Balto (film): Wikis


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Directed by Simon Wells
Produced by Steve Hickner
Rich Arons
Written by David Cohen
Elana Lesser
Cliff Ruby
Roger S.H. Schulman
Starring Kevin Bacon
Bob Hoskins
Bridget Fonda
Jim Cummings
Phil Collins
Music by James Horner (also song)
Barry Mann (song)
Steve Winwood (song)
Cinematography Jan Richter-Friis
Editing by Sim Evan-Jones
Nick Fletcher
Renee Edwards
Studio Amblin Entertainment (Amblimation)
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) United States
December 22, 1995
United Kingdom
March 29, 1996
June 27, 1996
August 10, 1996
Running time 78 min.
Country United States United States
Language English
Gross revenue $11,348,324 (domestic)[1]
Followed by Balto II: Wolf Quest

Balto is a 1995 animated/live action film produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblimation animation studio, distributed by Universal Pictures, and originally released to movie theatres in 1995. Balto is based on a true story about the dog of the same name who helped save children from the diphtheria epidemic in the 1925 serum run to Nome. The live action portions of the film were shot in Central Park.

Balto is the final animated feature produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblimation animation studio, before Spielberg co-founded DreamWorks with David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg; most of the Amblimation staff was re-located to DreamWorks Animation. Universal Pictures would not release another feature-length animated film to theaters for over a decade, until Curious George in 2006. Similarly, it would be over a decade until Amblin Entertainment would produce another theatrically released animated film, which was 2006's Columbia Pictures computer-animated feature film Monster House.



The film opens in a live-action scene with an old woman (Miriam Margoyles) and a young girl (Lola Bates-Campbell) in Central Park in New York City searching for a statue of a sled dog. The woman begins the story that happened in 1925 as the scene shifts to an animated form.

Balto (voiced by Kevin Bacon) is a wolf-dog hybrid, shunned by both humans and dogs in the town of Nome. His only friends are Boris (voiced by Bob Hoskins), a Russian goose, and Muk and Luk (both voiced by Phil Collins), two polar bears. Balto and Boris live on a grounded boat outside Nome, while Muk and Luk are occasional visitors.

One day, a dogsled race is being held. At the head end of one of the teams is Steele (voiced by Jim Cummings), a proud and fierce competitor. Balto and Boris are in Nome to watch the finish. While waiting for the teams to arrive, Balto sees a young girl named Rosy (voiced by Juliette Brewer) and her female husky, Jenna (voiced by Bridget Fonda). He is immediately smitten by Jenna, and when Rosy loses her hat to the wind, Balto outruns the sled team and retrieves the hat to show off. However, when he tries to get closer to Jenna, she and Rosy are pulled away by Rosy's parents. Balto and Boris dejectedly leave town, but not before being antagonized by Steele and his companions, Nikki, Kaltag and Star (voiced respectively by Jack Angel, Danny Mann, and Robbie Rist).

The night after the race, Rosy and several other children fall ill. As Jenna worriedly watches through the hospital window, Balto approaches and attempts to flirt, but Jenna is too distressed to be receptive. Balto and Jenna enter the underfloor area of the hospital and watch the doctor give the diagnosis — Rosy (and the other children) has diphtheria, and the doctor has run out of antitoxin. An urgent request for medicine is transmitted, but sea and air routes fail and the closest rail line only goes to Nenana.

It is decided that a sled team will cover the last stretch. A race is held to determine the team members. Balto enters, and easily wins. However, he is disqualified when his heritage is revealed thanks to Steele. That night, the team (led by Steele) sets out to Nenana and picks up the medicine; however they get lost on the way back and knock out the musher. The team now has no way home.

The news reaches Nome. Balto decides to set out on a rescue mission, accompanied by Boris, Muk and Luk. On the way, they are attacked by a large grizzly bear, but (with Jenna's unexpected help) are able to escape. However, Jenna is injured, and Balto orders Boris and the bears to take her home. Balto eventually finds the team, but Steele does not want help and seemingly having gone crazy, and a dogfight ensues which ends with Steele plunging down a cliff (he is apparently uninjured) without Balto having attacked once. Balto takes up the lead, but soon finds that Steele tampered with the trail markers Balto left on the way and becomes lost. Eventually the crate containing the medicine becomes untied and falls off a cliff. Balto catches it, but the ground gives way underneath him and both him and the crate drop into the abyss.

Balto wakes up at the bottom of the cliff, believing that he has failed. A large white wolf appears to him, and he turns away in shame. However, as the wolf walks away, Balto notices the intact crate nearby. He realizes that being part wolf is a strength, not a weakness, and embraces that heiritage with a howl, joined by the white wolf. Afterward, Balto manages to drag the crate back up the cliff to the waiting team. They are quickly on their way again, Balto using his sense of smell to figure out which marks are his and which are Steele's.

