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John Smith is the deuteragonist of Disney's 1995 animated feature film Pocahontas. He is a renowned English explorer that took part in Governor Ratcliffe's expedition to Virginia, where he would meet and fall in love with Pocahontas. Smith is very loosely based on the actual historical figure of the same name.


John Smith is a handsome, young English explorer, adventurer, and soldier, who is shown to already be a legend when he first appears, as Thomas mentions that there are "amazing stories about him." He is well known for his exploits as an explorer, not to mention his success at fighting savages.

According to the book A Boy Across The Sea from the Six New Adventures collection, John Smith was born in Willoughby, Lincolnshire. He grew up on a farm and was the oldest of three siblings. He has a brother named Francis and a sister named Alice.


At the beginning of the film, Smith initially assumes that the voyage to the New World will be the same as the other voyages he has taken. By the end of the film, though, many of his views about the natives have changed thanks to Pocahontas.

At the beginning of the film, John is shown to have some prejudiced views regarding Native Americans, as he believes them to be savages. Despite these views, he is regarded for his courage and heroism. An encounter with Pocahontas and getting to know her and so much she teaches him changes his opinions, and he comes to believe that the natives can help his people. He is also shown to be selfless, as he was willing to take the blame for Thomas when he kills Kocoum. This is also demonstrated when he risks his own life to save Thomas from drowning during a storm.

John also shows that he can also be caring, as he takes Thomas under his wing and becomes his best friend. He also shows this as he teaches Thomas things he knows about shooting and sailing. Throughout the film, he shows the same loyalty to Thomas as Thomas shows him.

Physical appearance[]

John Smith is a muscular young English man who had fair skin, shoulder-length light blond hair with fringes on each side, and blue eyes.

In Pocahontas and its sequel, he wears a conquistador uniform consisting of a medium blue conquistador armor, a light blue long-sleeved button shirt with the sleeves are folded into cuffs, blue pants, and dark blue boots with folded sleeves. He was also worn a satchel and a musket. He initially wore a blue helmet to match his outfit in the original film. His primary outfit appears in different shades of blue.

When he was captured by Chief Powhatan and was nearly executed, John's medium blue conquistador armor was removed and his light blue button shirt was loose and his boots from his primary outfit became black. When he is about to return to England after saving Chief Powhatan from getting shot by Ratcliffe, John's button shirt was open to show his chest while covered with white bandages due to the gunshot wound he sustained.

At the end of the sequel, John now wears a dark blue sleeveless tunic with gold trim with a white long-sleeved collared shirt, blue pants, and black traditional shoes and gray socks.




John Smith in Pocahontas.

In 1607, the Virginia Company finances a voyage to the New World, so that settlers may found a colony in the new world. Due to his extraordinary reputation in dealing with natives, John Smith is chosen to be the captain. Governor Ratcliffe, who is to be the leader of the new colony, notes that he is depending on John to deal with the natives so that there are no disruptions. During the voyage, an inexperienced teenager named Thomas falls overboard. In response, John, with some assistance from Ben and Lon, mounts a risky but successful rescue mission, earning him Ratcliffe's praise. Thomas tells John his plans for the New World, saying he hopes to find riches and a new place to settle but John is more interested in exploring and taming new lands than finding riches. John notes that he has seen hundreds of new worlds and that there could be little that would be different about this one. However, he is moved by Thomas' spirit, will, and bravery and takes Thomas on as his protégé.

When they reach the new world, work begins on a colony, which is named Jamestown, Virginia. Upon landing, John is sent out with a crew so that they can tie the ship off. However, John instead decides to explore a bit, unknowingly being watched by Pocahontas of the Powhatan tribe. He suddenly encounters Meeko and inspects the creature, who almost gives away Pocahontas' position before John is suddenly summoned by the sound of a bugle. Ratcliffe then tasks John with exploring the surrounding area, to scout for natives.

