The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story (2009)

PG  |   |  Documentary  |  24 April 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 523 users   Metascore: 78/100
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A documentary about Robert B. Sherman & Richard M. Sherman -- aka The Sherman Brothers -- the Academy Award and Grammy-winning songwriters.


, (as Jeffrey C. Sherman)
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A documentary about Robert B. Sherman & Richard M. Sherman -- aka The Sherman Brothers -- the Academy Award and Grammy-winning songwriters.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Brothers, Partners, Strangers



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild thematic elements, smoking images and brief language


Official Sites:



Release Date:

24 April 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Boys: L'histoire des frères Sherman  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$19,875 (USA) (22 May 2009)


$54,852 (USA) (4 September 2009)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Robert B. Sherman: [talking about Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers] She was such a witch.
See more »

Crazy Credits

A picture of Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman receiving the National Medal of Arts at the White House on November 2008 is shown. See more »


Features Beverly Hills Cop III (1994) See more »


The Life I Lead
Words & Music by Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman
Courtesy of Walt Disney Records
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User Reviews

Their songs will keep them ever young for generations to come
22 January 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Although I've been a movie buff most of my life, for my first few decades I didn't pay much attention to the people behind the movies, other than the actors. So, when I began studying the silver screen in earnest several years ago, I was surprised at the list of accomplishments of the Sherman Brothers. Then, I recently watched a newer DVD of "Mary Poppins," which I hadn't watched for many years. It had some bonus video short subjects, including background on the music. That peaked my interest more and I bought the DVD of the Sherman Brothers' story, "The Boys." I was further surprised to learn of their personality clashes over time. While they never broke out in angry turmoil, it became too stressful for Robert, who then moved away.

That their different interests, personalities and characters should be a source of creative conflict is amazing. But, they both testify to that in the numerous interview snippets included in this biographical documentary. The separation of their families for nearly four decades – when they lived just houses away from each other while the kids were growing up – that was tragic. All the more reason to congratulate their sons Gregory and Jeffrey for meeting to bury the hatchets they didn't even know they had, and make this biodoc as a way to tell the story of the Sherman Brothers and their accomplishments. And, in the process, to hopefully get their dads back together.

The documentary is first-rate in all aspects. It is excellent work, with excellent material that they researched and put together from the past. The interviews with others who worked with The Boys were spot on. And, this DVD too has some bonus material that gives even more information.

I'm sure that the people interviewed are right – that many of the Sherman Brothers' songs will live on for generations. The most popular and well known are "Chim Chim Cher-ee," "A Spoonful of Sugar," "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," "Winnie the Pooh," "The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers," "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," "It's a Small World," and "Anything Can Happen." The brothers had great praise and admiration for Walt Disney. It was he who made them the resident music creators for all of the Disney ventures. Besides the two Oscars they won, they had dozens of nominations for major awards over the years and won a number.

They wrote 31 major movie scores, live action and animated, for Disney and others. They wrote dozens of songs for the Disney theme parks and for the Disney TV programs. Several became pop hits over the years – in addition to the above songs from their shows.

One thing that I found especially interesting about Bob, was his experience toward the end of World War II. He had just turned 17 and got permission form his parents to enlist in the Army in 1943. In this film, Bob says he and his squad were the first Americans to enter the Dachau prison camp. He said the sight of the corpses and ovens would be "nightmares for the rest of my life."

The film has a number of interviews with A.J. Carothers. He was a long- time playwright and TV writer with Disney, and a close friend of both Bob and Richard. He said that the positive songs of the boys were uplifting to everyone who worked around them. He described their musical output as joyful, fun and romantic. They didn't create sentimental music, but romantic songs. He quoted author F. Scott Fitzgerald for his definition. "A sentimental person thinks things will last, and a romantic hopes against hope they will not." That's from Fitzgerald's first novel, "This Side of Paradise."

Bob tells a story about how they came up with the word, "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." "When we were really young kids, we went to summer camp. And, they had a contest. Who could make a longer word than antidisestablishmentarianism. That was a very famous word. And, we messed around. We came up with an idea for a word."

The Boys and others have asked how many people can say "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" backwards. Richard said he could, and he rattled off a word. Unfortunately, the IMDb review won't accept my giving these examples with syllable breaks. The Web site says that my review contains too many spelling mistakes. So, I will just finish this with general references here. Julie Andrews said it the same way, but she admitted it as the syllables in reverse order – not the full word actually spelled and pronounced backwards. But even that wasn't the case, because in their example they recited six of the seven syllable breaks in reverse order but then said super backwards as well. So, their rendition is a mixed bag of some of the syllables backwards and in reverse order. For fun, I think spelled the word in reverse with syllable breaks for those who might want to take a crack at it. With this, it's obvious why the songwriters chose to try for just saying the syllables in reverse.

For trivia fans, the one-word song title has 34 letters and uses 15 of the 26 letters of the alphabet. Of those, 16 are vowels and 18 are consonants. The vowel used most is the letter "i," which appears seven times. I offer this all in the spirit of the Sherman Brothers and Walt Disney who brought us so much laughter and many smiles in their music, movies and stories.

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