101 Dalmatians (1961) Parent Guide
You'll be seeing spots!
Parent Movie Review
Tired of the bachelor life they lead, a Dalmatian named Pongo (voice of Rod Taylor) decides to play cupid for his pet Roger (voice of Ben Wright), a pipe-smoking, quiet-living songwriter. When he sites a bookish looking woman (Anita) accompanying a rather attractive spotted canine (Perdita) on an afternoon walk, the determined dog drags his man into the park after the pair. With a little ingenuity the boys manage to cross leashes with the girls, and soon wedding bells are pealing for both couples.
But the bliss of matrimony and the blessed discovery that Perdita (voice of Cate Bauer) is in a family way hardly has time to settle upon the newlyweds before a dark cloud rains on their happiness. Cruella De Vil (voice of Betty Lou Gerson), an acquaintance of Anita’s (voice of Lisa Davis), blows into their lives demanding to buy the expected puppies. When Roger refuses to sell, the fur clad, cigarette-puffing socialite storms out, sputtering indignantly and thundering threats.
Then, a few weeks after the arrival of fifteen bundles of joy, a couple of hooligans (voiced by J. Pat O’Malley and Fred Worlock) break into the house and abduct the entire litter. Although Roger and Anita are immediately suspicious of Cruella, the police can find no evidence to connect the eccentric heiress with the crime. Frustrated by the red tape of the human world, Pongo and Perdita decide to take matters into their own paws.
Calling on the help of the “Twilight Bark”, the concerned parents spread the word amongst the four-legged inhabitants of London. Sure enough, someone sniffs out a clue. But when the Dalmatians set out on the trail of their dog-napped offspring, they find a lot more tail-wagging adventure than they ever imagined.
Based on a book by Dodie Smith, Walt Disney’s 101 Dalmatians has been a family favorite since it debuted in 1961. Yet for very young viewers, the slapstick violence may be a bit frightening. From the moment we are introduced to the fanatical villainess, the canines are in constant peril. Bumbling, booze-drinking burglars talk of killing them and making their skins into fur coats. As well, the animals are hunted, chased by cars and have to endure blizzard conditions. Another concern with the production is the frequent portrayals of tobacco use (by both “good” and “bad” characters). While the studio does include a warning about smoking at the beginning of the movie, moms and dads will want to discuss these depictions with their children.
Looking past these blemishes, the film does provide an entertaining romp while promoting the value of family, demonstrating the love of parents, and illustrating the power of co-operation. But beware! After spending time with this pack of pups, your own brood may start howling for 101 pets of their own.Directed by Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske, Wolfgang Reitherman. Starring Rod Taylor, Betty Lou Gerson, Lisa Davis, Ben Wright, Cate Bauer. Running time: 79 minutes. Theatrical release February 10, 2015. Updated July 17, 2017
101 Dalmatians (1961)
Rating & Content Info
Why is 101 Dalmatians (1961) rated G? 101 Dalmatians (1961) is rated G by the MPAA
Depictions of smoking are the biggest concern in this animated movie. Although Disney has included a brief, anti-smoking message before the opening credits, the film contains frequent depictions of the villainess Cruella De Vil flaunting her smoldering tobacco from a lengthy cigarette holder, while Roger, the main human character, is constantly shown puffing on his pipe. Other content includes slapstick violence (hitting, kicking, flaming clothing and car crashes), characters in peril, verbal threats and name-calling, as well as the possible death of a newborn puppy. Two dimwitted thugs are shown drinking alcohol.
Page last updated July 17, 2017
101 Dalmatians (1961) Parents' Guide
When this movie was made in 1961, portrayals of smoking were very common. What has changed to make such depictions politically incorrect? Do you think other kinds of behaviors shown in today’s movies may go out of fashion in the future?
How did the animals work together to rescue the stolen puppies? In your life, how can teamwork also prove to be more effective than individual efforts?
The most recent home video release of 101 Dalmatians (1961) movie is February 10, 2015. Here are some details…
Home Video Notes: 101 Dalmatians: Diamond Edition Release Date: 10 February 2015
101 Dalmatians releases in a Diamond Edition to home video (Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy) with the following supplements: - The Further Adventures of Thunderbolt (Short) - Walt Disney Presents “The Best Doggoned Dog in the World” (1961 Version) - Lucky Dogs - DisneyView - Dalmatians 101: Hosted by Cameron Boyce (Disney Channel’s “The Descendants”) - Plus a Selection of Classic Bonus Features
DVD Notes: 101 Dalmatians - 2-Disc Platinum Edition
DVD Release Date: 4 March 2008
Walt Disney’s 101 Dalmatians releases in a 2-Disc Platinum Edition with 101 bonus extras! Well, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but you will find deleted songs and a music video of a new version of the classic song Cruella De Vil (starring Selena Gomez). Featurettes include Cruella De Vil: Drawn To Be Bad (a look at the creation of the villainess), Sincerely Yours, Walt Disney (a leaf through the correspondence between the famous moviemaker and Dodie Smith, the author of the book), Redefining the Line (learn about the technology used in making the animation). The disc also offers the following interactive activities: pop up trivia, a virtual Dalmatians game, and a language game. Audio tracks are available in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English, French and Spanish), with subtitles in French and Spanish.
Related home video titles:
Walt Disney Pictures have made many movies about dogs. Check out such titles as Lady and the Tramp (you may notice some similar characters) and Old Yeller. As well, the company has made two live action films based on this story: 101 Dalmatians (produced in 1997) and the sequel 102 Dalmatians (2000).