While exploring, John is impressed by the land, deeming it more wild and challenging than he imagined. Meanwhile, he is secretly being followed by Pocahontas. John stops to wash his face at a river but notices a reflection. Hiding behind a rock, he readies his gun, but when he jumps upon the person, he discovers a beautiful woman. He puts down his gun and tries to introduce himself at first, just before the woman runs from him, and he quickly follows her. John tries to explain that he means her no harm, which only falls on deaf ears due to the language barrier between their cultures. However, Pocahontas takes his hand and sees he is not a threat to her, and they take a moment to listen with their hearts, allowing them to understand each other. When John asks her name, she tells him that her name is Pocahontas. The two talk for some time, bonding over their different cultures. Pocahontas is fascinated by John's description of London's advanced technologies and infrastructure and hopes she will be able to experience it herself one day. John states that such day will come, as the settlers intend to introduce their culture to her people and urbanize Virginia. Pocahontas objects to this plan as her people get along just fine with the way things are, to which John replies that she only thinks that because she does not know of any better ways of life. Pocahontas is insulted by his statement and storms off in disgust. John goes after her, explaining that the white man has traveled the world improving the lives of "savages", a term that angers Pocahontas. He tries to apologize, and although Pocahontas realizes he means well, she calls him out on his colonist mindset, teaching him that prosperity is not measured by cultural development and that between the two of them, John is actually the ignorant one since he does not consider the fact that he can learn so much from other cultures rather than forcing his own onto them. However, their time together is cut short when Pocahontas hears the sound of drums and runs off.

A few days later, John sneaks away from camp to find Pocahontas. During their talk, John tells Pocahontas that the main reason the settlers came was to find gold, something Pocahontas is unfamiliar with and after hearing a description holds up an ear of corn. John corrects her by showing her a gold piece, which Pocahontas has never seen and states that nothing like that exists in Virginia as far as she is aware of. The disappointed John remarks that they came a long way for nothing, and notes that some settlers might leave, but that the rest would have to carry out the settlement. Pocahontas asks if he would leave, but John notes he has nothing to go back to in England, as he has never belonged anywhere due to his constant traveling. Pocahontas chooses to introduce John to Grandmother Willow. The experience shocks him at first, but he grows to like her, especially after she compliments his looks. They are interrupted by Ben and Lon, who have come looking for John. John and Pocahontas hide, and Grandmother Willow spooks the two men away. John decides to go back before they send more people looking for him but first, agrees to meet Pocahontas that night at Grandmother Willow's glade.

When John returns to camp, he is nearly shot at by Thomas. John then proceeds to coach Thomas on how to aim more properly by keeping both eyes open and slaps his little friend on the back before going in. He is then questioned by Ratcliffe as to where he had been. John uses the excuse that he was scouting. Ratcliffe approves, as the information will be useful for the upcoming battle. John learns that Ratcliffe plans to attack the natives, in order to get the gold Ratcliffe believes them to be hiding. He protests, much to the surprise of Ratcliffe and the settlers, causing the only moment of tension between him and Thomas for the whole film. John relates what he has learned from Pocahontas, though he does not reveal her identity, saying only that he met a native. John notes the advantages of working with the natives and shows them an ear of corn he brought back as proof that they are not the savages they initially assumed they were. He then says that there is no gold, much to the settlers' surprise and disappointment, but Ratcliffe dismisses the tale as lies and proclaims that anyone who sees natives must shoot them on sight or be charged with treason and hanged.

Despite Ratcliffe's ruling, John sneaks out of camp that night. However, he is unknowingly spotted by Thomas. Ratcliffe orders Thomas to follow John, as well as to shoot any native he sees. Meanwhile, John meets with Pocahontas and tells her of the impending attack. Pocahontas reveals that her people are also preparing for war and that if they are to stop this, John must come to talk to her father, Chief Powhatan. John initially refuses, citing the matter to be impossible, but eventually acquiesces, after Grandmother Willow compares the situation to ripples, which must be started by someone. John and Pocahontas impulsively share a kiss, which is witnessed by both Thomas and Kocoum, who had followed Pocahontas. Having previously asked for Pocahontas' hand in marriage days prior, Kocoum is overwhelmed with jealousy and tries to murder John in a fit of passion. John manages to disarm him of his tomahawk, but Kocoum draws out his knife and almost overpowers him. Just as Kocoum is about to come to his senses, Thomas shoots him, and he dies instantly. Kocoum's death makes Pocahontas angry, and John orders a speechless and guilt-filled Thomas to leave. As soon as he does, warriors from Pocahontas' tribe appear, and capture John, believing him to have killed Kocoum.

