Balto

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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, Cliff Ruby, Elana Lesser and Roger S.H. Schulman.

Dialogue[edit]

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: [completely elated] 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.

Dixie: Good morning, Jenna! Otta be a close race, don't yah think? Maybe even neck, and, neck!
Sylvie: Say something about her new collar before she gets whiplash!
Jenna: Um, Dixie, what a pretty collar! Is it new?
Dixie: What, this old thing? Yeah. D'You think, uh, Steele will notice?
Jenna: I'm afraid the only way Steele notices anyone is if they're wearing a mirror.

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] Hey 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, don't you?
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. [splash]
Luk: Help! Help! We can't swim! Help, help! [Boris and Balto run to where Muk and Luk are screaming] We're drowning, we're drowning! Save us!
Boris: Bears? Fellas? IDIOT BALLS OF FLUFF!! [Muk and Luk thrash and yell in shallow water]
Balto: Easy, Boris. You know how they are. Muk. Luk. Relax. Hey come on! You're not drowning!
Boris: [with Russian accent] He has point bears. You are not drowning because; if you had thought for a moment you will observe, perhaps: TIDE IS OUT! [stomps away, annoyed]
[Luk whimpers]
Boris: He said, what?
Muk: (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! It's what he said, kind of pathetic, really.
Boris: What? More whimpering? Between you and Balto it's like Dostoyevsky novel out here. Lighten up.

[Jenna is worriedly at the window of a hospital room, observing Rosy, who is not well. Balto comes by]
Balto: Jenna? [clears his throat and lowers his voice] Jenna.
Jenna: [turns to Balto] Balto, hi. [turns back to the window]
Balto: Hi. Look, uh... just a shot in the dark, but I was wondering if, I don't know, maybe you'd like to go chase a few sticks by moonlight. [chuckles, then sighs. He then notices Jenna is distracted] Jenna?
Jenna: Rosy's in there.
Balto: [confused; looks in the window] In a hospital? Why?
Jenna: She feels warm, and she has a terrible cough. [turns to Balto] Balto, what's wrong with her?
Balto: Uh, I'm not sure, but I know how to find out. Come on. [takes Jenna to the boiler room door] I have the keys to the city. [expertly disables the door's hinge and pushes the door open] After you.
Jenna: [admires Balto's paw, very impressed] Balto!
Balto: [laughs awkwardly] Uh... big paws kinda run in my family. At least.. uh, one side of my family. [takes Jenna into the room] Stay close.
Jenna: [laughs nervously] No problem there. It's so gloomy down here. Not that I'm scared or anything.
Balto: Gloomy? You kiddin'? It's the most beautiful spot in the world. Dogs travel for years just to be right here.
Jenna: Here? I can't imagine why.
Balto: That's 'cause you're looking at the bowl half empty. See this? [pushes broken bottles] It's 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: Oh, 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, Balto, you're right. It's beautiful.
Balto: [looking at Jenna] Yeah. Beautiful.

Father: [Referring to Rosy] Doctor, how is she?
Dr. Welch: [disappointed] Exhausted from coughing, her fever's getting worse. Looks like diphtheria. [sighs] She's the 18th case this week. And I'm out of antitoxin.

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 groans in horror] 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.

Star: Steele! We're going in circles!
Steele: What?!
Star: Gaa-aaah! Circles is a good thing. I mean they're, uh, they're circular.
Steele: I know what I'm doing! It's... this way! Come on! [guides the team along a ledge. They lose their balance and slip down an icy hill]
Musher: Waa-aaah! Whoa! Whoa, Steele!
[The team tumbles down the hill. The dogs land in various spots. The musher lands on his head and is knocked out instantly]
Nikki: Ooh! I hit my head on somethin'.
Kaltag: Yeah. My head.
Dog: [examining the musher] Looks like he's hurt bad, Steele.
Star: Wh-What're we gonna do now, Steele?

[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 who can't swim?!

