Benji the Hunted
|Benji the Hunted|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Joe Camp|
|Produced by||Ben Vaughn|
|Written by||Joe Camp|
|Edited by||Karen Thorndike|
Walt Disney Pictures
Mulberry Square Productions
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Distribution|
|Box office||$22.3 million|
Benji the Hunted is a 1987 children's drama film about a dog trying to survive in the wilderness. It was released by Walt Disney Pictures. This was the last Benji movie to star Benjean, daughter of Higgins, in the title role.
Benji has become lost in a remote area of Oregon after a boating accident. He finds himself struggling to survive in the wilderness, avoiding close encounters with a timber wolf, a brown bear, and a territorial female cougar with her cub.
Shortly after washing ashore, Benji sees a cougar gunned down by a hunter. Benji attempts to comfort the dying animal, but is chased away by the hunter, who then retrieves the dead cat and marches off with her draped over his shoulders. Benji subsequently encounters four orphaned cougar cubs, belonging to the killed cougar, and he attempts to shield them from predation. He encounters various animals including an owl, and a raccoon. He is temporarily captured by the hunter while trying to steal some food from him for the cubs, but manages to escape. He finds another mother cougar and spends most of the film trying to introduce the orphans to the mother so she will adopt them. Meanwhile, Benji's master Frank Inn is searching for him by helicopter and Benji deliberately hides so as not to be prevented from saving the cubs.
A black timber wolf relentlessly pursues the cubs. One of the cubs is carried off by an eagle. In the final encounter and chase with the timber wolf, Benji tricks the timber wolf by hiding in the bushes that shields the cliff behind it and sends the timber wolf falling off the cliff to his death.
Benji ultimately succeeds in introducing the cubs to the mother cougar, leading to her adopting the cubs. In the final scene Benji heads in the direction of the search helicopter to be rescued.
Apart from a news report at the beginning of the movie setting up the plot and three encounters with the hunter, the action is entirely animal activity in the wilderness.
- Benjean as Benji
- Frank Inn as himself, Benji's owner
- Red Steagall as the hunter
- Nancy Francis as Mary Beth McLaulin, a news reporter
- Joe Camp as the TV director (voice)
- Steve Zanolini as the producer (voice)
- Mike Francis as the TV cameraman
- Ben Vaughn as the engineer's hand
- Karen Thorndike countdown (voice)
- Guy Hovis as the balladeer
- Ben Morgan as himself
On Siskel & Ebert & The Movies, film critic Roger Ebert gave "Thumbs Up" rating for the film. Gene Siskel gave the film a "Thumbs Down," accusing Ebert of liking the film more than Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket, which was released the same year. In response, Ebert insisted that every film needs to be judged in its proper context.
It grossed $22,257,624 at the US box office.
- Scott, A. O. (June 25, 2015). "Review: In 'Max,' a Shellshocked Dog Reverts to His Heroic Self". The New York Times. Retrieved October 19, 2017.
- Rotten Tomatoes, "Benji the Hunted (1987)". Accessed June 20, 2017.
- Box Office Mojo, "Benji the Hunted". Accessed June 21, 2017.