After overcoming several near-catastrophes, Balto makes it back to Nome. Steele (who had told the other dogs that Balto died) is revealed to be a liar and is deserted. Boris, Muk, Luk and Jenna (all of whom thought Balto was lost) are overjoyed, and the town which once shunned Balto gives him a hero's welcome.

Returning the present, the old woman and the girl read the statue's plaque lauding the courage and fidelity of the sled dogs that prevented the tragedy in Nome. After the woman explains that the trek is now honored with the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race that uses the same route the dog team relay took, the girl runs off playing sled dog with her own dog. Alone for a minute, the woman, who is actually Rosy, says "Thank you Balto, I would have been lost without you."

Cast & Characters

Additional Characters include:

  • Rosy's Grand-daughter, played by Lola Bates-Campbell appears in the live action section of the film with her dog Blaze.
  • Rosy's Mother, voiced by Sandra Searles Dickinson.
  • Rosy's Father, voiced by William Roberts.
  • Doctor, voiced by Donald Sinden.
  • Butcher, voiced by Bill Bailey.
  • Telegraph Operator, voiced by Garrick Hagon.


Historical inaccuracies

  • The sled run to get the medicine was actually a relay, and Balto was only the leader of the last team to carry the medicine to Nome. The longest and most hazardous distance was traveled by the team led by Togo.
  • The serum was never driven by the dogs alone, and no musher was incapacitated.
  • Balto was never an outcast as shown by the film, but was instead born in a kennel owned by the famous musher Leonhard Seppala, where he grew up until he was deemed fit for pulling a sled. Seppala was also the owner of Togo, whom he personally used during the relay, Balto was instead used by one of his workers, Gunnar Kaasen.


Cover for the Balto soundtrack CD

Soundtrack Album Track Listing

In the original United States version, this CD had the following tracks:

  1. "Reach For The Light (Theme from Balto)" - performed by Steve Winwood (4:24)
  2. "Main Title/Balto's Story Unfolds" (4:40)
  3. "The Dogsled Race" (1:41)
  4. "Rosy Goes To The Doctor" (4:05)
  5. "Boris & Balto" (1:29)
  6. "The Journey Begins" (5:06)
  7. "Grizzly Bear" (5:23)
  8. "Jenna/Telegraphing The News" (2:22)
  9. "Steele's Treachery" (4:38)
  10. "The Epidemic's Toll" (3:29)
  11. "Heritage Of The Wolf" (5:54)
  12. "Balto Brings The Medicine!" (4:53)
  13. "Reach For The Light (Theme from Balto) (Long Version)" - performed by Steve Winwood (5:27)

Total length: 49:15 min


Two direct-to-video sequels were made by the Universal Cartoon Studios. The first, Balto II: Wolf Quest was released in 2002. This film followed the adventures of Balto and Jenna's pups, mainly Aleu who sets off to discover her wolf heritage.

The third film, Balto III: Wings of Change was released in 2005. The storyline followed the same litter of pups from Balto 2 but with the focus on another of Balto's pups named Kodi.

Neither film took any historical references from the true story of Balto (although Balto 3 does make a few references to the time and setting of the story).


Balto holds a mixed rating of 45% by critics at Rotten Tomatoes [1], though only 11 reviews are counted. However, the users rating is at 74%, with 344 reviews (257 fresh, 87 rotten). The film's release was vastly overshadowed by the performance of Disney/Pixar's Toy Story. But the film did end up recouping its' small budget and did do modest business at the box office. Strong video sales lead to the release of two sequels: Balto II: Wolf Quest and Balto III: Wings of Change.

See also


  1. ^ Balto at Box Office Mojo.

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Balto article)

From Wikiquote

Balto is a 1995 animated film about a half-dog/half-wolf named Balto, who helps save the children of Nome, Alaska by leading a team of sled-dogs carrying vital medicine. The film is loosely based on the true story about the dogs who helped save the town's children from the diphtheria epidemic in the 1925 serum run to Nome.

Directed by Simon Wells. Written by David Cohen, Elana Lesser , Cliff Ruby and Roger S.H. Schulman.



  • Aw, come on. What's the worst that can happen?
  • [Muk is calling for Boris] How sweet. "Uncle Boris."
  • Hi. Look, uh -- just a shot in the dark, but I was wondering if, uh, I don't know, maybe you'd like to go chase a few sticks by moonlight, heh, heh… [Sighs]
  • I have the keys to the city. [Disables hinge and pushes open door]
  • Uh... big paws kinda run in my family. Well... one side of my family.
  • Boris, did you ever think, maybe you're the reason the other geese fly south?
  • Since when do you need a pedigree to help people?


