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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A introduction to Athens, Greece: city streets, buildings, landmarks (the Acropolis), open air market.
Resourcefulness, courage, and perseverance help good triumph over evil. One can rely on family and good friends. Cautions about whom to trust and not to trust.
Positive Role Models
Benji, an adorable pup, exemplifies determination, smarts, loyalty, and ingenuity. His family is devoted and doesn't give up. Doberman Pinscher is shown as vicious.
Violence & Scariness
Benji in danger in multiple sequences: chased by villains on foot and in car, dognapped, shot at. A ferocious dog. A little girl held hostage by a man holding a gun. Villain hits man over head with gun.
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Products & Purchases
Olympic Airlines, Caravel Hotel in Athens, Alfa Romeo.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that For the Love of Benji (made in 1977) was the first sequel in the very popular Benji (1974) franchise. In this adventure, Benji is still a part of his almost-intact original family established in the first movie -- two kids and their nanny -- and he's with Tiffany, his sweet pup girlfriend. They're all on their way to a vacation in Greece when a missed flight separates the lovable pooch from the others. The story finds Benji in jeopardy in multiple sequences. He's chased by villains on foot and in cars, shot at, chloroformed, and dognapped. Emphasis, however, is on the charm of the dog on his own in the big, foreign city surviving by his wits. The film is in English, and the occasional scenes that involve non-English-speaking characters aren't subtitled. It works because the gist of the conversations is clear. Though rated G by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in 1974, it's only appropriate for kids who clearly understand the difference between real and imaginary action, because Benji's numerous brushes with danger may be disturbing. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Irresistible scenes of the smart and sweet pup, shot and edited with panache, make this 1977 sequel a delight, despite the ludicrous plot and nasty scoundrels who threaten with guns. For the Love of Benji would be repetitious -- how many times can one determined dog escape the danger that awaits him at every turn -- if weren't so funny and inventive, and if each obstacle didn't lead Benji to more charming moments in picturesque Athens. Hearts will melt; tears may flow when all's well that ends well.
Director-writer Joe Camp makes the most of Benji's adorableness. Scenes of the pooch making friends with another stray and his bone, scoring sausages from an outdoor food bazaar, and outwitting an international thief should appeal to new fans and gratify their parents -- even grandparents -- who made the movie a hit decades ago. For the Love of Benji actually holds up better than its predecessor, and it isn't necessary to have seen the earlier film. Great for kids who are comfortable with heroes who have to run for their lives (both human and canine).
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.