''The Reluctant Dragon'' is a [[UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfAnimation 1941]] film by [[Creator/{{Disney}} Walt Disney Pictures]]. While much of the film was shot with live footage, the film takes a behind-the-scenes look at how Disney makes their cartoons, via a tour around their then-newly built Burbank studio, and several animated segments are graciously scattered throughout.

The plot of the film is centered on humorist Robert Benchley, whose wife hectors him into visiting the Disney studio to try to pitch an adaptation of the Kenneth Grahame book "The Reluctant Dragon". The film then shows him going through several parts of the studio, including the life drawing class, a live recording of WesternAnimation/DonaldDuck and Clara Cluck's voice actors (singing an Opera--''in character'', no less!), a sound stage working on a short centered on a proto-[[Disney/{{Dumbo}} Casey Jr.]], the camera department (where the film makes a jarring switch to full blown technicolor) where we get a look at the famous Multiplane Camera (as well as a cameo appearance by DonaldDuck), a trip through the ink-and-paint department (where we get a cameo of Disney/{{Bambi}}), the maquette department, a storyboard session (where we are presented the story of "Baby Weems", which is a very intriguing experiment in LimitedAnimation), an animators' room (with appearances by [[Creator/DisneysNineOldMen Ward Kimball]], Creator/FredMoore and [[UsefulNotes/NoteworthyDisneyStaff Norm Ferguson]]) where we are presented an all-new WesternAnimation/{{Goofy}} cartoon short ("How to Ride a Horse"), and finally a screening room, where Benchley meets Creator/WaltDisney himself and is treated to the presentation of an animated short based on... "The Reluctant Dragon"!

The film was made for the purpose of economics. Due to the financial failures of ''Disney/{{Pinocchio}}'' and ''Disney/{{Fantasia}}'', Walt needed a way to make some quick cash, and realizing how popular one of his previous documentaries centered on making cartoons was, he decided to make a film that delves very deep into the making of his studio's works. The film was also made as a way of getting good publicity for the studio during the rise of the disastrous 1941 studio strike. Unfortunately, it didn't work. Critics were strongly disappointed that the film was not another animated feature but rather a collection of shorts and scathed it as a "cheater film"--the fact that the aforementioned strike undermined the way the film presented the studio didn't help. As such, the film flopped badly, failing to make up even its budget of US$600,000. Watched today, in its proper context, it's a very interesting, and humorous film.

The actual "Reluctant Dragon" short from the end has sometimes been re-released as its own standalone subject or packaged with another short, but the entire, unabridged film is available as a bonus feature on the Blu-Ray bundle of ''Disney/TheAdventuresOfIchabodAndMrToad'' and ''Disney/FunAndFancyFree'', and for digital download and streaming. The characters of the Dragon and Sir Giles would later make "blink and you'll miss 'em" cameos in the film ''Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit''.

No relation to ''[[Film/PetesDragon1977 Pete's]] [[Film/PetesDragon2016 Dragon]]'', by the way.
!!Tropes Related To This Film:
* AnimatedAdaptation: ''The Reluctant Dragon'' cartoon is based on Kenneth Grahame's 1898 book of the same name (originally published as a chapter in his book ''Dream Days'').
* AnimationBump: The Reluctant Dragon segment.
* AnthologyFilm
* BabiesMakeEverythingBetter: The Baby Weems segment.
* BerserkButton: The dragon can't get angry enough to breathe fire, until he is called a "punk poet".
* BrainyBaby: Baby Weems.
* BreakingTheFourthWall: When Robert enters the camera department and sees that the film is now in color.
* TheBore: Humphrey, the guide sent to take Robert to Walt. Robert finds him so boring that he constantly slips away from him, which is how he ends up touring the studio.
* CampGay: The dragon is so camp it's hard to believe they got away with this in the 1940's.
* CaptainObvious: When Robert sees some cows in the Casey Jr. animated segment, he feels free to point out that those are, in fact, "Cows."
* CommonalityConnection: Sir Giles and the dragon bond very quickly over their mutual love of poetry, much to the annoyance of the boy who just wants them to fight.
* DeliberatelyMonochrome: The film prior to the camera department. An interesting example, as it was probably done to save Walt a few bucks.
* DisneyAcidSequence: The rainbow room, with the paint mixing, wouldn't be out of place in ''Film/WillyWonkaAndTheChocolateFactory''.
* EarlyBirdCameo: Of [[Disney/{{Dumbo}} Casey Jr]], Disney/{{Bambi}}, and in the model department we get looks at models of [[Disney/LadyAndTheTramp Aunt Sarah, Si, and Am]], and [[Disney/PeterPan Captain Hook and Tinkerbell]].
* ExplodingCloset: Robert inadvertently opens one of these while trying to hide from Humphrey.
* FauxToGuide: "How to Ride a Horse", the first of the Goofy "How-to" cartoons.
* FramingDevice: The whole film is one for the Reluctant Dragon segment at the end.
* HenpeckedHusband: Robert.
* InterspeciesFriendship: One is forged between Sir Giles and the dragon, [[HumansAreBastards though they are reminded people want to see them fight to the death]], but they happily work out how to please everyone.
* IsThisWhatAngerFeelsLike: The dragon cheerfully saying, "Ooh, I'm mad, I'm mad!"
* LimitedAnimation: The Baby Weems segment.
* MoodyMount: The horse Goofy tries to ride in "How to Ride a Horse". Sir Giles' horse counts too, judging from the sour expression he makes while watching Giles and the dragon fake-fight.
* ObliviousToHisOwnDescription: As the animators sketch an elephant, Robert comments on how stupid elephants are and holds up one of the drawings as an example, unaware that it's a caricature of him as an elephant.
* OurDragonsAreDifferent: This one is a prissy, docile poet. Then again, so is Sir Giles.
* RandomEventsPlot
* ReluctantMonster: The dragon, of course.
* RogerRabbitEffect: Not the film itself, but when Robert falls into the pool and tries speaking with water in his mouth, the bubbles that are coming out are clearly hand drawn animation. Also there's the scene in the camera room where DonaldDuck talks back to Robert.
* ShaggyDogStory: After going all over the studio looking for Walt, Humphrey corners Robert and finally takes him to Walt; Robert finds him in the projection room, screening a film of the very story he was going to sell Walt.
* TheShortGuyWithGlasses: Humphrey, the studio tour guide.
* StockFootage: The footage of Donald explaining to Robert how a walk cycle works has been reused in various making-of featurettes with someone else in the place of Robert.