Bless the Beasts and Children (film)

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Bless the Beasts and Children
Bless the Beasts.jpg
Bless the Beasts and Children movie poster
Directed by Stanley Kramer
Screenplay by Mac Benoff
Based on Bless the Beasts and Children 
by Glendon Swarthout
Starring Billy Mumy
Barry Robins
Miles Chapin
Jesse White
Music by Barry De Vorzon
Perry Botkin, Jr.
Cinematography Michel Hugo
Edited by William A. Lyon
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • June 1971 (1971-06) (West Germany)
  • August 1971 (1971-08) (U.S.)
Running time
109 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Bless the Beasts and Children is a 1971 film adaptation of the novel of the same name, by Glendon Swarthout, that was directed by Stanley Kramer, featuring Bill Mumy and Barry Robins.


The story follows a group of six teenaged boys, who share a cabin at a residential summer camp in the western mountains. Each of the boys is a misfit in one way or another; the group is ostracized by the other boys at the camp, and form a bond based, in part, on this broader social isolation. After being taken on a field trip to see a herd of bison selected for culling by local hunters, the boys resolve to sneak away from the camp and set the penned bison free.

The film is presented partially out of sequence; the primary narrative of freeing the bison is interspersed with flashback scenes showing the boys' troubled lives both at the camp, and at their homes.


Production and reception[edit]

A bidding war broke out over the film rights, eventually won by Stanley Kramer.[1] Kramer negotiated with Columbia Pictures for the right to produce and direct the film,[2] which made its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in August, 1971, as the United States' entry in the international competition.[3][4] Kramer later commented on Russian reception of the film, stating that they "viewed [the film] as a preachment against Kent State and My Lai," when he had envisioned more of a statement about the "gun cult" in America and how "easy availability of weapons contributes to violence."[4]

Soundtrack and score[edit]

The music for the film was composed by Barry De Vorzon and Perry Botkin, Jr.. Their score for the movie included an instrumental selection titled "Cotton's Dream," which was later rescored to become the theme song of the soap opera The Young and the Restless (produced by Columbia's television division, now Sony Pictures Television). The soundtrack for the film also includes the movie's theme song performed by The Carpenters. When gymnast Nadia Comaneci used the original music for "Cotton's Dream" for her routines in the 1976 Summer Olympics, the song gained more popularity and was subsequently released in a reedited and lengthened form as "Nadia's Theme."

For their work, De Vorzon and Botkin were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song and the Grammy Award for Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Kramer outbids all," The Dallas Morning News, March 27, 1970, The Dallas Morning News, page 10A.
  2. ^ "'Beasts' picked as Kramer next," The Dallas Morning News, June 28, 1970, page 4.
  3. ^ Associated Press. "U.S. film entry will premiere," The Dallas Morning News, July 27, 1971, page 14.
  4. ^ a b Bob Thomas, Associated Press. "Kramer slaps festival boycott," The Dallas Morning News, August 14, 1971, page 4A.

External links[edit]