Father Noah's Ark
Studio: Disney Release Date : April 8, 1933 Series: Silly Symphony

Cumulative rating:
(2 ratings submitted)


A musical retelling of the Biblical story of Noah and the ark.


United Artists


  • A second short was made based on the Noah story later, 1959's "Noah's Ark".


The Mickey Mouse Club (Season 1, Episode 21)
The Mickey Mouse Club (Season 1, Episode 91)


United States

Starring Silly Symphonies
Cartoon Classics : First Series : Volume 13 : Fanciful Fables

Laserdisc (CLV)

United States

Cartoon Classics : Fanciful Fables
Silly Symphonies / Animals Two by Two


United States

Silly Symphonies


Disney Treasures : Silly Symphonies


Disney Treasures : Silly Symphonies


Disney Treasures : Silly Symphonies

United Kingdom

Disney Treasures : Silly Symphonies


Disney Treasures : Silly Symphonies

Netherlands / Belgium

Silly Symphonies

Technical Specifications

Running Time: 8:24
Animation Type: Standard (Hand-drawn-Cel) Animation
Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1
Cinematographic Format: Spherical
Color Type: Technicolor
Negative Type: 35mm
Original Country: United States
Original Language: English
Print Type: 35mm
Sound Type: Mono: RCA Sound Recording

Reviews and Comments

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From Rod Bennett :

This short, with its storybook approach and use of negro spirituals on the soundtrack, seems to have been inspired by Marc Connelly's then-current Broadway hit "The Green Pastures." Also, one particular gag here gets memorably recycled seven years later in "Fantasia" : the lightning bolt which finally drives the reluctant donkey aboard the ark is recalled for duty in the "Pastoral Symphony" segment to coax a reluctant "Bacchus" in out of the rain.

From Jerry Edwards :

I enjoyed some fun scenes of the animals helping to build the ark. The closing scene shows large dogs rushing off the ark to a large trees while puppies rush to a small sapling. Disney later did a 1959 stop-motion short called Noah's Ark. I tend to get the two titles mixed up, since I automatically assume "Noah's Ark" would be the title for the first short.

From Gijs Grob :

The biblical story of Noah has been quite popular with the Disney Studio: it has been retold on film three times. Father Noah's Ark is the first version, the others are a stop motion film from 1959 and a sequence from Fantasia 2000 featuring Donald Duck. This cartoon tells the age old story as a musical, including some gospel singing. The story is quite straightforward and the short contains only a few mild gags. The design seems to be half-hearted: Father Noah's sons look ridiculously cartoony, wearing Mickey Mouse type gloves, for instance. Their wives, on the other hand, are designed in art deco fashion. The animals, too, are in different stages of naturalism, but the cows portrayed are much more realistic than the ones featured in the Mickey Mouse shorts of the same time. The most stunning naturalism is found in the animation of the sea when the ark is at the mercy of the waves. This is a spectacular scene by all means.

From Ryan :

This is probably the only Bible story that Disney made a cartoon of (they later made another version using office supplies). The people in this cartoon are primitively animated compared to those in feature films such as "Snow White" and "Pinocchio." I particularly like the gag at the end in which the dogs get off the ark and run toward a fire hydrant.

From Kyle Peters :

Who built the ark? Father Noah! It is so funny but it wasn't perfect. Nothing is, right?

From Jennie :

I love this site! The commentary really enhances my appreciation for the work and context of each piece. One thing that struck me as odd though - in Ryan Kilpatrick's commentary to "Father Noah's Ark", he explains that Noah is a "devout christian". This is an anachronism. The story of Noah's Ark is in the Old Testament, nowhere near when there was such a thing as a "christian". I suppose he could be referred to as just "devout", but certainly not a christian.

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project :

As someone who grew up in and around church, the Sunday School story of Noah’s Ark is near and dear to my heart. So when I saw that today’s short would be Father Noah’s Ark, I was excited. I couldn’t wait to see the work that Disney would do with one of my favorite Bible stories.

My sum conclusion? Disney relied greatly on people being familiar with the religious aspects of the story, and worried only about the mechanics, leaving the short a little flat in the end. While it’s still entertaining, it’s not up to the standard that Disney has been hitting in the 1933 shorts.

The story of the short is obvious – the Noah’s Ark story. But for those of you who didn’t grow up in Sunday School class: Noah is a devout Christian, and he is warned that a catastrophic flood is coming. So, he and his family build an ark, and gather two of every animals on board. When the flood comes, Noah, his family and the animals sail away, suffering on board for days, until finally the sun comes out, dries up the rain and they disembark to repopulate the Earth.

In the Disney version, more attention is paid to the construction of the ark, and the inventive ways that the animals can help. For example, a pair of monkeys help to make boards by unleashing a rhino on a tree, that shaves off a board. They capture the rhino, turn him around and do it all over again. Then, we have one of Noah’s sons pick up the lumber and drive it to the ark in a “car” where the wheels are made up of snakes biting their own tails.

These are good gags, but overall they serve to downplay the seriousness of the story. Don’t forget, these characters are preparing for the flood that will end life on Earth. It seems particularly strange for them to be going about things with such a song in their heart, literally. Noah, his sons and daughters and his wife all break out into song at the beginning of the short.

Then, as the rains start, all the animals load onto the boat, but Noah and family pull the plank up so they can leave a pair of skunks stranded. Again, it seems just remarkably out of place to have a gag that could be construed as callous and mean.

Ultimately, of course, things turn out okay. But not before we see Noah and his family in the ark, during the rainstorm, praying and pleading to survive. It’s such a tonal shift from the lighthearted fare of earlier that it seems very disjointed.

Finally, we reach dry land, and a dove brings an olive branch, letting Noah know that it’s okay to disembark. There’s a brief song of gratitude, and all the animals disembark.

Father Noah’s Ark is just sort of an odd short. It gets the point of the story across, but does so in a sort of paint by numbers way. You go from point A to point B in a straightforward manner, and while there are gags along the way, they’re not as funny as in previous shorts. I’d have to say for me, this one was a disappointment.

From Mac :

This short uses the story of Noah's Ark as a spring board for nothing more than an opportunity to tell a simple tale which offers lots of inventive animal and boat building gags plus the spectacle of a big storm and dozens of animals. And all in Technicolor! In this, it is what we've come to expect from the early color Sillies and I think it succeeds very well.

This one has the most attractive titles we've seen for a color Symphony so far. A subtle blend of a huge amount of colors without being garish. It's also interesting to note how the designs of animals are changing. There are exceptions (e.g the skunks and some of the dogs), but most of the animals don't look like the ones we've become familiar with in the black and white cartoons. That said, however, keep an eye out for the "Mickey bears" from The Bears and Bees who have a cameo riding the giraffes!