this is sentimental corn - but it's by Disney (who were masters of the art at this time) and it gives us a warm, affectionate look at small-town America during the 'Golden Age'. Even better, it stars Fred McMurray, who gives a skillful performance as Lem Siddons, the trainee Lawyer who gives it all up to get married, settle down and head up the local Scout Troop. He seems to hit just the right note throughout. It's all light-hearted stuff, but it does touch upon adult themes, quite darkly at times. One such scene is when Whitey's alchoholic father turns up at the meeting to serve up some melting ice-cream. Whitey's horror and embarrassment is most touching. I'm not afraid to say there were a few occasions where I almost had to reach for my hankie, and the ending is just so nice. A perfect Sunday Afternoon film. Just one complaint - why was it hacked down from 1.66:1 to 1.33:1 for this release?
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This Town Has To Have a Boy Scout Troop
bkoganbing22 September 2011
One of Walt Disney's best feature films from the Sixties, Follow Me Boys is a two hour tribute to the Boy Scouts and to one man's dedication to them. And the odd thing is that Fred MacMurray got into Scouting for the most basic of all human reasons.

Fred MacMurray arrives at this whistle stop of a Midwest town while with a traveling band in the Roaring Twenties. He's frustrated both trying to study law and play the saxophone for Ken Murray's band. On an impulse he's so taken with the town that he makes a decision right there to stay. He sees a help wanted sign in the window of Charlie Ruggles general store and Ruggles hires him right there. And of course there's the sight of Vera Miles working at the bank across the street that really makes him want to stay.

In fact at a town meeting MacMurray suggests that a Scout Troop be formed as an activity for the kids. When Elliott Reid who is Miles's boss at the bank and MacMurray's rival demurs saying he doesn't have the time to be a Scoutmaster, MacMurray moves right on in, mainly to make an impression with Miles.

After that the Scouts become his life and MacMurray like George Bailey in It's A Wonderful Life becomes the leading citizen of that town. He's the moulder of the youth and biggest influence on their character. And in one case he and Miles become foster parents to Kurt Russell and save him from what would have been a dissolute life.

There's a little bit of Boys Town in this film because there aren't any really bad boys here as Father Flanagan opined. But the main influence on this film adapted from a MacKinley Kantor story is Goodbye Mr. Chips. MacMurray does everything, but teach school for them.

Best scenes are when the kids are trapped in some army war games and through Boy Scout ingenuity come through it just fine.

Follow Me Boys gives Fred MacMurray one of his best roles in a Disney feature and it holds up well for today's audience.
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Could've been a Classic....
smenapache22 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I as well have been waiting years for this movie to come out. My father took us to see it as children several years ago (no doubt a re-lease at the time since I am only 36 now.. much younger then Kurt Russell) I faintly remembered bits and pieces of it, and every scene I remembered took place in the first 80 minutes... the last "Stretched Out" 40 minutes was completely forgettable and after watching it again for the first time tonight in probably 32 years I can see why I forgot that part entirely. Maybe in the theaters it had all the children put to sleep. Either with Court Hearings, Legal Jargin or simpling getting older and not knowing how to end it. The first 80 minutes of the film is good enough to compete with ANY Live Action Disney film of the time, from "That Darn Cat" to "The Apple Dumpling Gang", it's wholesome and sweet and reminds you of everything that was once good about your life and that time period.. then out of nowhere the writers decide to "Advance" time for some reason and they take FORTY minutes to show how some of these great characters get old, retire or DIE. What could've been done in 5 minutes completely takes all the air out of the movie.. Kurt Russel's final scene takes place at around 80 minutes into it, and after that it's like trying to know new kids and a new troop and so on and so on. Granted, as an EagleScout myself, that's what a BoyScout Master goes through in their lives... one troop after another, with new faces, but for storytelling purposes and an audience getting to know the characters, this is a shot to the gut, like someone switched the DVD's on you and you're watching an entirely new film.

