The Dove (1974 film)

The Dove is a 1974 American biographical film directed by Charles Jarrott. The picture was produced by Gregory Peck, the third and last feature film he would produce.[2][3]

The Dove
Theatrical release poster
Directed byCharles Jarrott
Produced byGregory Peck
Screenplay byPeter S. Beagle
Adam Kennedy
Based onthe book
by Derek L.T. Gill
Robin Lee Graham
StarringJoseph Bottoms
Deborah Raffin
Music byJohn Barry
CinematographySven Nykvist
Edited byJohn Jympson
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • October 16, 1974 (1974-10-16) (Los Angeles)
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$2 million[1]

The drama is based on the real life experiences of Robin Lee Graham, a young man who spent five years sailing around the world as a single-handed sailor, starting when he was 16 years old. The story is adapted from Dove (1972), the book Graham co-wrote with Derek L.T. Gill about his seafaring experiences.


The film tells of real-life Robin Lee Graham (Joseph Bottoms), a 16-year-old boy who sets sail in a 23-foot sloop in attempt to be the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe solo. He had planned the trip with his sailor father Lyle Graham (John McLiam) for years.

On one of his stops after setting sail, he meets and falls in love with the gregarious and attractive Patti Ratteree (Deborah Raffin). After much banter, Patti decides to follow Graham throughout his long journey. She meets him in Fiji, Australia, South Africa, Panama, and the Galápagos Islands.

As he travels around the globe, Graham experiences many adventures on the sea and land as he matures from a teenager to a young adult. Graham finds the trip a lonely experience, especially when the wind dies on him on the high seas. At one point he badly wants to quit the voyage but Patti (now his new wife) and his father encourage him to continue. At the end of the film, Graham sails into Los Angeles with crowds welcoming him home.



Basis of filmEdit

Robin Lee Graham (born 1949) set out to sail around the world alone as a teenager in the summer of 1965. National Geographic Magazine carried the story in three issues from 1966 to 1970, and he co-wrote a book detailing his journey called Dove. Graham was just 16 when he set out from Southern California and headed west in his 24-foot Lapworth sailboat. He became married along the way, and after almost five years, sailed back into his home port. After he and his wife Patti - who he had met in Fiji – attended Stanford University, they moved to Montana and settled down. He collaborated with a writer on a book of the journey which became a best seller.[4]


Gregory Peck moved into film producing in the early 70s, following his dissatisfaction with some of his late 60s films such as Marooned and Mackenna's Gold, and the recutting of I Walk the Line. He decided to take time out from acting and work as a producer. His first effort, an adaptation of the play, The Trial of the Catonsville Nine, had not been a success so he spent six months reading material to find his next project.[5]

Peck was told about the series of articles on Graham that were in National Geographic and that a book was being written about him. Peck read the book while it was still in galleys. "I was attracted really because of the character of the boy", said Peck. "He was a very odd fella, an eccentric who sailed around the world at 16. Loners make interesting heroes."[1] He also liked that it was "a strong adventure story."[5]

Peck optioned the screen rights for $10,000 of his own money. He knew Nat Cohen and Bernard Delfont of EMI Films from being on the board of Capitol Records. They gave him $150,000 to purchase the screen rights outright and to write a script.[5]

EMI wanted a US partner and Paramount agreed to come on board.[5]

Filming began under the title of Here There Be Dragons. However, there was concern this would confuse audiences into thinking it was a martial arts film. Upon a Painted Ocean was considered as a title before selecting The Dove.[1]

Director Charles Jarrott said the film will "make a positive statement about a youth who set out to do something and succeeded. It's not a Disney story, there is some abrasion to it."[1]

"You can read one or two things into it, the father-son relationship being what it is in the picture", said Peck. "The movie will make you wonder why a kid would want to drop out, why he wasn't offered the kind of future he was interested in."[6]


Peck says at one time they discussed casting "one or two rock stars" in the lead roles "but they're kind of practiced and slick and a little too sophisticated. We looked for naturalness, sympathetic personalities and original personalities. We looked for kids who weren't hindered by too much self confidence, people that had chemistry."[6]

Joseph Bottoms was cast in the lead role.[1] "The whole picture depends on the kid", said Jarrott. "If you're stuck on the other side of the world and he doesn't work out, you can't recast the part."[1]

Deborah Raffin was cast has his girlfriend.[6]


The film is a travelogue of sorts and the producers filmed on location throughout the world over a four-month period with a 32-person crew. Filming locations include: Suva, Fiji; Darwin, Northern Territory, Fremantle, Western Australia; Cape Town, South Africa; Lourenço Marques, Mozambique; Panama Canal, Panama; Ecuador; and Los Angeles.[1]

Instead of sailing a boat around the world, Peck bought nine identical boats and shipped them to nine different locations.[5]

"It was a terrific gamble", said Peck. "It was exhilarating. I feel I play a role in every scene, even if I don't direct it or act in it. I helped to shape it. I made the thing happen in the first place. Whatever has happened, over the past two years I've certainly known I've been alive."[5]


Box officeEdit

The film performed poorly at the box office in the USA but did better in Europe.[7]

Critical responseEdit

Critic Nora Sayre, film critic for The New York Times, thought the film was too wholesome, so much so that Sayre wanted harm to come to the characters. Yet she appreciated Sven Nykvist's cinematography and wrote, "The Dove ... is probably far too wholesome for most of the families I know, although there may be a radiant audience lurking just outside the realms of my acquaintance ... Joseph Bottoms, as the young sailor, smiles too much in the first half of the movie; after that, he cries too much. His initial overwhelming sunniness turns the viewer into a sadist: You're glad when his cat gets killed or grateful when a shark appears in the ocean. Deborah Raffin, as his winsome girlfriend, is rarely allowed to stop laughing and wagging her head; the two grin and glow at each other until you yearn for a catastrophe."[8]