At the village, Powhatan blames his daughter for Kocoum's death and sentences John to death at sunrise, as the first casualty in the upcoming war. That night, Pocahontas comes and apologizes, blaming herself for John's capture. John refuses to accept, stating that he was a better person for having met her and that he would be with her forever.

Meanwhile, Thomas runs back to camp in panic bringing the news of John's capture, waking up everyone in the camp. Thomas goes on to insist that they need to mount a rescue, stating that John would do the same for any of his comrades. Ben voices his agreement that they need to save John. Ratcliffe decides to take advantage of the panic-stricken settlers to commit genocide against the natives under the guise of rescuing John, and prepares the whole company to attack at daybreak.

As the two sides prepare for war, Pocahontas brings news to Grandmother Willow that Chief Powhatan is going to kill John at sunrise. Meeko hands her John's compass, and she sees that it is the arrow from her recurring dream. The arrow stops at the sunrise, prompting Pocahontas to attempt to stop the war.

Soon John is forcefully taken to a cliff, near where the battle is to take place. Just then the English settlers arrive for the battle-ready to fire, Powhatan prepares to execute John. Before he can do so, Pocahontas intervenes, throwing her body over John's, with a proclamation that Powhatan will have to kill her along with John. Pocahontas proclaims her love for John and rebukes everyone for following the path of hatred and discrimination. The two sides are left shocked into silence. Powhatan, realizing that nothing is to be gained from bloodshed, chooses to release John, and calls off his warriors. The settlers are content to let the fight go, and they lower their muskets, as John has been released. Ratcliffe tries to shoot Powhatan, but John sees this, pushes Powhatan out of the way and takes the shot, saving his life. Thomas and the others realize Ratcliffe's true motives, and they tie him up, gag him and send him back to England at Thomas' order.

John survives but is forced to return to England for medical treatment from Ratcliffe's bullet, otherwise, he would die. Pocahontas arrives, bringing food, healing bark from Grandmother Willow, and says goodbye to John. John invites her to come with him, but Pocahontas initially refuses, stating that she is needed with her tribe. John wants to stay, but Pocahontas tells him that he has to go, because she would be with him forever no matter what. Powhatan comes, and thanks John for saving his life earlier, stating that he is always welcome among their people. John is soon sent on his way by Thomas and Lon and is rowed to the ship by Ben. The film concludes as he is able to wave goodbye to Pocahontas as the ship sails out to sea.

Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World[]


John Smith in Pocahontas II.

At the beginning of the second film, John, still in England and having recovered from his injury, is attacked by guards, who attempt to arrest him for treason in Jamestown. Ratcliffe arrives, revealing that he has framed John, and attacks John. John is forced onto the roof of a house and falls off into the river below. He is presumed dead by Ratcliffe, who informs the king. Soon, word reaches Pocahontas in Virginia and she chooses to move on with her life.

Near the end of the film, a hooded figure overhears a sailor talk about the upcoming execution of Pocahontas. Pocahontas had been sent to England as an emissary for her tribe but had offended the king after witnessing a bear-baiting. The man is shown to be disturbed, and he rides off. The man meets with John Rolfe, and together they plan to free Pocahontas. The plan is pulled off, and in the safety of a secluded cabin, the mysterious man reveals himself to be John Smith. John had disguised himself to avoid being arrested for treason.

John Smith obviously wants to resume his romantic relationship with Pocahontas. But all Pocahontas can think of is the threatened attack on her tribe. Smith, knowing that her people need to live, wants her to stay hidden to prevent her from being hanged, but Rolfe wants Pocahontas to listen to her heart. The two men start to argue. Upset by her friends' fighting, Pocahontas runs off. Then Smith realizes Rolfe's now in love with Pocahontas.

The group decides to confront the king. Pocahontas is able to convince the queen to halt the attack, but the King, whom Ratcliffe is personal friends with, is reluctant to believe her. John then chooses to reveal himself, in turn revealing that Ratcliffe has lied to the King and Queen and their court about virtually everything. The King finally agrees to stop the attack but realizes that the Armada has already set sail. Smith, Rolfe, and Pocahontas race to stop the armada. John engages in battle with Ratcliffe, which results in the governor being thrown overboard―Ratcliffe is caught by the King and his men and presumably hanged as a result of his crimes.