Like I said, for the first 80 minutes of this, it was enough to be called a Classic with the Likes of "Swiss Family Robinson" and the "Love Bug" and they could've EASILLY wrapped up the "later years" in a 5-minute segment to leave you with a smile on your face instead of confusion or disappointment in thinking "well that was.... okay I guess." It could've been Perfect... It could've been a classic.
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What a shame.
magellan33316 August 2007
What a shame that Hollywood can no longer put out movies as fine as this. "Follow Me Boys" is a most enjoyable film about a man with high ambitions finding himself very happy with a life so ordinary. Lem sought to someday be a lawyer but instead finds great fulfillment mentoring the boys of a small town. He takes the job of scout master to gain the attention of a local lady. His job as scout master turns out to be most fulfilling and he gets the girl! While Fred MacMurray does a fine job in the lead role, the film is not all about him. During the story you see what a positive effect his leadership has on the boys he mentors in the Boy Scouts. A very young and somewhat troubled boy named Whitey, played by Kurt Russell, joins Lem's scout troop and much like Lem finds it an unexpected life changing experience. "Follow Me Boys" is a very entertaining and very wholesome movie. It's a shame Hollywood, or even Disney, can't put out films like this anymore.
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Oh how powerful, the power of a choice
jcholguin17 June 2001
Lem Siddons travels the country with a band playing music but really wanting to be a lawyer. He realizes that he must settle down first. Upon entering a small town he decides to make that choice and stays behind. He finds a job sweeping floors and other odds and ends in a general store. The town needs a boy scout leader and Lem takes on the responsibility. He begins to develop close relationships with the boys he is in charge of. Kurt Russell is the problem boy that needs a father figure because his own is the town drunk. Lem and all the boys grow together as a family. A touching end when all the grown boys come back to honor a much older Lem in a town celebration of his life. A wonderful story which shows the power of making a tough decision.
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The loss of Americana
Dude-2013 November 1998
Follow Me Boys is a wonderful film that deals with the life of Lem, played by Fred McMurray, and his tenureship as a scoutmaster in a small mid-western town. As a scout myself, I feel a sense of loss when I watch this film. It shows a community that supports the youth and wish to see them grow into mature people. Too bad it isn't that way any more.
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A delightful Disney film that will stay with you!
guidafamily-121 September 2004
Fred McMurray is a saxophone player who is looking to settle down and finds the small town of Hickory to be just the place. To impress Vera Miles, he offers to form and lead a Boy Scout troop, which eventually leads to the title song, which I've had in the back of my mind since seeing this movie in 1966!

The movie is a Disney-esque look at small town America and also how one person can make a difference. Kurt Russell is great and the scenes with him defending his father are poignant.

This movie is unapologetically corny and wonderful. It has made a lasting impression on me and I recommend it heartily.
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The year was 1930
Tony_in_Orlando18 June 2004
The year the movie takes place is 1930. This is a really good Scout movie (I'm a CubMaster), and I just saw this movie last night (6/17/04) on DVD. It takes the main characters through 20 years to 1950, showing how the town, the Troop, and the characters all change.

Something interesting about it: They can age the adult actors by 20 years, but not the kids, of course. That makes it kind of interesting today to see the actor they used to show Kurt Russell in his 30's. in the movie his character is about 13. They had to do that with all the child actors, but it's most noticeable with Kurt, since he starred in so many other later movies. This was also apparently his first movie.
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When boys were boys, and movies were movies!
OCOKA15 June 2004
Warning: Spoilers
<Warning: Minor spoilers contained herein.> I first saw this movie in 1976 at a theatre during a summer re-release of this movie done by Walt Disney at that time. Even at age eight, I could feel the campiness and see through its mid-60's cliché-ridden script filled with small-town, pollyanna-ish schmaltz.

Nevertheless, the movie continues to strike a chord for young boys and those associated, or those who have been associated with scouting, which was why I welcomed it yet again, when I saw it three years later at the age of 11 in the summer of 1979 while at Boy Scout camp in northern Wisconsin.

Of course, we were hootin' and hollerin' at its corniness and antiquity, but it seemed appropriate at the time to throw popcorn at our makeshift screen, due to the squalid splendor of our surroundings in the deep woods of Wisconsin. However, there were a few scenes that I welcomed seeing again at age 11, that perhaps I hadn't really connected with at age eight when I first saw it.

