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Captains Courageous Details


A boy learns life-changing lessons about the importance of friendship and the dignity of labor in this adventure saga based on a story by Rudyard Kipling. Young Harvey Cheyne (Freddie Bartholomew) is the working definition of a spoiled brat; the only child of a wealthy widowed businessman, Harvey has everything he needs, but never stops asking for more, convinced he can get anything if he yells, pouts, or throws the right tantrum. Even other boys his age are disgusted with his antics, and when he accompanies his father on an ocean cruise, he finds he has no friends to play with. After wolfing down six ice-cream sodas, Harvey gets sick to his stomach and while vomiting over the side of the ship, he falls into the drink. He is rescued by Manuel (Spencer Tracy), a Portuguese old salt who drags him on board a Gloucester fishing boat where he's a deck hand and doryman. Harvey shows no gratitude to Manuel for saving his life and demands to be taken home immediately; Manuel and the crew, not the least bit sympathetic, inform him that once they've filled the ship's hold with fresh catch, they'll return to shore, and not a moment sooner. Over the next few weeks, Harvey grows from a self-centered pantywaist into a young man who appreciates the value of a hard day's work, and in Manuel he finds the strength, guidance, and good sense that he never got from his father. Spencer Tracy earned an Academy Award for his performance in Captains Courageous and even sings a bit; the story was parodied years later (with a few rather drastic changes) in the Chris Elliott vehicle Chris Elliott. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


Awarded by
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Marc Connolly Best Screenplay 1937 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Spencer Tracy Best Actor 1937 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences John Lee Mahin Best Screenplay 1937 Nominee


Spencer Tracy
as Manuel
Freddie Bartholomew
as Harvey Cheyne
Lionel Barrymore
as Captain Disko
Melvyn Douglas
as Mr. Cheyne
Charles Grapewin
as Uncle Salters
John Carradine
as "Long Jack"
Mickey Rooney
as Dan Troop
Oscar O'Shea
as Cushman
Jack LaRue
as Priest
Walter Kingsford
as Dr. Finley
Donald Briggs
as Tyler
Sam McDaniel
as "Doc"
Billy Burrud
as Charles
Mira McKinney
David Kerman
Tommy Bupp
as Boy
Gil Perkins
Larry Fisher
James Kilgannon
Gene Reynolds
Don Brodie
Dave Wengren
as Lars
Murray Kinnell
as Minister
William Stack
as Elliott
Jimmy Conlin
as Thin Man
Wade Boteler
as Skipper of Blue Gill
Leo G. Carroll
as Burns
Philo McCullough
Lester Dorr
as Corridor Steward
Sherry Hall
Charles Coleman
as Butler
Norman Ainsley
as Robbins
Frank Sully
as Taxi Driver
Charles Trowbridge
as Dr. Walsh
Gladden James
as Secretary Cobb
Bobby Watson
as Reporter
Lloyd Ingraham
as Skipper of Ship
David Thursby
as Tom
Christian Rub
as Old Clement
Dick Howard
Myra Marsh
as Chester's Wife
Jack Sterling
Katherine Kenworthy
as Mrs. Disko
Wally Albright
as Boy
Billy Gilbert
as Soda Steward


Victor Fleming
Marc Connolly
John Lee Mahin
Rudyard Kipling
Book Author
Harold Hal Rosson
Gus Kahn
Clifford Vaughan
Composer (Music Score)
Franz Waxman
Composer (Music Score)
Cedric Gibbons
Art Director
Arnold A. Gillespie
Art Director
Edwin B. Willis
Art Director