The next day, John reveals that he has been awarded his own ship, and invites Pocahontas to travel the world with him. Pocahontas (who, at this point, has gotten over her feelings for Smith and is now in love with Rolfe) tells him that she feels that they've grown too far apart to be compatible as a couple, but that she'll always care about him as a friend. After hearing this, Smith thinks it is over and (possibly also realizing that Pocahontas has feelings for Rolfe) accepts it, ultimately just wanting her to be happy. They share a goodbye before departing.

House of Mouse[]

John Smith made a couple of rare cameo appearances in this series. His most notable cameo occurs in the episode "House of Turkey", where he is seen walking through the club's lobby alongside Pocahontas as Donald Duck greets them. The colors of the wind also blow past Donald. Daisy Duck, at her desk, checks the guest list and says "Pocahontas, John Smith and the Colors of the Wind. Check."

Disney Parks[]

John Smith is a very elusive character in the American parks. Still, he can sometimes be found for the meet & greets at Disneyland Paris around Cowboy Cookout BBQ.

John Smith plays a major role in Disney's Hollywood Studios version of Fantasmic!

Video games[]

Disney Emoji Blitz[]

When Flit's power-up is activated, he'll chase John Smith across the board and break emojis in the process.

Animated StoryBook: Pocahontas[]

John appears on pages two, four, five, seven, eight, ten, and eleven.

On page two, John appears after the full narration riding down on a cannon and saying, "I've been looking for a place like this all my life." and sits down on the cannon holding the pose for the rest of the player's stay on the page. If the player clicks on him or has the word 'search' defined, John will look around and say, "If there are any Indians out there, I'll find them." When the player clicks continue, Meeko will come up to John Smith; John will greet him with, "Well hello, you're a strange looking fella." and then offers a biscuit to him. Meeko will take it and run off; John will look after him, say, "Hey!" and run after him.

On page four, John will come out with his gun aimed, but lowers it when he sees Pocahontas. He reaches his hand out to which Pocahontas appears ready to run. He tells her, "No, wait." and sets his gun down and asks, "Who are you?" Though Pocahontas doesn't understand at first, she remembers to listen with her heart and tells him, "My name is Pocahontas." To which he tells her, "I'm John Smith." and offers his hand to her which she takes, and they reappear on the riverbank sitting together. If the player clicks on different things around them, John will say its name in English and Pocahontas will say it in Algonquin. If the player clicks on John, he'll show Pocahontas how to shake hands and tell her, "It's alright, it's just a handshake. It's how we say hello." If the player clicks on Pocahontas, she will show him how her people say hello, "This is how we say hello: Wingapo." and John will make an attempt to copy her movement. If the player clicks on Flit, John will catch his beak in a biscuit and say, "Hey little fella." and Pocahontas will release him. When the player clicks continue, John will tell Pocahontas, "We'll show your people how to use this land properly." When Pocahontas says, "How can there be so much you don't know." and prepares to leave, he touches her arm and says, "Wait."

On page five, after narration, John will say, "We'll cut down these trees, build roads and decent houses." until Pocahontas begins to educate him. If the player clicks on the tree, John will catch a golden hawk on his arm and stay put looking at it. When the player clicks on John Smith while he has the hawk on his arm, he'll let it go again and resume his original position. When the player clicks on Pocahontas, as the wind blows by, John will react to it with Pocahontas. If the player clicks on John, he'll touch a bush behind them, and butterflies will come out. When the player clicks continue, the drums will sound and Pocahontas will tell him, "The drums, they mean trouble." as she leaves, John will tell her, "Please don't leave!" to which she tells him, "I have to go." and leaves him on the cliff.

On page seven, John will be on the top right corner of the page with the English. After the narration, after Ratcliffe speaks, John will say, "They're not savages, they can help us." If the player clicks on him, he'll say the same thing but spread out his arms a different way. If the player clicks on Ratcliffe, John will reply to Ratcliffe's "They've got our gold!" with the same action as being clicked on but say, "But there is no gold." to which Ratcliffe says, "Lies, lies, all of it!" When the player clicks continue, John will look to the other side and leave saying, "We have to try talking to them."

