Ferdinand the Bull (1938) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Little Ferdinand the bull is stung by a bumblebee when men come to pick a bull for a fight. When he gets in the arena, all he cares about are the flowers in the matador's hands.

  • Little Ferdinand would much rather smell the flowers than butt heads with the other cows. When the men come to choose the bull for the fight, Ferdinand accidentally sits on a bumblebee. The men see him dash around madly, so they pick Ferdinand. Comes the bullfight, and all Ferdinand cares about is the bouquet of flowers a woman tossed to the matador.

  • When you are a young bull with the incessant aspiration to see yourself fighting in Madrid's glorious bullfights, practising your skills and butting heads with other calves is absolutely necessary for your success. However, the big and strong, Ferdinand, all he wants to do is to smell the flowers under the thick shade of his favourite cork tree--so, imagine everyone's surprise when a raging Ferdinand starts thrashing around, smashing everything in sight. Surely, he must be the herd's most capable and fearsome bull--a formidable opponent worthy of a proud and much-lauded matador. But, is this true?


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • In a countryside residing in Spain, a number of young bulls romp and play, butting their heads with each other. All except Ferdinand, who takes more delight in sitting under a tree and smelling the flowers. His mother tries to get him to reconsider, but Ferdinand continues to go about smelling the flowers. After some time, the bulls have all grown up. However, age has not affected Ferdinand's 'philosophy.'

    One day, some men from the nearby town come to choose a bull for the bullfight. The other bulls eagerly parade their skills before the men. Ferdinand just watches, but as he tries to sit down in another spot, he accidentally sits on a bee. The sting of the little bee causes him to become spooked, and in his pain, he smashes a number of objects. This causes the men to choose him.

    Ferdinand is brought into the ring, but instead of fighting the bullfighter, he makes a beeline for a bouquet of flowers that had been thrown by a lovely senorita. The bullfighter tries to rile Ferdinand, and finally rips open his shirt. However, on his chest is a tattoo of a flower. Ferdinand nonchalantly gives it a pleasing lick, and the bullfighter final concedes defeat in a shower of tears.

    Ferdinand is then taken from the ring and returned to his tree, where he still continues to wile away the time, smelling flowers.

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