My Friend Flicka (film)

My Friend Flicka is a 1943 coming-of-age Technicolor film about a young boy, played by Roddy McDowall, who is given a young horse to raise. It is based on Mary O'Hara's popular 1941 children's novel. Thunderhead, Son of Flicka, released in March 15, 1945, was the sequel to My Friend Flicka.

My Friend Flicka
Directed byHarold D. Schuster
Produced byRalph Dietrich
Written byFrancis Edward Faragoh (adaptation)
Lillie Hayward
Based onMy Friend Flicka
1941 novel
by Mary O'Hara
StarringRoddy McDowell
Preston Foster
Rita Johnson
Music byAlfred Newman
CinematographyDewey Wrigley
Edited byRobert Fritch
Distributed byTwentieth Century-Fox
Release date
  • May 26, 1943 (1943-05-26)
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1.6 million (US rentals)[1] or $2.4 million[2]


Wyoming ranchers Rob (Preston Foster) and Nell McLaughlin (Rita Johnson) somewhat reluctantly decide to give their 10-year-old son, Ken (Roddy McDowall), a chance to raise a horse and learn about responsibility. He chooses a one-year-old filly and names her Flicka, which ranch hand Gus (James Bell) informs him is a Swedish word for "girl."

Rising debts and a "loco" strain have created problems for the McLaughlins. They accept a $500 offer from a neighboring rancher for the young filly's mother, Rocket, who had been clocked running at 35 mph (56 km/h), but the mare is accidentally killed while being transported.

The situation gets worse when Flicka is badly cut by barbed wire and the wound becomes infected. Ken cares for her best he can, but the infection leads father Rob to conclude that the horse must be put down. A gunshot by his father makes Ken fear the worst, but it turns out he was warding off a mountain lion after being warned by Flicka. The filly's life is spared, and young Ken nurtures her back to health.



Parts of the film were shot in Duck Creek, Aspen Mirror Lake, Rockville Road, Strawberry Valley, Johnson Canyon, Zion National Park, and Cedar Breaks National Monument in Utah.[3]:287

Radio adaptation

A radio adaptation of My Friend Flicka was presented on Lux Radio Theatre June 7, 1943, starring McDowall and Johnson.[4]


The film aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the film 86%.[5] The DVD, which came out during the early years of the 21st century, was warmly received by the critics. One of such was DVD Verdict who praised its "bright and vibrant" colors and its "superior transfer" from VHS to DVD. The film also was released in its original full frame and aspect ratio and contained three trailers: Bushwhacked, Far from Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog, and Lucas along with a choice of English or Spanish audio and subtitles.[6]


  1. "Top Grossers of the Season". Variety. 5 January 1944. p. 54.
  2. Aubrey Solomon (1988). Twentieth Century-Fox: A Corporate and Financial History. The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 220. ISBN 0810842440.
  3. D'Arc, James V. (2010). When Hollywood came to town: a history of moviemaking in Utah (1st ed.). Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith. ISBN 9781423605874.
  4. "Lux Theatre Guest". Harrisburg Telegraph. Harrisburg. June 5, 1943. p. 17. Retrieved December 23, 2015 via
  5. "My Friend Flicka". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  6. "My Friend Flicka (DVD)". DVD Verdict. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
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