Benji

  • Review Date: October 30, 2005
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1974
  • Running Time: 86 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Adorable dog saves the day in '70s classic.
  • Review Date: October 30, 2005
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1974
  • Running Time: 86 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

A miracle prevents children from having to make a sacrifice.

Violence & scariness

Brief gun-wielding, non-violent kidnapping, threats of violence, a dog is kicked (off screen).

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

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although the potential danger of stray dogs is discussed in this film, it gives the false impression that stray dogs are safe to play with. It may also raise a false hope that a miracle will keep children from having to make necessary sacrifices. While the two kids are kidnapped, the scene plays as non-violent and not very intense.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Told largely from the dog's point of view, BENJI is the story of a stray dog and the two children who adopt him. Cindy and Paul want to keep Benji, but their stern father (Peter Breck) won't let them. The first part of the movie follows Benji as he associates with locals, hides out in an abandoned house, and falls in love with a pooch named Tiffany. The movie takes a darker turn when Cindy and Paul are kidnapped. When Benji discovers that the kids are being held in the abandoned house, he reports back to the police, and eventually helps them track down the kidnappers.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

While this movie is billed as a family film, the kidnapping scenes may be troubling to young viewers. The reluctant kidnappers, who do not treat the children cruelly, are depicted in a frighteningly realistic manner. As long as parents make sure young children understand which aspects of this film are realistic and which are not (namely the super-intelligent behavior of Benji), this movie is okay for kids 6 and up.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about when it's appropriate to question the rules their parents set. If Benji wasn't such a remarkable dog, would it have been okay to keep him? What can kids do to avoid being kidnapped (not talking to strangers, etc)?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 25, 1974
DVD release date:August 17, 2004
Cast:Allen Fiuzat, Cynthia Smith, Patsy Garrett
Director:Joe Camp
Studio:GoodTimes Entertainment
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Adventures
Run time:86 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of Benji was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bysss April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

classic

the movie was slow, but it was worth watching. benji has a crush on tiffany and the dogs are in love.
Parent of a 4 and 9 year old Written byhraschke November 5, 2010
AGE
10
QUALITY
 
I remembered this as an adorable family film from my childhood. So when my husband rented it for my daughters, ages 4 and 9, I thought we'd have a fun movie night. Instead I wound up comforting two screaming, crying girls who kept asking me why we rented "the worst movie ever." They loved the dogs, but the kidnapping of the gagged children by a mean man with a gun who kicks Benji's girlfriend dog (seemingly to death) was extremely upsetting for them. We watched till the end so they could see that she had only suffered a broken leg. But they were still crying and had trouble sleeping afterward. Sigh.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 5 years old July 30, 2011
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

Surprised by Benji

My 5 year old is pretty sensitive kid, and we were caught off-guard when there was a real gun firing, when the children were kidnapped (and gagged), and when Benji's little sweetheart dog was kicked by a grown-up. Of course, my memories of it as a child were pretty benign, but found it jolting to watch it with my little one. We're still stuck on Sound of Music and Singin' in the Rain...

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