The true story of a 16 year old (Robin Lee Graham, played by Joseph Bottoms) who sailed alone around the world in a 23 foot sloop named “The Dove”. On his journey he meets and falls in love with a young woman (Patti Ratteree, played by Deborah Raffin) who is also traveling around the world. The story follows Robin around the world to many beautiful locals, as he grows from a boy to a man, finds himself, and finds the love of his life.
User Reviews: Interesting film, more for what it isn’t perhaps, rather than what it should have been.
Those expecting a 70’s drama-packed teenage version of All Is Lost will be mightily disappointed. For a start the soundtrack is, sadly, just, all at sea. It’s something I would have expected to better accompanying a wild life documentary. Neither do the two original songs add much to the emotional contexts of the occasions. They just seem to intrude uninvitingly.
In fact the dramatic aspects of this largely true story, are the movie’s weakest aspect. This may partly be due to this 1974 film being produced on what even back then, was not a huge budget by any means. Mid-ocean tempests therefore are not excitingly enhanced by special effects. However the film undoubtedly still succeeds, in giving the audience a reasonable idea of the various challenges young Robin Lee Graham faced, in circumnavigating the globe in his tiny craft, among them for instance, losing a mast mid-voyage.
Alternatively, the love story between Robin and Patti emerges, in my opinion, as the strongest aspect of the narrative. There is an undeniable chemistry between the two leads and the picture works best, when both are onscreen together. Good to see that they both actually look the part.
As others have noted there is an unusual lack of back story to Robin’s voyage and only the slightest mention in passing is made of the planning and organisation undertaken before he cast off. In fact we don’t even see the beginning of the trip in Hawaii, as the film’s action abruptly opens near Fiji.
This results in Robin’s father in his relatively brief couple of appearances, perhaps unfairly, being cast as the "villain of the piece", when in reality, common sense tells us, as an experienced sailor, he must have had a huge role to play, in seeing his 16 year-old son set off on his historic voyage.
A rather charming little factor at play in The Dove, is the virtual complete absence of any sense of rush to complete the voyage, except possibly towards the end of the film. Robin doesn’t really seem to care about when he finishes, which contrasts starkly with the intent of most contemporary sailors to set quicker and quicker, race and time records.
For those who might be interested, there are a number of brief appearances by well-known Australian actors in supporting roles and I did get a laugh out of seeing a young Dabney Coleman, join in the fun, playing an Aussie I think, with an amusingly hybrid accent.