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Harvey Cheyne (Freddie Bartholomew) is a twelve-year-old insufferable spoiled brat. The son of a wealthy business tycoon (Melvyn Douglas), Harvey constantly uses his money and position to manipulate the people around him. His awful behavior alienates his school chums at the posh boarding school he attends, and eventually he gets suspended. Harvey's schoolmasters advise his neglectful father to spend more time with him to help straighten him out. When Harvey accompanies his father on a luxury liner bound for Europe, an accident caused by his own arrogance sends him overboard into the icy waters of the North Bank. He is rescued by Manuel (Spencer Tracy), a Portuguese fisherman, who takes him aboard the We're Here, a commercial fishing schooner led by the salty Captain Disko Troop (Lionel Barrymore). Harvey immediately starts giving orders only to learn that he's not the boss here and in fact will have to wait until the fishermen finish their haul in another two or three months. During that period of time, he will get an education in the real world and go from being a spoiled brat to a young man of great promise.

Director: Victor Fleming
Writers: John Lee Mahin, Marc Connelly, Dale Van Every
Based on the Novel By: Rudyard Kipling
Producers: Louis D. Lighton, Sam Katz
Cinematography: Harold Rosson
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons
Editing: Elmo Veron
Music: Franz Waxman
Sound: Douglas Shearer
Cast: Freddie Bartholomew (Harvey Cheyne), Spencer Tracy (Manuel), Lionel Barrymore (Capt. Disko Troop), Melvyn Douglas (Mr. Cheyne), Charles Grapewin (Uncle Salters), Mickey Rooney (Dan Troop), John Carradine ("Long Jack"), Oscar O'Shea (Cushman), Jack LaRue (Priest), Walter Kingsford (Dr. Finley), Donald Briggs (Tyler), Sam McDaniels ("Doc"), Billy Burrud (Charles).
BW-117m. Closed Captioning. Descriptive Video.


Captains Courageous was a hit at the box office and considered one of MGM's best films of the 1930s. It was nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture. The briny coming of age adventure adapted from Rudyard Kipling's classic novel touched the hearts of moviegoers of all ages.

Actor Spencer Tracy won his first Best Actor Academy Award for his work in the film as Manuel. It was an uncharacteristically tender role that he had taken reluctantly, but it came to be one of his best loved performances.

Child star Freddie Bartholomew gives one of his finest and most memorable performances in Captains Courageous. Although his name has faded from public consciousness since his heyday in the 1930s, one need only watch this film to appreciate what a stunningly remarkable natural talent Bartholomew possessed.

Captains Courageous was the first of five films that Spencer Tracy made with director Victor Fleming, whose direction of the production was so sure-footed and successful that Tracy learned to trust his judgment. Following Captains Courageous they made Test Pilot (1938), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941), Tortilla Flat (1942), and A Guy Named Joe (1943) together.

by Andrea Passafiume

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