How to Train Your Dragon is a 2010 American 3D computer-animated action-fantasy film produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Paramount Pictures. Loosely based on the British book series of the same name by Cressida Cowell, the film was directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, the duo who directed Disney's Lilo & Stitch. It stars the voices of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.
The story takes place in a mythical Viking world where a young Viking teenager named Hiccup aspires to follow his tribe's tradition of becoming a dragon slayer. After finally capturing his first dragon, and with his chance at at last gaining the tribe's acceptance, he finds that he no longer wants to kill it and instead befriends it.
The film was released March 26, 2010 and was a critical and commercial success, earning acclaim from film critics and audiences and earning nearly $500 million worldwide. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score at the 83rd Academy Awards, but lost to Toy Story 3 and The Social Network, respectively. The movie also won ten Annie Awards, including Best Animated Feature.
A sequel, How to Train Your Dragon 2, was written and directed by Dean DeBlois and released on June 13, 2014 and was also universally acclaimed and a box office success. A second sequel, How to Train Your Dragon 3 is to be released on June 29, 2018. The film's success has also inspired other merchandise, including a video game and a TV series.
The island of Berk is a remote Viking village, from which dragons periodically steal livestock. Hiccup, the awkward son of the village chieftain, Stoick the Vast, is too small to fight the dragons and instead fashions mechanical devices under his apprenticeship with Gobber the blacksmith, though his inventions often backfire. During one attack, Hiccup believes he has shot down a Night Fury, an extremely rare and dangerous dragon. Hiccup later finds it in the forest trapped in his bolas, but finds that he can't bring himself to kill the dragon and instead sets it free. Stoick assembles a fleet to find the dragons' nest, leaving Hiccup in a dragon-fighting class taught by Gobber. Hiccup returns to the forest to find the Night Fury still there, and realizes it is unable to fly properly because of its crippled caudal fin. Hiccup gradually tames the dragon and gives it the name "Toothless", for its retractable teeth. Hiccup makes a harness and prosthetic fin that allows him to guide the dragon in free flight. By studying Toothless' behavior, Hiccup becomes proficient in subduing the captive dragons during training. Stoick's fleet arrives home unsuccessful, but he is cheered by Hiccup's unexpected success.
Astrid, a tough Viking girl whom Hiccup has a crush on, discovers Hiccup is training Toothless but before she can tell the village, Hiccup takes her for a ride to demonstrate his relationship with the dragon. Toothless unexpectedly takes the pair to the dragons' nest where they discover a gargantuan dragon named the Red Death that eats the smaller dragons unless they bring it stolen livestock.
Back at the village, Hiccup subdues a captive dragon in his final training test in front of his father instead of killing it, but Stoick inadvertently angers the dragon into attacking. Toothless attempts to protect Hiccup in the ensuing panic but is instead captured by the Vikings. Hiccup accidentally reveals to Stoick that Toothless is capable of locating the dragons' nest. Stoick disowns his son and sets off for the nest with Toothless chained to the lead ship as a guide. The Vikings expel most of the dragons but are overwhelmed by the Red Death until Hiccup, Astrid and their fellow pupils fly in riding the training dragons from the academy and provide cover fire. Hiccup almost drowns trying to break Toothless free from a sinking ship but Stoick saves them both and then reconciles with his son. Toothless and Hiccup destroy the Red Death but Hiccup is injured in the fight. Hiccup regains consciousness on Berk where his left foot has been replaced by a prosthesis, and the Vikings and the dragons now live in harmony.
- Jay Baruchel as Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III: companion of Toothless, a Night Fury.
- Producer Bonnie Arnold declared that Hiccup's appeal emerges from Baruchel's voice acting and the character's mannerisms making him a "slightly offbeat character."
- Gerard Butler as Stoick the Vast, the chieftain of the Viking tribe and Hiccup's father. A fierce, immensely strong and utterly fearless, warrior.
- Director Chris Sanders described Stoick as "representing everything that's Viking", and thus a very important character in how he intimidates his son Hiccup. Butler considered that "half my career led me into playing a role like this," particularly Beowulf & Grendel, which is set in the Viking age, and was trying to avoid depicting Stoick as villainous, instead aiming for "a character that we can all identify, he's not just big and tough, also vulnerable."
- Craig Ferguson as Gobber the Belch: blacksmith, a close friend of Stoick's, and training master of the young warriors. He is the mediator between Hiccup and Stoick. He is missing his right foot and his left hand, the latter of which he has replaced with a variety of specialized prosthetics.
- Director Dean Deblois said Gobber's characterization drew a lot from how Ferguson's comedic routine "takes a really dark situation and phrases it in a way there's always a punchline."
- America Ferrera as Astrid Hofferson, Hiccup's fellow-student.
- DreamWorks had long been interested in having Ferrera voicing one of their movies and, once invited, the actress picked up Cressida Cowell's book, which made her accept the job. Bonnie Arnold complimented how Ferrera "has a strong voice, but also a lot of heart in it" that helped make Astrid sympathetic even as she continued being rough to Hiccup.
- Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Fishlegs Ingerman: an enthusiastic youth, knowledgeable in dragon lore narrated role-playing game terms.
- Bonnie Arnold declared Mintz-Plasse's voice made them immediately think of Fishlegs, as the character's big frame needed something to contrast, and the actor's "squeaky, small voice" was perfect to complement a "dragon nerd".
- Jonah Hill as Snotlout Jorgenson, one of Hiccup's dragon-training classmates. Snotlout is brash, overconfident, and fairly unintelligent, but reliable.
- T. J. Miller and Kristen Wiig as Tuffnut and Ruffnut Thorston, a pair of quarrelsome twins.
- David Tennant as Spitelout. A Viking who is not named in the film, he appears to be Stoick's second-in-command and Snotlout's father. Tennant has previously narrated a series of Hiccup adventures on audio book.
- Robin Atkin Downes as Ack
- Philip McGrade as Starkard
- Kieron Elliot as Hoark the Haggard
- Ashley Jensen as Phlegma the Fierce