Ferdinand the Bull (film)

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Ferdinand the Bull
Poster for Ferdinand the Bull
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDick Rickard
Produced byWalt Disney
Based onThe Story of Ferdinand
by Munro Leaf
StarringMilt Kahl
Narrated byDon Wilson
Music byAlbert Hay Mallotte
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release date
November 25, 1938
Running time
7 minutes, 14 seconds
CountryUnited States

Ferdinand the Bull is a 1938 American stand-alone animated short produced by Walt Disney Productions and released on November 25, 1938 by RKO Radio Pictures. It was directed by Dick Rickard and based on the book, The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. The music was by Albert Hay Malotte, most known for his setting of The Lord's Prayer, commonly sung at weddings.


There are many bulls, romping together and butting their heads. Ferdinand was different. All he wanted to do all day was go under a shady cork tree and smell the flowers. One day his mother noticed that he was not playing with the other bulls. His mom asked him why. He said,'All I want to do is to sit and smell the flowers!' His mother is very understanding.

Ferdinand grew over the years until he was as big as the tree. The other bulls wanted to accomplish one goal in life; to be in the bullfights in Madrid, Spain, but not Ferdinand. Then one day, five strange-looking men were there to see the bulls. When the bulls noticed them, they fought as rough as possible, hoping that they would get picked, but not Ferdinand, who continued to smell the flowers. Ferdinand went to sit without knowing there was a bumblebee. The pain of the bee's sting made him go on a crazy rampage, knocking the other bulls out, and eventually tearing down a tree. The five men cheered as they took Ferdinand to Madrid.

There was a lot of excitement when the day of the bullfight came. On posters, they called him Ferdinand the Fierce. At the ring came out banderilleros, picadors and the matador who was being cheered on. When he was bowing, a woman in the audience gave him a bouquet of flowers which landed in his hand. Then the moment came where Ferdinand came out. He was wondering what was he doing there. The banderilleros and picadors were scared and hid, but the matador was scared stiff because Ferdinand was so big and strong. But Ferdinand looked and saw the bouquet of flowers, he walked over, scaring the matador away, but just started smelling the flowers. The matador was very angry that Ferdinand was not charging at him. But Ferdinand was not interested in fighting; he was only interested in smelling the beautiful flowers. Eventually, he was led out of the arena and taken back home where he continued to sit under the cork tree and smell the flowers.



The short film is broadcast in several countries every year on Christmas Eve as a part of the annual Disney Christmas show From All of Us to All of You. The Christmas show is especially popular in Sweden where it has aired since 1959 and has become a Christmas tradition. The replacement of Ferdinand the Bull with The Ugly Duckling in 1982 resulted in public outcry. The next year, in 1983, the change was reverted and Ferdinand the Bull returned to Swedish television.[1]

Ferdinand the Bull won the 1938 Oscar for Best Short Subject (Cartoons). It won against shorts such as Mother Goose Goes Hollywood.

Home video release[edit]

  1. Walt Disney Cartoon Classics Limited Gold Edition II: How the Best Was Won (1933–1960) (VHS) 1985
  2. Walt Disney Mini-Classics: Willie the Operatic Whale (VHS) 1991
  3. Disney Rarities: Celebrated Shorts: 1920s–1960s (DVD) 2005
  4. Walt Disney's Timeless Tales Volume 2: The Ugly Duckling/Wind in the Willows/The Country Cousin (DVD) 2005
  5. Walt Disney Animation Collection: Classic Short Films Volume 6: The Reluctant Dragon (DVD) 2009


  1. ^ Stahl, Jeremy (22 December 2011). "Nordic Quack – Sweden's bizarre tradition of watching Donald Duck cartoons on Christmas Eve". Slate.

External links[edit]