Feature and Short Films

The films listed below have mustelid “actors” that are the primarily focus, rather than just making a minor appearance. Although most of these films are fictional, some were inspired by real events.


► North American Badger (T. taxus)
The Boy Who Talked to Badgers by Walt Disney Productions | 1975 | 100 minutes

A 6-year-old farm boy who prefers the company of animals over humans becomes lost in the Canadian wilds. He survives with the help of a North American badger.

Ferrets (M. [putorius] furo)

Jake and Jasper: A Ferret Tale by Jake and Jasper Films | 2011 | 26 minutes

A young boy struggling with the death of his mother finds solace with a ferret named Jasper.

Jasper was played by a ferret named Falcor.


► Asian Small-Clawed Otter (A. cinereus)
Lords of the Animals: The Legend of the Otter Man by Phoenix Learning Group, Inc. | 1996 |  26 minutes

A look at supposedly the last man in Vietnam able to train Asian small-clawed otters to fish for him.

► Eurasian Otter (L. lutra)
Tarka the Otter by Rank Film Distributors | 1979 | Approx 90 minutes

This film is based on the novel of the same name by Henry Williamson.

► North American River Otter (L. canadensis)
• Ring of Bright Water by Palomar Pictures International | 1969 | 107 minutes

This is a story about a Londoner and his pet otter named Mijbil or “Mij” for short, living on the Scottish coast. The story is fictional, but is adapted from the 1960 autobiographical book of the same name by Gavin Maxwell.

Mijbil is a smooth-coated otter in the book, while in this film they used a North American river otter to play his role.

Wolverines (G. gulo)

Minado, The Wolverine by Walt Disney Productions’ Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color (S12E7) | 1965 | 47 minutes

A young wolverine living in the Canadian Rockies irritates a trapper who killed his mother.

Running Free by Lionsgate Films | 1994 | 91 minutes

This film takes place in the Alaskan wilderness. A boy named Garrett and his mother visit the area for a three month stay, which Garrett is not excited about to say the least, being more accustomed to city life. He later meets and befriends a wolverine kit which he names “One Paw”, on account of one of his paws are white in colour. This friendship improves his outlook on nature and relationship with his mother.

Although One Paw is the main animal character, a few other wolverines appear in the film as well. What is most interesting to us, is that numerous animals appear in the same shot with One Paw. There is even a scene where the wolverine is in the same shot with what appears to be a Eurasian stoat, as well as another with a North American river otter.

While the message of the film is meant to bring attention to the fact that we as humans are far more of a threat to wolverines than they are to us, it does include a few exaggerated scenes of a wolverine attacking a human in a manner that would likely not happen in reality. There is also some anthropomorphising of One Paw’s intentions, but this is meant to be a family film, so some of that is to be expected.

Overall, the film does a decent job in portraying the wolverine as more than just a predator. And although all the wolverines that appear are undoubtedly captive-raised, it shows that they are not simplistically “vicious loners”, as they are often stereotyped to be in media, but also possess a sociable and playful side.

Documentaries and Educational Shorts | Feature and Short Films

Mustelids in Media