Thursday, May 21, 2009

Edinburgh’s Best Friend

A big story with a small hero, The Adventures of Greyfriar's Bobby is a magical film for the whole family. Bobby, a friendly small terrier, befriends Ewan, a young boy. The adventures they share change their lives and the city they live in forever. Based on the true story of 'Greyfriar’s Bobby'.

Title: Greyfriar’s Bobby
Release: October 29, 2005
Genre: Family
MPAA Rating: PG
Writer: John Henderson, Richard Mathews, & Neville Watchurst
Director: John Henderson
Music By: Mark Thomas
Produced By: Christopher Figg & Alex Swan
Distributed By: Piccadilly Pictures
Run Time: 104 minutes
Official Site

Between the legend, the story based on the legend written by Eleanor Atkinson, and the films based on both, the true facts behind the story of Greyfriar’s Bobby have been lost in the myth until the recent British film was made. The book Atkinson wrote about Bobby helped his legendary deed become known worldwide in 1912 but she did get many of the facts wrong. This film does correct some of them (such as who Bobby’s owner really was) but it did “take liberties” as well, mainly Bobby himself but for the most part, it remained true to the documented facts about Edinburgh’s smallest hero.

In many stories, Bobby was a Skye terrier (an almost extinct breed) but in the new film, they used a West Highland White Terrier instead. The dog trainer Gerry Cott said, "We had to make a choice, but this is something that has been contentious. When we started to talk about this film, we had to make a choice: 'Who is Greyfriar’s Bobby? In the end we decided against the Skye terrier and the Cairn Terrier for various technical reasons so, our Greyfriar’s Bobby is effectively a wild West Highland Terrier. By that I mean we allowed him to grow long hair, not be coiffured and clipped as they would now but to look as he might more than 150 years ago. So that's our Greyfriar’s Bobby.”

The legend of this little dog was something I knew of only vaguely until I read the book Atkinson wrote based on it and it was only later that I realized she had made up quite a few of the people and things in the story but I enjoyed it regardless. I was a bit wary of seeing this newest version of Bobby’s story before I watched the Disney one but I was convinced it was well worth seeing because of the gorgeous location and talented actors attached to it.

There were several things that bothered me during the movie like how the main character was really the boy Ewan played by Oliver Golding instead of Bobby. Not to mention how overly evil the bad guys were compared to the characters James Brown (played by James Cosmo), Minster Lee (Greg Wise), and the Lord Provost (Christopher Lee). I was also hoping that the real life statue memorial of Greyfriar’s Bobby commissioned by Lady Burdett-Coutts would make it into the film, as it would have helped make the ending a bit less abrupt. Regardless, it was still a great take on a heartwarming story but I wasn’t very surprised to learn that it didn’t do very well at the time of its release.

Related Post: Greyfriars Bobby by Eleanor Atkinson
Links:, Wikipedia, BBC New Premiere, More Premiere, etc. (Video- have to click launch in a standalone player), Greyfriars Bobby’s Friend Remembered (Video)
Interview: With Oliver Golding (Ewan)


  1. Looks like a cute movie. I was lucky enough to be able to visit Edinburgh one summer (Beautiful) and see the little statue of Greyfriar's Bobby.

  2. Looks cute. Perhaps I can purchase it for my triplet nephews as a Christmas gift!

  3. Look at that cute lil' doggie! Awww!

  4. That looks so good! I want to see it just to see that cute little dog in action.

  5. Hi LadyTink!

    I have a little westie like in the book, but he's a little stinker, so spoiled rotten. It looks like an incredibly cute book, I'll have to see if I can find it.

    Dottie :)

  6. Sharon: You were lucky! It was never really on my list of places to go until I read a few books set there... including Bobby's story by Atkinson.

    Kate Diamond: It is cute! I would like to see a remake of Atkinson's actual novel one day though...

    Lenore: He is a cutie but I'm still partial to the Skye terrier.

    Bermudaonion: Oh he does all kinds of things in this movie! You really should check this one out if you can.

    The Book Resort: It was. :) I liked all the movie adaptations based on Bobby's story.

    Naida: Thanks.

    My Blog 2.0 (Dottie): I actually don't know anybody that has ever had one before. They are cute little dogs though! My library didn't actually have a copy of the book but Internet Archive has it since the copyright has expired.

  7. Great post! I've never heard of this and I think my boys would love it!




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