Jenna: Maybe I'm not so fine. You should go ahead without me.
Balto: Jenna...
Jenna: I'll be slowing everyone down. Rosy can't hold out much longer.
Balto: [picks up a branch] Muk, you and Luk carry Jenna back to town on this.
Boris: [sternly] And this time, don't take time out for a swim! [laughs]
Balto: [to Boris] You can make sure of that, Boris. You're gonna lead them home. Just follow my marks.
Jenna: You're going alone?
Balto: Won't be the first time.
Jenna: [removes her bandanna and puts it on Balto's neck] Here. Afraid it won't keep you very warm.
Balto: Yeah, it will.
[Balto and Jenna nuzzle. Luk starts crying]
Muk: Well, of course Balto will come back. He's Balto, isn't he?
Balto: Hey! I'm coming back with the medicine. I promise, Jenna. [to Muk and Luk] Go ahead, guys. Take her home. [turns to continue walking]
Boris: [stops Balto] Balto, I do not like leaving you out here alone. Who's going to tell you how cold you are?
Balto: [sternly] Boris. [shoves Boris to look at the others] They need you even more than I do.
Boris: Let me tell you something, Balto. A dog cannot make this journey alone. [pauses] But... maybe a wolf can. [Balto grimaces. Boris turns to Muk and Luk] You two balls of fluff! Let's move! [leads them back] Hey! Two, three, four!
[Balto watches as Boris, Muk and Luk carry Jenna back, then continues to walk by himself. The sound of a telegraph wire beeping is heard. The scene changes to the telegraph office]
Telegraph operator: [translating a message] Nome. Stop. Cannot ship more antitoxin. Stop. Weather too severe. Stop. Lost sled team only hope. Stop. Our prayers are with them. Anchorage. Stop. [Morris sadly listens to the message from under the table]
[The scene cuts back to Balto still walking through the forest alone that evening]
Balto: [begins to get Steele in his scent] Steele.
[Balto continues further, until he gets to the icy hill overlooking the team. Balto descends the hill and reaches the team. Nikki, Kaltag and Star are surprised to see him]
Star: Balto!
Nikki: Is that Balto?
Kaltag: Balto, how did you find us?!
Balto: Is anyone hurt?
Steele: [angrily enunciating] Everyone. Is. Fine.
Star: Yeah, but our musher hit his head! And he didn't get up.
Nikki: And he's not movin'.
Balto: [picks up the sled harness] Alright, follow me. I can lead you home.
Steele: [stops him, hostilely] We don't need your help!
Star: [nervously] M-maybe we should listen to him. [Steele growls at him and he ducks for cover in fear]
Nikki: How would youse get us home?
Balto: [cautiously] Well, I...I marked a trail, like this. [scratches bark off a tree to show them]
Steele: [abrasively knocks the tree down and confronts him] I'll get us back. I'm the lead dog. I'm in charge.
Balto: But... Then, let me take back the medicine. They're getting sicker.
Steele: [jumps between Balto and the sled] Touch that box, and I'll tear you apart.
Nikki: [betting with Kaltag] Two bones says Steele takes him.
Kaltag: You're on.
Balto: [firmly] Steele, I'm not leaving without that medicine.
Steele: [angrily pushes him away] Who do you think you are?
Nikki: Hey, this is gonna be good. [chuckles]
Balto: [trying to reason with Steele] Since...since when do you need a pedigree to help someone? [moves toward the sled, but Steele blocks his way again] Steele, let me help you.
Nikki: [off-camera] Look at his eyes!
[Balto tries again, but Steele knocks him away]
Kaltag: Oh, he'll feel that tomorrow.
Nikki: I think he's feeling it now!
Kaltag: Ouch!
Balto: I don't want to fight. [goes for the sled a fourth time, but Steele again stops him, this time biting him and brutally throwing him aside]
Kaltag: Whoa, that can't be legal!
Nikki: Yeah!
[Balto, undeterred, tries again to get the medicine, but Steele still won't let him; this time, he knocks the sled over]
Nikki: [shocked] That stuff is fragile!
Star: What's with Steele? All Balto wants to do is help.
[Steele viciously throws Balto against a rock. Balto becomes motionless. Steele lets out an evil laugh. The three other dogs are starting to mourn Balto]
Star: Ah, look!
[The dogs notice Balto getting back up. Steele grabs Jenna's bandanna around Balto's neck, but ends up pulling it off, falls over the cliff behind him as Balto watches on. The team straightens the sled back up and load the unconscious musher back onto the sled]
Musher: [groaning and not waking up] Good boy.
[All the dogs hitch themselves back up. As Balto walks over to the dogs, Star, with a huge smile, holds the harness out to him. Balto hesitates. Star holds it slightly higher, as if encouraging Balto. Balto takes the harness, puts it on and looks at it with amazement]
Balto: Mush!
[Balto and the team set off. Steele makes his way back up the cliff to find the team having already left]
Steele: Go ahead, wolf-dog! You'll never get home! [grinning evilly] I'll make sure of that. I'll show 'em. [marks every tree in the forest] Why not this way? How about over here? Oops! Wrong way! [gives off a sinister cackle]
[Balto and the team are hiking through the forest, when Balto stops, looking at the marked trees and detecting Steele's scent on some of them]
Balto: Oh, no.
Star: Which way, Balto? Which way? Which way?
Balto: [looks around desperately] Uh... this way. [continues to lead the team through the forest, but sees Steele's fake markings on every tree] No, it can't be!
Kaltag: Why are you taking us in circles?
Balto: I'm not! I mean, I don't know. [gesturing to the marked trees] It's Steele. [stops, and the other dogs pile behind him]
Nikki: [referring to Steele; beginning to have doubts] Maybe we was better off with him there.
Balto: [panicking] No! Come on! Mush! [frantically begins running too fast]
Star: Whooooa! Balto, slow down! Please!