Others liked the film. Film critics Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, who reviewed the film much later after the film's release on their website Spirituality and Practice, appreciated the film and its message, and wrote, "Producer Gregory Peck was perceptive when he decided to make a film based on the true life on the youngest person to circumnavigate the world alone ... Graham's exploits and his accompanying struggle to sort out his feelings about himself and his loyalties to family and girlfriend are fascinating and provocative."[9]

The staff at Variety magazine said, "... an odyssey which provides nautical chills and thrills (as well as breathtaking scenics) aplenty ... Pic really takes off when he meets the girl (played with gauche hesitation at first, but then with beauty and considerable charm by Deborah Raffin) ... Their yes-no yes-no-yes affair is nicely handled."[10]

Peck gave up producing following the death of his son in 1975 and returned to acting.[11]




  • Golden Globes: Golden Globe; Best Original Song, John Barry (composer) and Don Black (lyricist); for the song "Sail the Summer Winds"; 1975.


The film opened in the United States in September 1974. Paramount released a video of the film on April 16, 1996. A DVD of the film has not been released.


Soundtrack cover

An original motion picture soundtrack of the film was released in 1974 by ABC Records and contained thirteen tracks (00:31:43). On May 1, 2001 a CD was released on the Artemis record label. The song "Sail the Summer Winds", sung by Lyn Paul, was nominated for a Golden Globe and was a top selling hit in England. It hovered just outside the British Top 50 for four months.[12] The score was written by composer John Barry. An illegal CD version of the soundtrack with the 13 tracks was released January 28, 2009 by Harkit Records UK.

Side 1
  1. "The Dove (Main Title)" (03:05)
  2. "Sail The Summer Winds" (Vocal by Lyn Paul) (03:09)
  3. "Hitch-hike To Darwin" (02:14)
  4. "Patty and Robin" (02:20)
  5. "Here There Be Dragons" (02:44)
  6. "Mozambique" (02:15)
Side 2
  1. "The Motorbike and the Dove" (01:24)
  2. "Xing'mombila" (02:09)
  3. "Alone On The Wide, Wide Sea" (03:52)
  4. "Porpoise Escort" (02:30)
  5. "After The Fire" (01:46)
  6. "Sail The Summer Winds" (Vocal by Lyn Paul) (02:21)
  7. "The Dove (End Title)" (01:54)

On March 31, 2015 Intrada released official CD premiere of the score, newly re-mixed and re-mastered from original 8-channel session masters[13] (Harkit bootleg edition was LP to CD transfer).

Track list

Original 1974 soundtrack album
1) The Dove (Main Title) (3:05)
2) Sail The Summer Winds+ (3:11)
3) Hitch-Hike To Darwin (2:14)
4) Patty And Robin (2:20)
5) Here There Be Dragons (3:09)
6) Mozambique (2:16)
7) The Motorbike And The Dove (1:24)
8) Xing’mombila (2:10)
9) Alone On The Wide, Wide Sea (3:52)
10) Porpoise Escort (2:31)
11) After The Fire (1:50)
12) Sail The Summer Winds+ (2:21)
13) The Dove (End Title) (1:55)
The Extras – Stereo Album Mixes (No EFX)
14) Xing’mombila – Part 1 (No EFX) (0:25)
15) Xing’mombila – Part 2 (No EFX) (0:33)
16) The Dove (End Title) (No EFX) (1:49)
The Extras – Previously Unreleased Mono Score Cues
17) Sorta Romantic (1:14)
18) Rotten Cat (0:20)
19) Starting Again (2:28)
20) Near Miss (0:22)
21) From The Depths (2:17)
22) Unknown Seas (1:12)
23) Alone On The Wide, Wide Sea (Complete) (5:00)
24) His Decision (3:11)
+Lyricist: Don Black – Vocalist: Lyn Paul

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Kilday, Gregg (Oct 26, 1973). "From Loner's Voyage to a $2 Million Film: 'Dove' Trek a $2 Million Film LONERS VOYAGE". Los Angeles Times. p. g1.
  2. ^ The Dove at the American Film Institute Catalog.
  3. ^ Mills, Bart (9 June 1974). "Peck's gamble". Chicago Tribune. p. h64.
  4. ^ Macher, Charles (Dec 16, 1972). "Voyage of the Dove: Robin Graham became youngest to sail around globe, but pursuit of freedom produced loneliness until he found spiritual sense and a wife". Los Angeles Times. p. oc_a1.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Gregory Peck, producer". The Guardian. Feb 9, 1974. p. 10.
  6. ^ a b c Colander, Pat (Oct 6, 1974). "At a new helm, Peck sails into production". Chicago Tribune. p. e5.
  7. ^ Haber, Joyce (29 June 1975). "Just Like the Girl That Married Dear Old Dad". Los Angeles Times. p. t33.
  8. ^ Sayre, Nora (February 20, 1975). "The Dove: Sailing film is awash with wholesomeness". The New York Times. film review.
  9. ^ Brussat, Frederic; Brussat, Mary Ann. "film review". Spirituality and Practice.
  10. ^ "Film review". Variety. September 19, 1974. Retrieved November 29, 2009.
  11. ^ Rosenfield, Paul (Jan 2, 1977). "Peck in the Role of 'MacArthur': Gregory Peck Draws Battle Line as 'MacArthur'". Los Angeles Times. p. t1.
  12. ^ Lyn Paul official web site.
  13. ^

External linksEdit