Red Dog Movie Poster Image

Red Dog

Emotional dog tale features drinking, violence, and loss.
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 92 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The movie espouses positive messages about loyalty, love, friendship, and courage.

Positive role models

Characters are odd, eccentric, cantankerous, kind -- while not always drawn deeply, they are memorable.


There are scenes of fist-fights, threats of physical violence, an attempted suicide, and a few instances of death or injury referenced, but not shown. In one scene, a dog is shot, but survives. In another, a man dies in a motorcycle accident.  


A couple kisses sensually in two scenes. In another, a couple is shown waking up in bed together in the morning and kissing. A man imagines a woman giving birth, her legs extended in the air, but nothing graphic is revealed.


The dog is called "cheeky bastard" and "dirty filthy whoring ham." There are numerous visual gags/references to farts.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

In nearly every scene involving humans, there is alcohol involved. Most of the film is set in a bar, but several settings involve get-togethers where beer flows freely. Drunkenness is not depicted per se, nor is the booze shown as the cause of the violence or general roughhousing, but it's always present.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Red Dog is the story about the loss of a pet. The setting is the hardscrabble Australian Outback, and there's a great deal of drinking, scrappiness, some violence, a scene of attempted suicide, and a few deaths. The dog is called "cheeky bastard" and "dirty filthy whoring ham." There are also numerous visual gags/references to farts. The film is most appropriate for older kids, but it does have positive messages about pet loyalty and friendship that families will appreciate.

Parents say

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What's the story?

RED DOG is based on true events, but it's the stuff of legend: an extremely intelligent, exceptionally loyal dog who changes the lives of everyone he meets along the way, and who will go to the ends of the earth for his master -- as soon as he chooses him.

Is it any good?


As dog movies go, Red Dog offers some unique framing: It's set in the starkly beautiful Australian Outback; it's told against the tale of the rough-hewn miners he finds a home among. It's a beautifully shot movie in an inherently interesting setting. It doesn't take every opportunity for tear-jerking sentiment, but it is an emotional tale of how this special dog impacted the people he interacted with. 

There's a lot here for families to mull over about the nature of dog ownership, particularly in the message that we don't really own our pets, we merely get to live with them. Kids who love dogs will likely be fascinated by the legendary tale of this dog's loyalty. Like all movies celebrating pets, this one deals with loss directly. Parents who've reconciled the setting and excessive, ever-present drinking, and scrappiness may enjoy this family foray into the joys and sorrows of pet ownership.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about pet loss and the influence pets have on our lives. Have you ever had a pet that died? How did it make you feel? How did you cope with your sadness? How have your pets changed your lives?

  • Go online to learn more about the vast geography of Australia.

  • Red Dog is a stray who is taken in by a community. Go online to learn more about animals who've been abandoned and what communities can do to help reduce the number of stray pets.

Movie details

DVD/Streaming release date:November 6, 2012
Cast:Josh Lucas, KoKo, Rachel Taylor
Director:Kriv Stenders
Studio:Arc Entertainment
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Cats, dogs, and mice, Friendship
Run time:92 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:Rated PG for thematic elements, some language and sensuality.

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Kid, 12 years old September 5, 2014

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Emotional, but also not too slow. - Epicboy21

Given the PG certificate in all Australia (where I saw this when it was first released), America and the United Kingdom, it deserves one in all countries: however, this film is emotional when it wants to be. The dog actor was called Koko, and this is his only film. However, the story is about this dog, named Red Dog, who is actually a brown dog dyed red with kelpie dust: he's searching for his true owner, while going on a cross-country trip. Very interesting from the get-go, and young animal lovers may be upset by a few parts. For example, there is an animal death that is very upsetting (not telling, because it will give spoilers), but, however, there's some Australian humour here, and there's an animal that's shot and is seen with a bloody bandage on his back: however, apart from that, in the bar scenes, there is one threat by knife to an Italian's throat, and the men then threaten to slit it. However, it doesn't happen, but, they're really sick of what he's talking about. Sexual references include the aforementioned Italian saying the women had "big, beautiful breasts like nuts", and a dog is referred to with a derogatory term for a prostitute. Also, there's a scene, where, two heterosexuals are seen after sex, in the nude, but, only their shoulders are shown, cutting away from their kissing at a party. This was originally made in Australia, a dog is nearly put down, and there's some adult themes, including that a young adult male attempts to commit assisted suicide, and there's themes of animal distress and grief and loss, which there's also language like "bl--dy (Australian slang as a swearing exclamation)", "h-ll", "b-gger", "b-st-rd" and some other, similar terms. Drinking is present, and so is some smoking, but, however, thankyou for reading. Now, let's go watch that emotional, charming movie! Yay.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old December 31, 2016

Best movie ever! !

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models