A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Meant to entertain rather than educate.
Story shows how evil greed and animal cruelty are and why it's important to treat pets well. The dogs are also an example of cooperation and teamwork to save the defenseless puppies.
Positive Role Models
The dalmatian parents, as well as the human "pets," are fiercely protective of their puppies, and they open their home to 84 extra puppies that have been displaced because of Cruella's evil scheme. The many English dogs in the bark network all put themselves at risk to help their fellow canines. Cruella is clearly evil, and she's soundly defeated.
Violence & Scariness
Cruella can be quite frightening. Puppies/dogs are in peril, and there's a fair bit of suspense. Horace and Jasper make threatening comments to the puppies and dogs. They kidnap the puppies and are prepared to "skin" them to make Cruella a fur coat. A couple of high-speed chases, as well as close calls with the puppies as they attempt to get away from Cruella and her goons. Two cars crash and plummet off a cliff, but we don't see what happens to the villains.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Roger and Anita flirt, as do Pongo and Perdita (they rub noses). Both couples get married and are shown embracing and kissing chastely.
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Cruella says "idiot," "imbecile," "fools." Horace and Jasper use threats and insults, including "shut up," "twerps," "clumsy clod," and "bumbling blockheads." Other insults include "witch," "scoundrels," "inhuman beast," and "rascals."
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Products & Purchases
While there are no product placements in the film, Disney movies always generate merchandise and sequels, and in this case even a live-action adaptation.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Cruella smokes cigarettes (that emit a foul green smoke) in nearly every scene. She often spreads the ashes and puts them out all over the place. Roger smokes a pipe. Horace and Jasper drink wine straight from the bottle.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Disney's classic puppy tale 101 Dalmatians is rated G but may contain a few disturbing scenes featuring one the studio's vilest villains, Cruella de Vil. As the song goes, "if she doesn't scare you, no evil thing will." For an animated movie, there's a considerable amount of smoking and drinking (Roger smokes a pipe; Cruella is always shown with her long-stemmed cigarettes; and her two henchman drink wine straight out of the bottle). Language is limited to several insults like "idiot," "imbecile," "fools," mostly said by Cruella. On the bright side, the dog parents and their human pets are relentless in their goal to save the puppies -- all of them, not just their own. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The puppies are adorable, and the movie is exciting, funny (with a sly poke at television and the kids who watch it), and fun. Cruella is still one of the most memorable villains in the history of the movies -- for good reason. She's loud and mean, and she's willing to wear a coat made of 101 puppies -- what could be worse?
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.