Find the best for your family

See what's streaming, limit strong violence or language, and find picks your kids will love with Common Sense Media Plus.

Join now

101 Dalmatians (Live Action)

Movie review by
Maria Llull, Common Sense Media
101 Dalmatians (Live Action) Movie Poster Image
Engaging live-action canine caper has some peril, pratfalls.
  • G
  • 1996
  • 103 minutes
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

There are no clear-cut positive messages here.

Positive Role Models & Representations

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.

Sexy Stuff

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

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMovieLover4Lyfe May 26, 2010

Remake is just adorable!

The original version will always hold a special place in viewers hearts, but this remake was very well done. It doesn't distort the original like some rema... Continue reading
Parent of a 6 and 6-year-old Written byL.andD. March 20, 2019

101 Dalmations Review

From E. (age 6): The music was disappointing because it had scary music when Cruella DeVil took the 101 Dalmations. I loved the ending. This movie was so cool!... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byDonna Stone January 11, 2020

Pretty Good

The only things I did not like about the movie is 1, that they set this move to modern times, instead of 1956, so Pongo's owner could not be a musician, an... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old January 3, 2017

I'm pretty embarrassed about this

About halfway though I start crying because Lucky got left behind during the escape. I was 8 and I slunk of to my room because I didn't want to have my par... Continue reading

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.

Is it any good?

Glenn Close plays Cruella with gusto, and it's easy to see that she had fun with the part. Despite the slight modernization of the story line, 101 Dalmatians retains most of the original innocence of the story. Sure, it gets a bit sappy, but it's refreshing and more appropriate viewing for younger kids when the humor isn't tongue-in-cheek and jaded. Dog lovers and fans of the animated classic are sure to enjoy this live-action version.

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

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love dogs

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate