The Call of the Wild
Call of the Wild 1972.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKen Annakin
Written byPeter Yeldham
Tíbor Reves (uncredited)[citation needed]
Harry Alan Towers (as Peter Welbeck)
Win Wells (as Wyn Wells)
Based on
The Call of the Wild
Produced byArtur Brauner
George Davis
Peter Manley
Harry Alan Towers
StarringCharlton Heston
Michèle Mercier
Raimund Harmstorf
George Eastman
CinematographyJohn Cabrera
Edited byThelma Connell
Music byCarlo Rustichelli
Distributed byIntercontinental Releasing Corp.
Release dates
30 November 1972 (Italy)
1 March 1975 (United States)
Running time
103 minutes
CountriesUnited Kingdom
West Germany

The Call of the Wild is a 1972 family adventure film directed by Ken Annakin and starring Charlton Heston, Michèle Mercier, Raimund Harmstorf, George Eastman, and Maria Rohm.

Based on Jack London's 1903 novel The Call of the Wild,[1] the film follows the adventures of a dog that is brought north to Canada to be used as a sled dog.


John Thornton (Charlton Heston) a prospector in the 1897 Klondike Gold Rush is trying to eke out a living in the harsh conditions of the bitterly cold Yukon region of Canada, with Buck the German Shepherd dog he befriends. Thornton struggles against unscrupulous rivals and natural hazards in the extreme conditions and is greatly helped by Buck who has his own story to tell: he was abducted from a family home and taken north to become a working sled dog. Man and dog forge a true bond of friendship, working together to survive life in the treacherous frozen North. Thornton is killed by Yeehat Indians, but Buck kills the men to avenge John Thornton. At the end of the film, Buck comes to the White River to mourn the place where he died.



The film was shot on location in Finland, Norway, and Spain.[2]


Charlton Heston in his autobiography In the Arena: An Autobiography made it very clear how unhappy he was with this film and asked people to not watch it.[3][page needed][4] Although it was poorly received upon release, and was not released in the United States until 1975, today the film is seen in a better light. Contemporary British and Irish Film Directors: A Wallflower Critical Guide described it as a "swinging back to action-adventure", starring "Charlton Heston at his best", another in the "long line of Annakin's panoramic films featuring a myriad of beautiful locations".[2]


  1. ^ Gale, C.L. (2015). A Study Guide for Jack London's The Call of the Wild. Novels for Students. The Gale Group, Inc. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-4103-3556-2. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  2. ^ a b Allon, Yoram; Cullen, Del; Patterson, Hannah (2001). Contemporary British and Irish Film Directors: A Wallflower Critical Guide. Wallflower Press. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-903364-21-5.
  3. ^ Charlton Heston (1997). In the Arena: An Autobiography. Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated. ISBN 978-1-57297-267-4.
  4. ^ Moore, R. (2014). Last Man Standing: Tales from Tinseltown. Michael O'Mara. p. 154. ISBN 978-1-78243-267-8. Retrieved 4 February 2018. Incidentally, of the former film, its star, Charlton Heston said, 'The worst film I ever made was The Call of the Wild.