Review: “Pete’s Dragon” (1977)


Release Date: November 3, 1977
Director: Don Chaffey
Writer: Malcolm Marmorstein, Seton I. Miller, S.S. Field
Starring: Helen Reddy, Jim Dale, Mickey Rooney, Red Buttons, Shelley Winters, Sean Marshall, Jane Kean, Jim Backus, Charles Tyner, Gary Morgan, Jeff Conaway, Cal Bartlett, Charlie Callas
Genre: Fantasy

My Thoughts

PetesDragon-coverBut none of that mattered to me as a child because Helen Reddy was all I needed. The first time we see her is when she barges into the saloon looking, with an air of resignation, for her dad. The men manhandle and harass her and not only does she shake it off but then bests them at their own game. She defies gender stereotyping by kicking up her heels and wearing pants. Where Miss Taylor shrieks at losing her petticoat, Nora gleefully hoists up her skirt and dances on beer barrels. She turns social conventions on their head with wit and charm. Watching her convince Miss Taylor to give Pete an “education, education, education” is delightful as they circle each other with a sharp civility, and the fake smiles they offer each other is the icing on the cake. Nora is tough, resilient, and wise. I realize now how much I’ve modeled how I interact with children after her example. She treats Pete with respect while guiding him through difficult decisions in such a way that Pete learns from the experience. Even when she’s sarcastic she’s never hurtful or mean. She cares deeply and genuinely for those who deserve it and is ready to battle those who don’t…

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