Prayer Focus
Movie Review

A Dog of Flanders

MPAA Rating: PG for one scene of mild violence, mild language, and thematic elements.

Reviewed by: Douglas Downs

Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Children and Families
Family, Drama
1 hr. 39 min.
Year of Release:

Scene from A Dog of Flanders.

Starring: Jack Warden, Jeremy James Kissner, Jesse James, Jon Voight, Cheryl Ladd | Directed by Kevin Brodie | Produced by Frank Yablans | Written by Kevin Brodie, Robert Singer | Distributed by Warner Bros

It is a tough world for those who attempt to make a good family film. “A Dog of Flanders” is just that. It fits most of the criteria for a family film. What makes it difficult is that the “sweet” and “sentimental” are often overlooked. I almost overlooked those qualities myself. Many of the reviews were not fair to “A Dog of Flanders”, a film which stands as proof that a family choice movie doesn’t need to have a “kid’s meal” to hype it up.

Scene from A Dog of Flanders.

The film is based on the 1874 classic children’s book by author Louisa “Ouida” de la Ramee. It is a heartwarming story of a boy, a dog, and his grandfather. Set in the early 19th century, Nello, orphaned, is taken in by his grandfather. The grandfather (Jack Warden) inspires the Nello to develop his artistic talent.

The film reflects solid values. It covers true happiness and exposes greed. Nello’s grandfather even reminds him that his gift is from God. Nello reminds young people that you can be polite, honest, positive, and passionate. There are very few objections in this film.

Minimal sex, language, and use of alcohol make an almost perfect family film. The film does deal with the subject of eternity. The biblical view may be clouded, but it does open the door for a scriptural discussion. It deserves our support. It may not be one of the best films ever produced, but I must applaud every attempt to bring back true family films.

Viewer Comments
…wonderful …full of encouragement… shows us that by living an honorable life, and placing our trust and hope in God, we will be happy.
Child’s story will move the adults in the audience, too. This movie has everything. …good performances by Jon Voight …Cheryl Ladd …Bruce McGill… with some heart-wrenching plot turns, I have to admit that it was the adult me that wept when the movie ended. Take a kid and have a good time.
—Barbara Shulgasser, Metromix