Beethoven Movie Poster Image




A sloppy but lovable pooch of a movie.
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1992
  • Running Time: 77 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The film's openly dismissive attitude toward women who work will rankle many. The children are rude to their father when they disagree with his actions, and relent only when they get their way.

Violence & scariness

A bespectacled youngster is bullied. Everyone in the family cheers when the father hits a villain. A young girl nearly drowns before she is rescued by Beethoven. Beethoven is almost killed by a villain who abuses animals in the name of research.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this hit comedy is thin on story but big on slapstick. Inept, repeatedly humiliated adults may annoy some parents. Don't be surprised if the kids start pestering you for a dog after watching this movie. Be aware of some questionable behavior, like out-of-control kids and a negative depiction of working mothers. The best age group for this film is 6- to 8-year-olds, who will love the pup and the comic mayhem that ensues. Older kids may still enjoy this, particularly dog lovers, though they'll likely find the story thin.

What's the story?

A St. Bernard pup escapes the clutches of dog-nappers who have taken him from a pet store. The little dog wanders into the suburban home of the Newton family. Although father George (Charles Grodin) is dead set against having a dog, his three children immediately bond with their new canine. George agrees to let the pup, which his kids name Beethoven, stay until the real owner is found. Of course that never happens, and the dog grows to full size. Beethoven is as lovable as he is messy, and helps the Newton kids cope with various growing pains. But more trouble arises when an evil veterinarian decides that Beethoven is just the dog he needs for a weapons testing project. The kids must convince Dad that Beethoven is innocent of a faked assault charge.

Is it any good?


The slapstick gags in BEETHOVEN may be old as the hills, but that hardly matters for kids. For them, this comedy hit offers the irresistible combination of a dog whose destructiveness is excused by his innocence with the spectacle of a prissy, fastidious father who is proven wrong at nearly every turn.

Written by John Hughes (using the pseudonym "Edmond Dantes"), Beethoven takes a lot of unnecessary cheap shots. With the exception of Mrs. Newton, all of the adult characters are depicted as either ninnies or villains. No father would want to be treated the way that George Newton is treated by his kids when they disagree with him. One 7-year-old viewer considered George to be a "jerk," even after he saves Beethoven in the end. Beethoven is only occasionally lively, nonetheless, young kids will watch it over and over to see the dog drool, shake and slobber all over the place.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about some of the bad behavior in the film. Why was Charles treated so poorly by his kids? Did he deserve it? How do you relate to your own parents? What explanation does the film give for treating working mothers so poorly?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 3, 1992
DVD/Streaming release date:September 24, 2002
Cast:Bonnie Hunt, Charles Grodin, Dean Jones
Director:Brian Levant
Studio:Universal Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Run time:77 minutes
MPAA rating:PG

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Adult Written byk8nadamsmommy August 13, 2010

Funny, until the exploding bullet plot became clear!!!

Okay, we read the reviews posted here before we loaded this movie for our 4 and 8 year olds and thought we were in for a movie night treat. The slapstick was funny at the beginning, but the angry dad got old quick and required discussion for my children, who have never seen such a grouchy dad before, except in Peter Pan and Mary Poppins. We sat uncomfortably through the scene when the dog is in bed with the dad licking his ear. The dad makes suggestive remarks, thinking his wife is in bed ("Someone's feeling naughty" and "It isn't even Saturday night"). We TURNED IT OFF when the extent of the villain's plan became clear... they kidnap dogs, especially ones with big skulls to TEST EXPLODING BULLETS ON FOR PETE'S SAKES! I admit, I didn't finish watching it after the bullet scene... my two kids got scared seeing all the dogs in cages and the sneaky vet. So, we turned it off and watched something else. Disappointing, since I count of this website to help me avoid such situations!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent Written bydjyossarian September 13, 2013

Beware the part about shooting the dogs in the head to see how their skulls would react

I'm shocked that this seems to be suggested for kids 6 and above. My concern is with the plot line of the bad guys testing the affects of exploding bullets on the skulls of large dogs. It upset my 7 year old to the point of tears. On the plus side, the dog is gorgeous.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 17 years old Written bycrazy2012 February 1, 2011
LOVE IT!!!!!!!!
What other families should know
Educational value