  • Balto, get your slobbering mouth off me!
  • Boris Goosinov is no spring chicken! [gets buried by snow] Is no spring penguin either!
  • I'm a delicate country bird. I hate going into town.
  • Why do I let you talk me into these things?
  • You are putting me down now, Mr. Golden Retriever?
  • When will you learn to stay on the sidelines?!
  • Not a dog. Not a wolf. All he knows is what he's not. If only he could see what he is.
  • Oh, bears! Fellas! Hey, idiot balls of fluff!
  • He has point, bears. You are not drowning because, if you will pause one moment, you will observe, perhaps, tide is out!
  • What, more whimpering? Between you and Balto, it's like Dostoyevsky novel around here.
  • [To Balto] If only your feet were as fast as your mouth.
  • You will be frozen stiff by morning. When you are big frozen-stiff statue named Balto, don’t come running to me
  • [About Luk] Oh, no! I'm beginning to understand the bear!
  • Balto, I was so scared, I got people bumps!
  • Let me tell you something, Balto. A dog cannot make this journey alone. [He starts to walk away and then looks back] But...maybe a wolf can.
  • Not dog! Not wolf! You are a hero!
  • He's going into freezing coldness to find a dog he doesn't like to bring back medicine back to a town that doesn't like him. Oh, no! I'm beginning to understand the bear!
  • (as Balto scratches a tree) Good, Balto! You took on the biggest, meanest tree in whole forest, and you won.
  • Who else should you bring on a wild goose chase but a goose?
  • (commenting on Balto and Jenna) I'm seeing a few things too. And it's making the ice melt.


  • [Acting flirtatious] Gee, Steele, I have to admit, your offer is very tempting… [She backs him towards the boiler] But these days I prefer my meat… cooked. [Steele realizes he is burning.]
  • You're lying. [louder] Steele's lying. Balto's alive. He's coming home.
  • The sun… Ice caps… Balto.
  • [Jenna's bandana is in Steele's mouth] My bandana!
  • I'm afraid the only way Steele notices anyone is if they're wearing a mirror.


  • [To Jenna] You're a hundred percent right, Jenna. I-- I-- wasn't thinking about those children. The important thing here is to get the medicine through. And that's just what I'm gonna do.
  • [to Boris] Frail goose, you a half-breed too, huh? Part turkey?
  • [Aside, to Balto] And when I get back, I'm gonna fold you five ways and leave you for a cat toy.
  • I've got a message for your mother. [starts howling]
  • Go ahead, wolf-dog! You'll never get home! I'll make sure of that.
  • …And I swam and I swam. It was freezing cold. And finally, I said 'Steele, you're just gonna have to gnaw your way to the surface.' So I -- [Balto howls outside] What?

Muk and Luk

  • [Translating Luk's whimper] Oh, the shame of the polar bear who fears the water. No wonder we are shunned by our fellow bear. Woe is us. [Pause] It's what he said. Kind of pathetic, really.
  • [While walking in the snow] I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with S!
  • Yes, well of course we were! We were in the water! We were moving! We got wet, didn't we… Luk! We were swimming!


  • Sylvie: Say something about her new collar before she gets whiplash.
  • Dixie: [About Steele] He's going to save the entire town. He's positively mag... nesium!
  • Nikki: Oh great, things are not bad enough. Now we got wolves.
  • Nikki: Come on Balto, youse can make it.
  • Dixie: Steele, you are positively dis… posable!
  • Grandma Rosy: Thank you, Balto. I would have been lost without you.


Balto: Come on, we don't want to miss the finish.
Boris: Oh, that would be a tragedy.
[Balto runs off, throwing Boris into the snow]
Boris: I was being sarcastic.

Rosy: I love these rudders! I love this brushbow! I love this sled! Jenna, Jenna! You're lead dog!
Mother: Then you'll need this. [puts Musher's hat on Rosy's head]
Rosy: A real musher's hat! Alright! We're a real sled team now! C'mon, mush! [Jenna pulls Rosy out of the shop]
Father: Mr. Johanson, the sled looks great. We're very grateful.
Mother: Rosy's grateful too.
Rosy: [runs back inside] Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!
Mr. Johanson: [chuckles] So I gather.
Rosy: Watch this!
Father: I dunno, honey. I still think we should've gone with the dollhouse.
[Signal flare fires up in the air]
Rosy: It's the one-mile marker! C'mon, Jenna! Let's win this race! Mush!
Mother: Oh, I think she'll learn to like it.

Rosy: I'm sura Jenna would love to--
Father: Rosy, stay away from him!
Rosy: Dad...
Father: He might bite you honey, he's part wolf.
Rosy: Well now you hurt his feelings!

