Bless the Beasts and Children (1971): Stanley Kramer’s Message Picture about Idealistic Boys

Stanley Kramer’s earnest  feature, Bless the Beasts and Children, is mostly remembered as the film which introduced the song “Nadia’s Theme,” also known as the title music for the popular TV soap, “The Young and the Restless.”

Well-meaning but messagey and heavy-handed like most of Kramer’s films as a director (but not as a producer), “Bless the Beasts and Children” centers on six idealistic boys who rescue of a buffalo herd.

Kramer emphasizes the symbiotic (and symbolic) relationships between the boys and the beasts.  All misfits, outsiders and/or losers, the kids identify completely with the buffalos that are about to be slaughtered.

The plot is slender, and once you get its intent, the tale gets less involving, and more obvious and predictable.

Even so, the location photography (with Catalina standing in for Arizona) is impressive, and so is the Oscar-nominated song.


Oscar Nominations: 1

Song: Bless the Beasts and Children, music and lyrics by Barry DeVorzon and Perry Botkin, Jr.

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The Best Song winner was Isaac Hayes’ theme song from “Shaft.”



MPAA Rating: PG.

Running time: 102 Minutes.

Released: June 1, 1971.