Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero Parent Guide
This animation about the big accomplishments of a little dog provides a great way to introduce children to the history of World War I.
Parent Movie Review
Sometimes a boy adopts a stray dog, other times the stray dog adopts the boy. The latter is the case for Robert Conroy (voice of Logan Lerman), a young soldier who shows a little kindness to a homeless, mix-breed bull terrier, and is then followed back to boot camp. Unable to shake the pup’s affection, Robert eventually accepts his offer of belonging and names the short-tailed mutt Stubby. Fortunately, the animal’s good nature, positive effect on morale, ability to perform military drills and even salute, also wins over Robert’s commanding officers at the Yale University training grounds for the Great War.
When the time comes for the United States’ 102nd Infantry Regiment to ship out, one of the hardest things for Robert to leave behind is Stubby. Once again, the dog chooses the boy, and stows away aboard the SS Minnesota. His presence is only discovered once the boat is well out to sea. Using the same canine charm, the mongrel quickly convinces the top brass that he should be the troop’s official mascot.
It isn’t until the regiment reaches the front lines in France, on 5 February 1918, that Stubby’s real value is discovered. Unafraid of the loud shelling and gunfire, the little dog patrols the trenches, sniffs out trouble, and even rescues the wounded left for dead in the no-man’s-land between the opposing forces. Over time, Stubby’s acts of valor are recognized and he becomes the first pooch to receive the rank of Sargent.
Based on a remarkable true story, this animation about the big accomplishments of a little dog provides a great way to introduce children to the history of World War I. Although the movie includes depictions of weapons use, gas attacks and the flu pandemic of 1918, along with resulting injuries and deaths, all of the violence is sanitized. These non-graphic and bloodless portrayals offer parents a family-friendly opportunity to discuss the serious nature of the challenges faced by those on the battlegrounds.
Narrated by Helena Bonham Carter (who hails from the UK), the screenplay makes mention of prejudice with a German character (voice of Jim Pharr) and some racial slurs against the enemy. It gives a nod to the Allied Forces by showing the Yankee’s combined efforts with French fighters (one voiced by Gérard Depardieu), which are accompanied by occasional alcohol consumption (it’s a cultural thing!). And the script has an American patriotic feel throughout. Regardless of one’s nationality, this heartwarming production will have tails wagging for Sgt. Stubby’s stellar example of dedication to duty, courage under fire and love for his fellow beings.
PS: Stay and watch the movie’s credits, where you will see photographs of the real Sgt. Stubby and his pal, Robert Conroy.Directed by Richard Lanni. Starring Helena Bonham Carter, Logan Lerman, Gérard Depardieu. Running time: 84 minutes. Theatrical release April 13, 2018. Updated December 13, 2018
Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero
Rating & Content Info
Why is Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero rated PG? Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero is rated PG by the MPAA for war action and some thematic elements.
Violence: The movie contains non-graphic war violence throughout including weapons use, explosions, poison gas, grenades and fistfights, along with knife and bayonet threats. Airplanes engage in dogfights. Ships are blown up and sink. A bombed out village is shown. Characters (human and canine) sustain injuries. Wounded soldiers are seen on the battleground and are taken to medical care. Enemy soldiers are taken prisoner. Military and civilian deaths are implied.A character become sick with influenza. A dog chases rats and kills a rabbit. Soldiers in trenches endure poor conditions due to weather and lack of food. Troops train by shooting targets. While practicing using a gas mask, men are exposed to tear gas which causes them to gasp and choke. A stray animal is threatened with a broom and thrown objects. Although sanitized, some of these depictions will be too intense for young children.
Sexual Content: Infrequent embracing and kissing are shown. A character’s bare shoulder are seen when he is in a bathtub.
Profanity: Infrequent racial slurs, derogatory remarks and mild expletives are heard.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A French character offers wine to an American soldier. Citizens make a toast to military personnel. A man is seen with a pipe.
Page last updated December 13, 2018
Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero Parents' Guide
Soldiers on the front lines miss their home and families. One of the French officers says they can make home wherever they are, with food, wine and family. What do you think he means? How do the friendships the men share with each other help them face their loneliness?