Parents' Guide to

A Dog of Flanders

By Polly M. Robertus, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Old-fashioned, sentimental tale of determination.

Movie NR 1959 96 minutes
A Dog of Flanders Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 1 parent review

age 9+

Wonderful holiday film my entire family loved

Finally wholesome entertainment with uplifting values and well crafted, beautiful filmed and directed with a great cast. Good work Warner Brothers! Please make good films like I got to grow up with. I believe society has so many violent films with the wrong message for our kids! No wonder the world is like it is now. Films should strive for to reflect values like this more! A big thank you to the filmmaker who made this family gem that got lost by putting it out in summer. They threw a real winner away. So glad we found it through work of mouth on DVD.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

A DOG OF FLANDERS is a fine, though unabashedly sentimental, story of triumph over adversity, but children expecting the dog to play a major role may be disappointed. This earlier version of the classic novel is slightly better than the more recent movie. Ladd, as the young hero of the movie, speaks his lines too carefully, but the rest of the cast, including Theodore Bikel, does a convincing job. It moves slowly, imparting lots of information about 19th-century Flanders and the training and work of an artist, but the material is always interesting and well integrated into the story.

An 11-year-old viewer wondered aloud about the title of A Dog of Flanders when so much of the movie is about Nello's determination to become a painter rather than his rescue of the dog. But she was entirely engrossed in the movie and cried -- hard -- when the grandfather died, leaving Nello and his dog alone and hungry. Although it is slow-paced, this is fine family fare, old-fashioned in its sentimentality and fairly educational.

Movie Details

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.

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