Father and child sit together smiling while looking at a smart phone.

Want more recommendations for your family?

Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration

Parents' Guide to


By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Inept, poorly made faith-based dog tale has death, abuse.

Movie NR 2011 100 minutes
Footprints Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 12+

Terribly made movie on a very important message

I wanted to love this movie. The dog was the best actor. Terrible lighting; amateur actors-couldn’t see anything in their eyes; overwhelming and supercilious music. Terrible cinematography. Terrible editing. Really sad they made such a bad movie about a great subject.

This title has:

Great messages
age 3+

Great message based on a true story

Excellent movie with a positive message

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (1 ):

Footprints has good intentions but fails miserably on every level. This movie's quality resides in a land far, far away from the usual professional standards of production, writing, direction, editing, sound, or acting to which the average moviegoer has become accustomed. Most short videos on social media display greater artistic understanding of the moving-pictures medium than Footprints does. First we are given to understand that everything shot in black and white is a flashback to David's childhood. But later the filmmakers use black and white to suggest how things look from the dog's point of view, so this can lead to confusion about whether the movie is in the past or the present. "Show, don't tell" is a fundamental of screenwriting 101, yet we never see nor fully understand exactly what was so bad about Cadie that multiple adoptive owners were forced to return her. Her all-important transformation (from bad to good? From vicious to gentle? Democrat to Republican?), which David refers to as a miracle, is nothing more than an unfounded rumor.

We DO see this story: A nice man trains a lovely dog. Together they do good, charitable volunteer work, which provides neither dramatic conflict nor any promised transformation. As for David's growth, apart from the normal grief he experiences when his old dog dies of a spinal tumor, he too seems a happy, well-adjusted guy with a great partner in life and a lovely stepdaughter. When David questions all the good he has done with Cadie just because a stodgy pastor tells him that God would never work through a soulless lower animal, you wonder if David has really learned anything at all. For dog lovers who can ignore the movie's general badness, there are many sweet doggie moments.

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