Dixie: Looks like a close race today. It could be neck and...neck.
Sylvie: Say something about her new collar before she gets whiplash.
Jenna: Dixie, that's such a pretty collar! Is it new?
Dixie: What, this old thing? Yeah. You think Steele will notice?
Jenna: I think the only way Steele notices anyone is if they're wearing a mirror.

Star: Steele! We're going in circles!
Steele: What?!
Star: Ah-h! Circles is a good thing. I mean they're, uh, they're circular!

Steele: Didn't make the team, Bingo?
Boris: Don't look at him. Don't listen to him. Liva long life.
Balto: The name's Balto.
Boris: But you can call him "idiot".
Steele: Oh, I'm sorry. Balto... Balto the half-breed. [other dogs laugh] [to Boris] Frail goose, you a half-breed too, huh? Part turkey? [pushes Boris into a platter pot]

Boris: What, this wolf business again? And what's wrong with being half-and-half, I ask you? Sometimes like crazy, I wish I was half eagle.
Balto: Why's that?
Boris: Better profile, for one thing. And no one eats you for another.

Luk: [starts whimpering, pointing to Boris]
Muk: What are you talking about? Of course he's glad to see us! He loves us, right?
Boris: [sighs] Okay, okay. Hey, boichiks! Let's play a game. Race you to the shore! One, two, three--go!
[Muk and Luk excitedly take off, as Boris stays in place]
Boris: They win.

Balto: Dogs travel for miles just to be right here.
Jenna: I can't imagine why.
Balto: It's because you're looking at the bowl half empty. See these? [walks towards broken glass] These are the Polar Ice Caps.
Jenna: Balto, those are broken bottles. And they're not half empty, they're all empty.
Balto: [looks at the lamp from the grate] The sun...
Jenna: Balto--
Balto: And, to the north... [walks out of the way of the light, causing it to reflect off the bottles and create the illusion of the Northern Lights]
Jenna: The Northern Lights. Oh, you're right, Balto. This is beautiful.
Balto: [looking at Jenna] Yeah. Beautiful.

Dixie: What's with you, Jenna? Steele's a genuine hero! But do you even give him a sniff?
Sylvie: That's because Jenna is running with Balto.
Dixie: Arrh!
Sylvie: She was seen in the boiler room the other night with Balto. And they went in together, and they left together, and I heard it all from a very reliable source, and don't bother to deny it.
Jenna: Well, then I won't.
Sylvie: [Gasps] I'm speechless.

Balto: Wish me luck!
Boris: Luck? I don't wish you luck, I wish you sense! [Quietly] Good luck, Kiddo.

Steele: Okay. Nikki, Kaltag, Star. Gear up. We're heading out.
Balto: Wait a minute. Steele, I was the fastest dog out there.
Steele: You...were the fastest what? If you think any musher in their right mind would put you on their team, well, you're even more mixed up than I thought.
Jenna: Steele! It doesn't matter who's on the team! As long as the medicine gets through! Stop being such a glory hound!
Steele: You're a hundred percent right, Jenna. I--I--wasn't thinking about those children. The important thing here is to get the medicine through. And that's just what I'm gonna do. [Aside, to Balto] And when I get back, I'm gonna fold you five ways and leave you for a cat toy.

Musher: Let's take a look at our winner, here!
[Steele stomps down on Balto's paw, causing him to growl in pain, baring his teeth]
Musher: We can't trust him. He's part wolf. He might turn on me. Nikki, Kaltag, Star!
Someone else in the background: Look at those teeth! [Referring to Balto's teeth]
[Steele smiles deviously at Balto, then walks away]
Jenna: Balto--
Balto: [depressed] Don't come to close to me, Jenna. I might turn on you.

[After Balto falls into the frozen river, Muk and Luk jump into the river after him]
Jenna: Luk! Muk!
Boris: They cannot swim!
Jenna: What?! Polar bears that can't swim?!

Nikki: Ooh. I hit my head on somethin'!
Kaltag: Yeah, my head!

Star: Balto?! [all the other dogs start talking about Balto]
Balto: What happened? Is everyone okay?
Steele: [solemnly] We're fine. Everything's okay.

Balto: Then, at least let me take the medicine back. They're getting worse.
Steele: [jumps between Balto and the sled] Touch that box, and I'll tear you apart.

Kaltag: He has the most endurance, the most fidelity, the most intelligence--
Star: They should build a statue of him!
Kaltag: [Star flinches, thinking he'll be hit again] You said it!
Star: I did?


  • Part Dog. Part Wolf. All Hero.
  • The true story of an American hero.
  • His story became a legend. His adventure is one you'll never forget.

See also

  • Balto II: Wolf Quest
  • Balto III: Wings of Change

External links

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