Scandalous John

Last Updated on: June 26th, 2024

Scandalous John (1971 Movie)

“Scandalous John” is a Disney live-action western film released in 1971. The movie is based on the novel “The Ballad of Scandalous John” by Ray Livingston and features a mix of comedy, drama, and adventure.

The story follows John McCanless, played by Brian Keith, a cantankerous and eccentric old rancher in the American Southwest. John is determined to protect his land from being taken over by a land development company. When he learns that the company plans to build a dam that will flood his property, he becomes even more determined to fight against it.

To make his point, John decides to stage a bank robbery in which he pretends to be a notorious outlaw. However, his plan goes awry when he accidentally becomes a real bank robber and finds himself on the run from the law. Along the way, he is joined by a young boy named Chris, played by Alfonso Arau, who becomes his unlikely sidekick.

As they evade the authorities, John and Chris form a bond and become friends. The movie explores themes of friendship, loyalty, and the importance of standing up for what is right. It also highlights the struggle between progress and tradition as John fights to preserve his way of life and the land he loves.

“Scandalous John” received mixed reviews from critics upon its release. Some praised the performances and the heartwarming moments, while others felt that the film lacked focus and had an uneven tone. Despite the mixed critical reception, the movie remains a cult classic among Disney fans and western film enthusiasts.

Over the years, “Scandalous John” has become a lesser-known entry in Disney’s live-action film catalog, but it still holds a nostalgic charm for those who remember it fondly. The film showcases the classic storytelling elements that Disney is known for, and its blend of comedy and drama makes it an entertaining family-friendly watch.

Additional Details


  • Brian Keith: John McCanless
  • Alfonso Arau: Paco
  • Michele Carey: Amanda McCanless
  • Rick Lenz: Jimmy Whittaker
  • Harry Morgan: Sheriff Pippen
  • Iris Adrian: Mavis
  • Simon Oakland: Barton Whittaker
  • Bill Williams: Sheriff Hart
  • Christopher Dark: Card Dealer
  • Fran Ryan: Farm Woman
  • Bruce Glover: Sludge
  • Richard Hale: Old Indian
  • Jimmy Lydon: Grotch
  • John Ritter: Wendell
  • Larry D. Mann: Bartender
  • Jack Raine: Switchman
  • Booth Colman: Governor Murray
  • Edward Faulkner: Hillary
  • Bill Zuckert: Abernathy
  • John Zaremba: Wales
  • Robert Padilla: Paco’s Cousin
  • Alex Tinne: Clerk
  • Benny Baker: Dr. Kropak
  • Paul Koslo: Pipes
  • William O’Connell: Men’s Store Clerk
  • Sam Edwards: Bald Man
  • Leone Stevens: Girl
  • José Nieto: Mariachi Band
  • Joseph Gutierrez: Mariachi Band
  • Freddie Hernandez: Mariachi Band
  • Sondra Currie: Saloon Girl


  • Director: Robert Butler
  • Producer: Bill Walsh
  • Music: Rod McKuen

Movie Trailer:

About the Author

Craig Smith
I am founder and editor of My passion for all things Disney goes pretty far back to my first trip to Walt Disney World in the mid-80's. I have since returned to the magical place more than 20 times. I started this site when I came to the realization that I spent a significant portion of my day reading articles about Disney and watching Disney content with my 8-year old, so it made sense that I would start sharing some of what I read and see and building a little community around it. Other interests include 80's nostalgia, vintage toys, video games, LEGO, Star Wars and tech gadgets. Other site isDMR.