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A Bear Named Winnie (2004)

It's 1914, the beginning of WWI. In White River, Ontario, en route to a training camp in Valcartier, Québec, with the Winnipeg section of the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps, Army Lieutenant... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Harry Colebourn
Colonel Barret
General Hallholland
Corporal Randy Taylor
Captain Elliot
Robert Gauvin ...
Sgt. Major Picard
Timmy (as Joshua Ballard)
Miriam Smith ...
Timmy's Mother
Arne MacPherson ...
Wallace (as Arne Macpherson)
Nathan Valente ...
Chris Sigurdson ...
Major Crawford (as Christopher Sigurdson)
Carson Nattrass ...
Captain Osbourn


It's 1914, the beginning of WWI. In White River, Ontario, en route to a training camp in Valcartier, Québec, with the Winnipeg section of the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps, Army Lieutenant Harry Colebourn, who has a natural rapport with animals, saves a black bear cub from being killed by a hunter, who killed the cub's mother. Not knowing what else to do with the cub, Harry brings her along to camp to act as the unit's mascot, who he names Winnie - short for Winnipeg. Most of the men in the unit bond with Winnie, but having such a mascot is against the wishes of the head of the Canadian Expeditionary Force's veterinary division, Colonel Barret. Barret is a tough but fair man, who may have more problems than Winnie in the form of the Expeditionary Force's commanding officer, General Hallholland, a dipsomaniac who uses his position in the army for his own vainglorious purposes. Winnie's stay with Harry and the unit is not always a smooth one, especially in trying to stay under Barret's... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

bear | mascot | bear cub | soldier | zoo | See All (22) »


Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild thematic material and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

12 December 2004 (Canada)  »

Also Known As:

A bear named Winnie  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


At White River Ontario (on the north shore of Lake Superior) there is a park and a large monument to Winnie the bear who became Winnie The Pooh. See more »


The conductor announces arrival at White River while it is dark outside the train yet when the passengers debark, it is sunny. See more »

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User Reviews

"The True Story of the Friendship Between a Canadian Soldier and a Bear Cub"
12 December 2004 | by (Montreal, Canada) – See all my reviews

Here's a quote from the CBC website along with my personal comments at the very end:

"It is August 1914 and World War I has just begun.Lieutenant Harry Colebourn (Michael Fassbender), a veterinarian with the 34th Fort Garry Horse Division, is traveling by train with other soldiers when he buys a bear cub at a rest stop. He names her Winnie, after his home town of Winnipeg and, in spite of all common sense warnings from his fellow soldiers, takes her with him to the camp in Valcartier, Quebec where the Canadian expeditionary force is gathering.

Winnie is a breath of fresh air for the young soldiers faced with the prospect of war, and she travels with them all the way to Salisbury Plain in England.

When Harry's regiment is sent to fight in France, the young vet knows Winnie cannot go. He finds a home for her at the London Zoo, promising to return as soon as the war is over and take her back to Canada.

While Harry and his friends fight in France, Winnie becomes the star attraction at the zoo. For the children of London, living in the shadow of a frightening war, she becomes a symbol of friendship and hope."

What a good way to spend 2 hours. The acting was great, well directed, the sets were appropriate and I did get choked up! (This doesn't happen often, except in Zombie movies).

However, there were some VERY annoying slow-motion shots that looked terrible. Lots of flickering during the slow-motion scenes and bad timing. It should have been omitted.

Final verdict...A very entertaining and educational story about a beloved bear for the whole family.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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