Dumbo is one of the shortest animated feature films for Disney to make; released in October of 1943, the film was supposed to be a quick way for Disney to recoup losses from longer features, including Fantasia and Pinocchio, which had left the company is debt. Dumbo did that and continues to be a family favorite, with people watching Dumbo streaming.
The film starred Edward Brophy, Herman Bing, and Margaret Wright, and would win an Academy Award; it also been nominated to several ‘best of’ lists despite criticism of the portrayals of some of the animal-characters within the film. Dumbo tells the story of a baby elephant, with very large ears, who is separated from his mother. Left alone, he makes friends with a circus mouse who helps him discover his inner strength.
With Disney+, you can watch Dumbo online. Dumbo has remained so popular that a live-action remake was released in early 2019, starring Colin Farrell and Danny DeVito. Here’s how to stream Dumbo right now:
How to Stream Dumbo – Exclusively on Disney+
Dumbo is one of the fan-favorite Disney original movies that will be streaming exclusively on Disney’s new subscription streaming service, Disney+.
You can sign up for a 7-day free trial of Disney+ HERE, which will allow you to stream Dumbo and hundreds of other movies and shows on your computer, phone, tablet, smart TV or streaming device. If you extend past the free trial, the service costs $6.99/month. You may also opt for this discount bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99/month.
- 1. Sign up for Disney+ here
- 2. Go to Disneyplus.com or download the Disney+ app on your device
- 3. Log in using your information
- 4. Search for “Dumbo”
- 5. Tap on “Dumbo”
- 6. Tap the PLAY button
Disney+ also boasts a vast library of Disney-owned movies and series — plus several new original series coming soon. The service includes unlimited downloads so you can watch offline whenever and wherever you want. The list of compatible devices and smart TVs includes iPads, Apple TV, Amazon devices, Amazon Fire TV, Android, Chromecast, Roku, PS4, and Xbox One.
Release Date: October 31, 1941
Creators: Helen Aberson, Walt Disney, Otto Englander, Joe Grant, Dick Huemer
Director: Ben Sharpsteen, Norman Ferguson, Wilfred
Starring: Sterling Holloway, Verna Felton, Edward Brophy, Cliff Edwards
Synopsis: Separated from his mother, a baby elephant is ridiculed for his giant ears, but a young circus mouse helps him believe in himself.
How Long Is Dumbo?
Dumbo has a running time of 64 minutes.
A flock of storks delivers new babies to the circus animals, including Mrs. Jumbo, an elephant. Her baby, named Jumbo, Jr., has enormous ears and the other elephants and circus creatures begin making fun of him. They nickname him Dumbo. Mrs. Jumbo tries to ignore the teasing and jibes but becomes angry and spanks one of the animals when he won’t leave Dumbo alone. Mrs. Jumbo is locked in a cage because the circus master thinks she is crazy.
Only Timothy, a young mouse, befriends Dumbo, who is lonely and alone. Timothy convinces the circus master to make Dumbo to the star of the pyramid stunt, hoping that it will help the baby grow more confident, but Dumbo’s ears make him fall, injuring some of the other elephants. They make Dumbo a clown, which does make him the star of the show, but Dumbo doesn’t like his new clown role.
He is more miserable than ever. Timothy takes Dumbo to visit his mother, still locked up in the cage, and she sings to her son, tell him she loves him. When Dumbo starts to cry and hiccup, Timothy gives him a drink of water, but the water has had champagne dumped in it and this makes Dumbo drunk. The next day, Timothy and Dumbo meet a group of crows who think it’s funny that they are in the top branches of a tree.
Timothy believes that Dumbo used his ears to fly into the branches, and explains that this is his gift. The leader of the crows gives Dumbo one of his feathers, and along with Timothy convinces Dumbo the feather is magical and will help him fly again. Timothy convinces Dumbo to fly at the circus instead of being a clown, but when Dumbo tries to fly he panics and drops the crow’s feather. He begins falling but Timothy, who is riding on Dumbo, tells him the feather was never magic and that it’s his ears that are what make him fly.
Dumbo pulls out of the fall and flies. The crowd and Dumbo are all shocked. Dumbo becomes an instant star and Timothy becomes his manager. His first job is to get Mrs. Jumbo released. She and Dumbo stay in the circus, and are given their own train car in which to live.
The cast of Dumbo was led by Hollywood veteran actors including Cliff Edwards, Verna Felton, and Sterling Holloway. Here are the actors best know for their work in Dumbo:
Verna Felton as Mrs. Jumbo
Mrs. Jumbo loves her baby, and wants him to be accepted. Verna Felton is no stranger to Disney films. She appeared in many over the years, with her most notable roles in Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Alice in Wonderland.
She would appear in 48 films over her career and would appear on several Disney soundtracks. In addition to Disney works, her most notable roles include I Love Lucy, The Dennis Day Show, and The George Burns and Gracie Allen show.
Sterling Holloway as Mr. Stork
Mr. Stork delivers Dumbo to Mrs. Jumbo. Sterling Holloway was a veteran character actor in Hollywood who appeared in 181 films and TV series, many of them Disney projects, during his career. In addition to Dumbo, he would appear in The Aristocats, Alice in Wonderland, and The Jungle Book. Outside the Disney universe, Holloway’s most notable roles include F Troop, That Girl, and The Baileys of Balboa.