On page eight, after the narration and Meeko and Percy show up, John will tell Pocahontas, "See? Once two sides want to fight, nothing can stop them." If the player clicks on Pocahontas, John will gasp at Grandmother Willow before Pocahontas tells him, "Don't be afraid, it's Grandmother Willow." When the player clicks on Grandmother Willow, after she tells John to "come closer", he'll say, "What?" If the player clicks on John, he'll say, "What do you say to a tree?" If the player clicks on Flit, John and Pocahontas will begin to kiss before Flit intervenes and John says, "It's that bird again!" When the player clicks continue, John will join hands with Pocahontas and kiss until Kocoum reveals himself and they break away looking at him in shock before the screen goes blank.

On page ten, John will be on the cliff prepared for execution before Pocahontas intervenes and saves him. He remains silent for this page.

On page eleven, John will be on a stretcher to go back to England. After narration, John will tell Pocahontas, "Pocahontas, come to England with me." She tells him, "My place is here, with my people." When the player clicks on Pocahontas or defines the word 'heal', she'll give him a pouch saying, "It's from Grandmother Willow's bark, it'll help with the pain." If the player clicks on her a second time, she'll lean close and grasp his hand. If the player clicks on John, Percy will come up and John will pat him and say, "See ya, Percy." If the player clicks on Powhatan, he and John will shake hands while Powhatan tells him, "You are always welcome among our people." If the player clicks on Flit, Flit will fly into his hand while John says, "And I thought you didn't like strangers." When the player clicks continue, John will say, "But I can't leave you." Pocahontas will reply, "You won't, no matter what happens, I'll always be with you."

Pocahontas: Six New Adventures[]

John Smith is in the books A Boy Across the Sea, On The High Seas, and A Long Way From Home. He can also be seen on the protective casing on one side; he's seen in an image consulting his compass while exploring the woods with Thomas, who is looking worriedly at something on his left, and Percy, who is looking superiorly at Thomas.

In A Boy Across the Sea, the story follows how a 12-year-old John Smith got the compass he used in the movie from a Venetian merchant named Senor Dandello who gave it to him after John saved him from being killed by a thief named Jennings who'd also swindled John. We also learn more about John's background.

In On The High Seas, he starts out teaching Thomas sailing knots and is the first to try to discourage the idea of Thomas manning the helm to Ratcliffe and, during a storm that night after Ben relieves Thomas of the helm, goes up with Thomas after Ratcliffe orders them up the main mast. When Thomas falls after missing his mark, John comes down to find him unconscious, but assures the others, after checking his pulse, that he'll be okay. The next day, John sits next to Thomas and tries to gently dissuade his comrades' idea of committing mutiny against Ratcliffe. When the others catch Wiggins after he was caught spying on them, John comes and makes a last attempt to put a stop to the nonsense. He presents the consequences of what they're about to do and begins asking the others (starting with Thomas) if their dreams for the New World are worth "a foolish plan to get even." After resolving things, John sends the men to bed reminding them how late it is and that tomorrow would be another long day. He follows this up by sternly ordering Wiggins not to tell "or answer to me."

In A Long Way From Home, John appears in a dream Pocahontas has as a result of hitting her head when she fell from the cliff and makes her way back to the village. When conscious again, though she's disappointed John didn't come back, Chief Powhatan tells her that the dream was proof that John is in her heart and that his spirit helped her get back home.


The Disney Wiki has a collection of images and media related to John Smith.

Differences from historical records[]

  • In real life, Smith returned to England due to a gunpowder injury in September 1609. It did not involve Ratcliffe shooting him like in the film.
  • The real John Smith was one of the famous previous students of King Edward VI Grammar School in Louth. He attended from 1592 to 1595.
  • In real life, before founding Jamestown, John Smith became a mercenary after his father's death in 1596 in the army of King Henry IV of France at the young age of 16 to fight against Spain for Dutch Independence.
  • In real life, John Smith and Thomas did not arrive in Virginia together. Smith came to America in May 1607. Thomas, whose surname was Savage, came to America on January 8, 1608, when he was thirteen.
  • The real John Smith did make friends with Pocahontas but never actually had a romantic relationship with her―the real Pocahontas (who's assumed to have been born in the mid-1590s) was only about twelve or thirteen when she first met John Smith, who, according to historical records, is believed to have been in his late twenties/early thirties when they first met (meaning that he must have been around fifteen to twenty years older than Pocahontas).
  • In real life, John Smith was considered a womanizer by many Englishmen, besides that he had affairs with other women, so his claim that Pocahontas saved his life is proven false by historians. Besides that fact, he published the event 17 years later when he was still traveling to many places.
  • Many historians have doubts whether John Smith's claim that Pocahontas rescued him from death actually happened. Some historians theorized that Smith plagiarized the story of Juan Ortiz, a Spanish sailor who was held captive by Native Americans in Florida in 1528-1539.


