A Street Cat Named Bob

Movie review by
Yvonne Condes, Common Sense Media
A Street Cat Named Bob Movie Poster Image
Sweet memoir-based drama deals with drug addiction.
  • NR
  • 2016
  • 103 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 9 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Positive messages/themes include compassion, humility, and self-control. There's an overall message that anyone can overcome their demons if they have someone to love and someone to care about them. Also, you never know what's happening in another's person life or what hardships they're facing.

Positive Role Models & Representations

At first, James can't get kick his heroin habit; his situation seems hopeless until he meets Bob. James takes care of Bob and spends all of his money on the vet, even though it might mean he won't eat later. Val goes out on a limb to help James get housing, even when she has good reason to give up on him. Belle is allergic to animals but still volunteers at a veterinary hospital.


James sleeps on the street and is berated for it. He gets in fights and is yelled at by his stepmother and father. He does drugs, passes out, and is taken to the hospital when he can't be revived. A man overdoses on heroin and dies. James loses Bob. James goes through withdrawal after he decides to come off of methadone. Belle's brother died of an overdose. Bob is chased by a dog.


A couple kisses; another holds hands.


Some language for drugs, and some swearing, including "bulls--t" and "d--k."


Some stores seen in the background, but no overt consumerism/product placement.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

James is a recovering heroin addict on methadone. Heroin needles are shown, but viewers don't see anyone shooting heroin. James's friend dies from an overdose. James goes through methadone withdrawal. Smoking and drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A Street Cat Named Bob is based on the autobiography of London street performer James Bowen, a recovering heroin addict who gets one last chance to turn his life around when he finds Bob. Things get pretty heavy: The movie deals with homelessness, drug use, overdosing, and death. James (Luke Treadaway) uses the money he makes playing guitar on the street to buy and use drugs and ends up in the hospital. There's also some swearing, including "bulls--t" and "d--k," as well as a fight scene and some scenes of peril. Despite the serious themes, the movie offers a clear message about second chances -- and argues that it's possible to overcome your demons if you have someone to love. Themes also include humility and compassion.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byzeekattacklee May 18, 2017

A street cat named bob review.

To tell you the truth, this was a very interesting film. Although it does have drug use, Its not used in a positive light. The swearing was mostly used in a se... Continue reading
Adult Written byD E November 19, 2016

not to be missed......

Our 10 year old loved this as much as did we.

Recovery from drug addiction is the backdrop, but this tale weaves through human connections, the human need to... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bySnazzyJaz October 21, 2018
Teen, 13 years old Written byCoolpool785 August 10, 2017

Amazing Independent Drama deserves more than 5 stars.

Great film about a recovering drug addict who adopts a stray ginger cat and finds his life changed. The main problem with the film is the drug content. James is... Continue reading

What's the story?

In A STREET CAT NAMED BOB, James (Luke Treadaway) is an on-again, off-again heroin addict who gets the chance to turn his life around for good when he meets Bob, a stray cat he grows to love. James starts taking Bob with him when he plays guitar around London, and they become a sensation. With Bob at his side, James learns what love and responsibility really mean.

Is it any good?

This is a sweet little film about serious issues. Treadway is believable as James, an addict who's trying to get clean. He picks food out of trash cans and sleeps on the street -- and even though he's an excellent guitar player on the streets of London, he's invisible. A Street Cat Named Bob brings up lots of issues that parents can talk about, including the hazards of homelessness and what can happen if you do drugs (one of James' friends overdoses, and James is hospitalized and finds out he has hepatitis).

The music is good, and Treadaway is a compelling actor and singer. There a few jarring scenes when the camera shoots from Bob's point of view and it almost feels like it's going to become a talking animal movie, but it stays focused on James' story. You end up rooting for him in the end and hoping that he'll stay clean.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how A Street Cat Named Bob depicts drug use. Are the consequences realistic? Why is that important?

  • How does drug use impact those beyond the user/addict?

  • How does the movie promote compassion and humility? Why are those important character strengths?

  • Do you have pets? What do they bring to your life? Is it easy or hard to believe that having a pet could change someone's life so profoundly?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animals

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

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