Steele: Of course, as you know, I swam and I swam. It was freezing cold. And finally, I said "Steele, you just have to gnaw your way to the surface," so I-- [hears Balto howling outside] What?
Doc: [looks out the window] It's Balto with the medicine! [runs outside]
Dixie: Oh, Steele, you are positively dis... [enraged] posable! [slaps Steele across the face]
[All the dogs growl angrily at Steele and storm out on him]
Steele: [humiliated] Okay, okay, I can explain. You guys weren't there, so... Wait a minute, guys. Wait just a second, please...?
Town dog: [angrily] GET LOST!
[The door slams in Steele's face]

[last lines]
Balto: Jenna! [runs over to play with Jenna]
[A loud applause erupts from the humans and dogs]
Star: Way to go, Balto!
Kaltag: He has the most endurance, the most fidelity, the most intelligence--
Star: They should build a statue of him! [flinches, thinking he'll be hit again]
Kaltag: [smiles] You said it!
Star: I did?
[The screen shows an overhead shot of the humans and dogs congratulating Balto, before panning up to the night sky, where the Northern Lights are shining. They form the silhouette of a wolf, which howls. The silhouette then turns into Blaze, shifting the film back to live-action. The elderly woman and her granddaughter have finally reached Balto's memorial]
Rosy's granddaughter: This is it, Grandma! Blaze found it.
Grandma Rosy: What does it say?
Rosy's granddaughter: "Dedicated to the... indomable?"
Grandma Rosy: "Indomitable."
Rosy's granddaughter: "Indomitable spirit of the sled dogs."
Grandma Rosy: "That relayed antitoxin 600 miles from Nenana to the relief of stricken Nome... in the winter of 1925."
Rosy's granddaughter: "Endurance, fidelity, intelligence." Balto really did do all that, didn't he, Grandma?
Grandma Rosy: Oh, yes, sweetheart. He really did. [places a musher's hat on her granddaughter's head] And today, they run the Iditarod Dog Race over the very path he and the others took.
Rosy's granddaughter: Can Blaze do that too, Grandma? [Blaze briefly looks up, before dropping his head again]
Grandma Rosy: Maybe. With practice. [Blaze proceeds to bark] A lot of practice. [laughs]
Rosy's granddaughter: [walks Blaze away] Come on, Blaze. Come on! Mush!
[The elderly woman happily watches her granddaughter walk off, then gazes up at the statue with a contented sigh]
Grandma Rosy: Thank you, Balto. I would've been lost without you.
Rosy's granddaughter: Grandma Rosy! Grandma Rosy, come on!
[Grandma Rosy pleasantly walks off to join her granddaughter. The intro to "Reach for the Light" by Steve Winwood begins to play as Balto's statue stands proudly in the sunlight]

Taglines[edit]

  • 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[edit]

External links[edit]

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