  • Smith is the first Disney Prince to wear a hooded cape.
  • Despite the events depicted in Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World, most media, including the Disney Princess franchise, still keep John Smith as Pocahontas' official love interest, completely ignoring John Rolfe.
  • Smith teaches Pocahontas in the film that a handshake is an English greeting gesture, but there is no record of handshakes being used for greetings anywhere in the world until the 19th century.
  • His uniform appeared as all-blue in the original film and its sequel, but in merchandise, his long-sleeved shirt is white, his armor breastplate is silver, his pants are blue and his boots are black.
  • He wears an armor breastplate and helmet which looks like a Spanish conquistador. This could be an allusion to how the English settlers in the 17th century feared that the Spanish might overtake them in establishing the American colonies.
  • John Smith was one of the few Disney characters who didn't need two separate actors to do his singing and speaking. Mel Gibson did both the speaking and the singing.
  • In the original film, Smith was voiced by Mel Gibson. In the sequel, he was voiced by Donal Gibson, the younger brother of Mel.
  • According to A Boy Across the Sea, John Smith was 12 years old in 1592. Historical accounts claim he had been born in 1580. So, when the year 1607, the year the movie is set, came, John Smith had to have been either 26 or 27 years old all depending on whether the events of the movie came before or after his birthday.
  • Although A Boy Across the Sea only referred to John Smith's dad as 'Mr. Smith', historic accounts claim that his first name was George.

v - e - d
Pocahontas logo
Films: Pocahontas (soundtrack/video) • Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World (soundtrack/video)

Video Games: PocahontasDisney Emoji Blitz
Music: The Legacy Collection
Books: Pocahontas: Six New AdventuresMarvel ComicsDisney Princess Beginnings

Disney Parks
Castle of Magical DreamsDisney Animation BuildingIt's a Small WorldPocahontas Indian VillageSorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

Entertainment: Disney's BelieveFantasmic!Feel the MagicFestival of Family & FriendsFollow Your DreamsHakuna Matata Time Dance PartyMickey and the Magical MapPocahontas and her Forest FriendsPocahontas SpectacularRivers of Light: We Are OneThe Forest of Enchantment: A Disney Musical AdventureThe Golden MickeysThe Spirit of Pocahontas
Parades: Disney's Magical Moment s ParadeDisney Adventure Friends CavalcadeDisney Harmony in Color! ParadeJubilation!Main Street Electrical ParadeMickey & Friends Street Celebration
Fireworks: Disney EnchantmentCelebrate! Tokyo DisneylandIlluminate! A Nighttime CelebrationMomentousTree of Life AwakensWorld of ColorWondrous Journeys
Summer: Stitch and Friends Summer Surprise
Halloween: Are You Brave Enough?Frightfully Fun ParadeThe Disney Villains Halloween Showtime
Christmas: A Christmas Fantasy Parade

Original: PocahontasJohn SmithGovernor RatcliffeThomasMeekoFlitPercyWigginsGrandmother WillowChief PowhatanNakomaKocoumKekataBen and LonRatcliffe's SettlersPowhatan's Tribe

Sequel: John RolfeKing JamesQueen AnneMrs. JenkinsUttamatomakkinJesters
Deleted: Redfeather
Miscellaneous: Sprig

Original: The Virginia CompanySteady as the Beating DrumJust Around the RiverbendListen With Your HeartMine, Mine, MineColors of the WindSavagesIf I Never Knew You

Sequel: Where Do I Go from Here?What a Day in LondonWait 'Till He Sees YouThings Are Not What They AppearBetween Two Worlds
Deleted: Different DrummerFirst To DanceIn the Middle of the RiverDancing to the Wedding Drum