Edward Brophy as Timothy Q. Mouse
Timothy is Dumbo’s best friend, who teaches him how to believe in himself. Edward Brophy was a character actor best known for adventure films including The Falcon’s Adventure, Freaks, and Whole Town’s Talking. He would appear in 147 film and television roles during his career.
Herman Bing as The Ringmaster
The Ringmaster turns Dumbo into a clown, which makes him a target of ridicule at the circus. Herman Bing was a veteran character actor with 125 film and TV roles in his career. Some of his most notable roles include Sweethearts, The Great Waltz, Rendezvous 24, and Paradise for Three. In addition to acting, Bing was a producer and writer.
Cliff Edwards as Leader of the Crows
The crows seem to make fun of Dumbo, especially their leader, but are also teasing Timothy. They also help Dumbo realize his true worth. Cliff Edwards was an actor best known for his supporting roles in films like His Girl Friday and Fun and Fancy Free. He would appear in several Disney films, most notably Dumbo and Pinocchio, and would reprise his role as Pinocchio’s Jiminy Cricket several times for the company.
Dumbo Songs and Soundtrack
Fans have been watching and rewatching Dumbo for more than sixty years, with many citing the music as the reason they return. The score of Dumbo, created by Frank Churchill and Oliver Wallace, won an Academy Award for Best Music – Scoring, and Mrs. Jumbo’s song, Baby Mine, written by Frank Churchill and Ned Washington, was nominated for another Oscar, for Best Music, Original Song. Baby Mine was also featured in the Better Midler blockbuster film, Beaches.
Dumbo at the Box Office
Dumbo was set to make the cover of Time Magazine in 1941, but the bombing of Pearl Harbor nixed the cover date. Still, Dumbo was a success at theatres, making more than $1 million during the initial box office run, and an initial profit of $850,000.
This is good because Disney’s previous films, Fantasia and Pinocchio, hadn’t fared as well and the studio needed a hit. So successful was the film, that it was re-released in 1949, again in 1959, 1972, and in 1976. It has since been released several times via videocassette, DVD, and Blu-Ray.
Dumbo Reviews – What the Critics Said
Although there has been controversy over the film, specifically that the depiction of the crows is bigoted or racist, Dumbo was a critical success in the 1940s, and it remains a critical favorite today. At the time, critics called the film playful and imaginative, charming and kind. The film retains a 98% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Where Dumbo Fits in the Disney Movie Pantheon
Dumbo, Disney’s fourth feature-length, animated film, has become Disney’s version of the ‘little engine that could’. Created simply as a moneymaker, to help recoup losses associated with the company’s films Fantasia and Pinocchio, Dumbo was an immediate box office success, making $1.3 million during the initial box office run.
The Disney Channel would revamp the movie, turning it into a puppet TV show in the 1980s. There have also been books themed after the movie and one of the most popular kiddie rides at Disney’s theme parks is the Flying Elephant ride at Disneyland and Disney World. Dumbo was nominated for four awards during the 1940s and would win three, including an Academy Award for scoring, Best Animation Design at the 1947 Cannes Film Festival, and was named to the National Board of Review – Top 10 Films for 1941.
Over time, the movie has only increased its stature, being named to several best-of lists including the AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs and 100 Years…100 Cheers lists, AFI’s Greatest Movie Musicals, and to the AFI’s 10 Top 10 for Animated films.
It is listed at number four on Time Magazine’s 25 Best Films of All Time list, and continues to draw crowds. In 2019, Disney released a live-action version of the film, which was also a box office success. In 2017, Dumbo was added to the National Film Registry for preservation.
Dumbo Trivia: 5 Fast Facts
Baby, Mine, from Dumbo has been covered many times by artists and was featured in the Bette Midler hit, Beaches. Here are five more facts about the film:
1. Timothy Wasn’t Originally a Mouse
In the original novel, the character of Timothy is a robin. During production for the film, the character was changed to be a mouse. The creators chose a mouse to be funny, because elephants and mice are, according to folklore, afraid of one another.
2. Animators ‘surfed’ on Dumbo’s Cels
Old animation cels can be collectible, but cels from Dumbo are incredibly hard to find. That is because, after a scene was finished – or ‘in the can’ – the animators would play with them. They would use them to slide around the hallways are the studio, which caused many of the cels to be destroyed.
3. Dumbo First Non-Historical Disney Film
Unlike other Disney films of the era, Dumbo was the first to be set in the film’s present day – 1941. Other films were set in historic time periods, according to their fairytale roots. The second Disney film to be set in the present day would be 101 Dalmations.
4. Dumbo First Disney Video Release
Dumbo was responsible for several firsts – the first Disney film to be set in the present day. It was also the first Disney film to be released on videocassette. It would release in 1981 as a video rental only and then in 1982 as purchase for home-video.
5. Dumbo Brought In On Budget
Because of the shortfalls of projects like Fantasia and Pinocchio, Disney needed to bring Dumbo in under budget. To do this, animators weren’t as lavish with the backdrops and detail of the animation, and they kept the character designs simpler than in movies of the past. Despite being brought in on a strict budget, Dumbo remains a favorite movie.
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