101 Dalmatians (Live Action) Movie Review (2024)

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

  • Positive Messages


    There are no clear-cut positive messages here.

  • Positive Role Models


    The characters are too cartoonish to be seen as positive role models.

  • Violence & Scariness


    Pratfall violence. Two bumbling dog thieves fall on top of an electric fence; there's a close-up of their groins being electrocuted before they're violently thrown off the fence. Characters run into each other, fall into frozen water, and fall into vats of molasses. Two of the protagonists are tugged by their dalmatians while on bikes; this results in several near crashes and collisions before they finally fall into bodies of water. A woman hits a man in the face with a purse filled with bricks, knocking him on his back. Cruella De Vil is shown sticking a pitchfork in hay where a puppy is trying to hide. Open talk throughout of skinning dalmatian puppies to make a fur coat.

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  • Products & Purchases

    a little

    Self-promotion of a couple Disney flicks within the actual movie.

  • Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

    a little

    Cruella De Vil is often shown smoking a cigarette from a holder and wantonly flicks ashes. One of the bad guys chugs a beer before throwing and breaking the bottle.

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  • Parents Need to Know

    Parents need to know that 101 Dalmatians is the 1996 live-action remake starring Glenn Close as Cruella De Vil. Cruella De Vil is played to the over-the-top hilt in this one: She's never without a cigarette in a holder, and she's constantly demanding that the titular dalmatians be dog-napped and skinned to make a fur coat. There is frequent pratfall comedic violence throughout the movie. The two bumbling puppy thieves are shown falling on an electric fence and getting their groins electrocuted before they're violently thrown off. The two protagonists are shown being tugged by their respective dalmatians while riding their bikes, avoiding several near-collisions and crashes before riding out of control into bodies of water. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.

What's the Story?

Disney's updated movie version of 101 DALMATIANS stays true to the 1961 animated classic, with some minor changes, most noticeably the careers of the three main human characters. Instead of being a lyricist, Roger (Jeff Daniels) makes video games, and Anita (Joely Richardson) is a clothing designer for nasty Cruella De Vil (Glenn Close), a fashion maven who specializes in exotic furs. Roger and Anita are lonely singles before they're brought together by the antics of their dalmatians -- Pongo belongs to Roger, and Perdita belongs to Anita -- and it isn't long before the human couple is married and the spotted couple has a litter of 15 pups. Once Cruella gets it in her mind to have her own dalmatian fur coat, the story kicks into gear and the familiar mayhem ensues. When Cruella isn't able to buy the puppies from Roger and Anita, she hires goons to "puppy-nap" them along with 84 other dalmatian puppies, bringing the total to 99. Pongo and Perdita must set out to find the puppies and save the day, sticking it to Cruella in the meantime.

Talk to Your Kids About ...

  • Families can discuss villains. What makes Cruella De Vil a spectacular villain? Why doesn't Anita see right away that she's up to no good?

  • How does this movie compare to the original animated 101 Dalmatians?

  • Did the pratfall violence add humor to the movie, or did it seem a bit much? Why?

Movie Details

  • In theaters: November 27, 1996
  • On DVD or streaming: December 12, 2000
  • Cast: Glenn Close, Hugh Laurie, Jeff Daniels, Joan Plowright, Joely Richardson, Mark Williams
  • Director: Stephen Herek
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors
  • Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Topics: Cats, Dogs, and Mice
  • Run time: 103 minutes
  • MPAA rating: G
  • Last updated: February 18, 2023

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