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John Henry (2000)

Disney's retelling of the legend of John Henry, the steel-driving man.

Director:

Mark Henn

Writers:

Shirley Pierce (screenplay), Broose Johnson (story supervisor) | 1 more credit »
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Alfre Woodard ... Polly / Narrator (voice)
Geoffrey Jones Geoffrey Jones ... John Henry (voice)
Tim Hodge ... MacTavish (voice)
Dave Murray Dave Murray ... Thomas (voice)
Carrie Harrington Carrie Harrington ... Singing Voice of Polly (voice)
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Storyline

John Henry, a freed slave, happens across a railroad building project. An entire crew of freed slaves has been promised land if they can finish by deadline, but they're exhausted and unable to continue. John, though, has the strength of ten men, and revitalizes all of them. But despair sets in again when the railroad sends a steam hammer to replace the crew and burns the contract. John proposes a challenge: man against machine. After a heroic effort, including a tunnel through solid rock by swinging two hammers at once, John wins, but he also collapses in his wife Polly's arms. She's recounting this whole story to their young son, to explain why his father was so great. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 October 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

John Henry See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Walt Disney Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color (Technicolor)
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The director, Mark Henn, is a collector of antique firearms. The pistol in the film used to start the race is based on one of his own Civil War era pistols. See more »

Connections

Featured in American Legends (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The fact this is so unusual is its biggest asset
19 December 2015 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

The traditional story of John Henry is brought to life in this very unusual Disney short. I like some of the unusual qualities...one in particular I didn't. The quilt-like look and colors were great--and really eye-catching. I also liked the nice spiritual style of the music which dominates the film. What I wasn't so fond of was the unfinished look that the animators deliberately used--with pencil marks appearing and disappearing throughout the film--like they forgot to erase them. Stylish? Perhaps...but I thought it made an otherwise good film look unfinished. As for the story, it's pretty much the familiar folk tale--about an ex-slave named John Henry who does battle against a steam-powered machine and wins...at a big cost. Worth seeing but it just missed the mark.


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