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John Henry (2000)

G | | Short, Animation, Musical
Disney's retelling of the legend of John Henry, the steel-driving man.



(screenplay), (story supervisor) | 1 more credit »

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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Polly / Narrator (voice)
Geoffrey Jones ...
John Henry (voice)
MacTavish (voice)
Dave Murray ...
Thomas (voice)
Carrie Harrington ...
Polly - Singing (voice)


John Henry, a freed slave, happens across a railroad building project. An entire crew of freed slaves has been promised land if they can finish by deadline, but they're exhausted and unable to continue. John, though, has the strength of ten men, and revitalizes all of them. But despair sets in again when the railroad sends a steam hammer to replace the crew and burns the contract. John proposes a challenge: man against machine. After a heroic effort, including a tunnel through solid rock by swinging two hammers at once, John wins, but he also collapses in his wife Polly's arms. She's recounting this whole story to their young son, to explain why his father was so great. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

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Did You Know?


The director, Mark Henn, is a collector of antique firearms. The pistol in the film used to start the race is based on one of his own Civil War era pistols. See more »


Featured in American Legends (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

An unusual style makes this Disney short worth checking out.
25 June 2001 | by (Hollywood) – See all my reviews

Considering this was just a project to keep animators occupied, it is a pretty darn impressive film. Disney's take on the tall tale is nothing new, but the style and look of this short is fantastic. The characters were made to look like animation before "clean-up" which is very interesting to watch, and also a brave move on Disney's part! Great backgrounds, too. Let's hope the Mouse takes more chances like this one!

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