The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Song for "Lavender Blue (Dilly, Dilly)", but lost against "Baby, It's Cold Outside" from Neptune's Daughter.
Set in early 20th century Indiana (in 1903), the film tells the tale of Jeremiah Kincaid (Bobby Driscoll) and his quest to raise his "champion" lamb, Danny (named for the famed race horse, Dan Patch, who is also portrayed in the film). Jeremiah's dream of showing Danny at the Pike County Fair must overcome the obstinate objections of his loving, yet strict, grandmother, Granny Kincaid (Beulah Bondi). Jeremiah's confidant Uncle Hiram (Burl Ives) is his steady ally.
Set in Indiana in 1903, the film tells the tale of Jeremiah Kincaid (Bobby Driscoll) and his determination to raise a black-wool lamb that had been rejected by its mother. Jeremiah names the lamb Danny for the famed race horse, Dan Patch (who is also portrayed in the film). Jeremiah's dream of showing Danny at the Pike County Fair must overcome the obstinate objections of his loving—yet tough—grandmother Granny (Beulah Bondi). Jeremiah's confidant, Uncle Hiram (Burl Ives), is the boy's steady ally. Inspired by the animated figures and stories, the boy perseveres.
- Bobby Driscoll as Jeremiah Kincaid
- Luana Patten as Tildy
- Burl Ives as Uncle Hiram
- Beulah Bondi as Granny Kincaid
- Harry Carey as Head Judge at County Fair
- Raymond Bond as Pete Grundy, Storekeeper
- Walter Soderling as Grampa Meeker
- Matt Willis as Mr. Burns, Horse Trainer
- Spelman B. Collins as Judge
- Bob Haymes as Singer Bob Haymes
- John Beal as Adult Jeremiah/Narrator
- Ken Carson as Owl
- Bob Stanton
- The Rhythmaires as Vocal Ensemble
The train depot in the film was later relocated to Grizzly Flats Railroad. After the railroad closed, John Lasseter relocated it to his property.
- "So Dear to My Heart"
- "It's Whatcha Do With Whatcha Got"
- "Ho-Dee-I, Ho-De-ay, At the County Fair"
- "Lavender Blue (Dilly, Dilly)"
- "The Honey Song"
- "The Black Lamb"
- "Jerry's Lamb"
- "Billy Boy"
- The film was re-released in 1964 and earned an estimated $1.5 million in rentals in North America.
- So Dear to My Heart was not released on home video until 1986. It was then re-released in 1992 and released on video in 1994 as part of the Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection. The film was originally planned for a US DVD release as part of the Walt Disney Gold Classic Collection, but was cancelled, with no particular reason given. Six years after seeing a region 2 DVD release, it was released in the US on DVD in July 2008 as a Disney Movie Club Exclusive.