Catfish: Man of the Woods (Film)

Catfish: Man of the Woods

  •  Alan Bennett
  •  1974
  • Color IconColor
  •  27:17
  •  16 mm film
Film Description
Clarence “Catfish” Gray is a fifth-generation herb doctor living near Glenwood, West Virginia. In this day-in-the-life visit, Catfish reads letters from around the world seeking health advice, gathers herbs and roots from the woods around his house, receives visitors, and, finally, relaxes by skinny-dipping in a nearby stream. Running throughout the film is Catfish’s constant discourse on his healing techniques and his personal philosophy of life. Fascinating as a character study, Catfish: Man of the Woods has also been used extensively in colleges of medicine and nursing and among health care providers to explore alternative methods of healing and cultural assumptions about medicine and health care.

Screenings & Festivals
  • American Film Institute
  • American Folklife on Film
  • National Film Theatre, British Film Institute
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

This film was preserved by Appalshop Archive with support from the National Film Preservation Foundation. To support the work of preserving and safeguarding the collections, please consider designating a donation to Appalshop Archive.


“A beautiful film, keenly observant and irresistibly appealing. It is difficult to imagine an audience that would fail to respond.” — The Washington Post
“A fun film … a real American character, full of malarkey, old wives’ tales, and tall talk. A great film for library programs.” — Los Angeles County Public Library System