For starters, there was the scene involving Whitey's father, the town drunk, showing up for Whitey's BSA Troop 'Dads' Night' meeting on a hot summer night, thoroughly sloshed, with several buckets of melting and dripping vanilla ice cream in hand for the boys to enjoy -- much to the consternation of the other fathers and the undisguised embarrassment and disgust of Whitey.

Then, there was the scene showing Whitey's flair for lifesaving and savoir faire when he slaps the bejeesus out of a blubbering troop member during a scout mountain hike gone awry.

Although it has been 25 years since I last saw this film, I've come to the conclusion that despite this film's abundance of chauvinism and anachronisms, what does work for this film, even nowadays, is its paying homage to certain American rites of passage that have for the last 75 years or so, remained essentially unchanged.

A must see for anyone who was or is a boy, or who has boys of their own.
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Don't Follow This.
Python Hyena10 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Follow Me, Boys! (1966): Dir: Norman Tokar / Cast: Fred MacMurray, Vera Miles, Lillian Gish, Kurt Russell, Elliot Reid: Routine family comedy about leadership and inspiration as a lawyer played by Fred MacMurray quits his practice and settles into a small town where he eventually leads a scout troop. Simple plot is charming yet overdone with too many subplots. One involving a war game is perhaps too disturbing for its target audience. Director Norman Tokar wraps it up within a message regarding one life affecting so many but the material is at the mercy of its lead. MacMurray is excellent as a guy who is thrust into a lifestyle outside his comfort zone and he pretty much carries the film. Vera Miles as his wife is pretty standard issue. She provides reason and support but little else. Lillian Gish plays a victim of gossip. She is a reminder that she was part of the beginning of feature film but regardless of that, she is still cardboard here. A young Kurt Russell plays a boy on the wrong side of the track but even this is recycled. Are we to be surprised when the troubled Russell turns out to be misunderstood? Elliot Reid appears long enough to lose Miles to MacMurray and then hopefully he leaves the set in search of a better film. Message of legacy holds a lasting impression while the screenwriter leaves an impression that perhaps he is in the wrong business. Score: 4 ½ / 10
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An overlooked classic
vranger15 June 2008
I saw this movie in the theater when I was nine years old, and again just this week after buying the DVD for my grandkids.

It was even better from my adult viewpoint, and I remembered loving it as a kid. I've whistled the "Follow Me Boys" tune off and on all my life.

The story is told in a series of set pieces, much like the style of "It's a Wonderful Life". They hang together so well that you get a true sense of the passage of time within a recognizable framework of the town, and the characters and their lives.

You'll end the movie wishing you had grown up in that town, and wishing that Fred MacMurray (or his character Lem Siddons), had been your friend and neighbor.

If you don't shed a tear or two at the end, you're not human.
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A Disney and movie classic.
tthompson-119 March 2006
For it's day and age (and our age as well) this is a truly fine film.

It's full of the good things many of us remember with an interesting story line and well done acting. This is a movie that I can watch every few months when I want to see a movie about a simpler time and feel great by the end.

Fred MacMurray has been in many very good movies but this one, and "The Nutty Professor", could be his best. His personality seems to fit the part of Lam Siddons perfectly.

I'm certainly glad this has been released on DVD so we can enjoy the movie like it was originally.

I love the characters and the values the movie portrays.

I put this in my small group of classics that deserve 10's.

The Generic Critic

P.S. I just thought someone should have punched "Ralph" in the nose.
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rocksmeller13 March 2006
I saw this film when it came out. Did not realize that McKinley Kantor (was he any relation to Eddie?) wrote the book. The film was my late uncle Bill, exactly! Fred MacMurrany reminds me so much of my uncle. I was in his troop. We had a wonderful troop and this was a superb and inspiring movie! The film drew a large crowd at our local theater. Walt Disney may have shown it on his Sunday night television show a time or two but I don't recall the film being shown ever again, whether on the screen or on t.v. A shame. The kids today could learn a thing or two from it. May have been a little corny, even at the time, but had good values and a good moral. We certainly need this type of film today. Somewhat similar to "The Music Man" but not as comical.
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