Rusty: The Great Rescue

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Rusty: The Great Rescue Movie Poster Image
Enjoyable talking animal movie has some bathroom humor.
  • G
  • 2006
  • 90 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The importance of teamwork is shown through example, as the animals work together to stop Bart and Bertha, and the Callahan family does the same.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Despite losing their parents, Jory and Tess are kind children who love their grandparents, pets, and each other. Tory and Edna, the grandparents of Jory and Tess, are good-hearted people who work hard to make ends meet on their farm.

Violence & Scariness

An alligator attacks a puppy drinking from a pond. One of the antagonists points a rifle at a trespassing dog, shoots, and misses. Slapstick violence: food fights, characters trip and fall, get hit in the head with a baseball thrown by an elephant. A VW van loses control and crashes into a barn. Later, this van loses control and teeters on the edge of a hill before rolling into a pond.

Sexy Stuff

No profanity, but several references to defecation. Two talking turtles don't want to take the shortcut through a field because of "cow pies." Later, the two "bad guys" -- Bart and Bertha -- step in animal excrement, crash their van into excrement, sing songs referencing "poop and pee," and in one instance, Bart exits an outhouse while talking about the smell being so bad because of the chili dogs he ate. There's also a mention of "God" when one of the children prays for help.


During a child's birthday party, cans of Orange Crush soda are prominently displayed on the table.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The ill-tempered boss of the county fair walks around the fairgrounds smoking a cigar.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Rusty: The Great Rescue is a 1998 movie with talking animals, slapstick humor, and several jokes involving defecation. There's also a potentially scary scene for younger viewers when a crocodile nearly eats a puppy. Aside from this, this movie is a light-hearted adventure with animals voiced by everyone from Rodney Dangerfield to Bobcat Goldthwait (among other stars from television past), with some sweetness to go with the pratfalls.

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What's the story?

Boyd (Hal Holbrook) and Edna (Rue McClanahan) are the guardians of their grandchildren, Jory and Tess. They live in a rural animal shelter with a quirky crew of talking turtles, geese, elephants, and many more, as well as a playful young beagle named Rusty. Two greedy relatives -- Bart (Charles Fleischer) and Bertha -- scheme to take custody of Jory and Tess so they can get a hold of the trust fund left to the children by their late parents. Desperate for money to pay for a lawyer to help them make their wicked plan a reality, Bart and Bertha sneak onto the animal shelter and steal the newborn puppies and sell them to a rich man in the market for a new pet, and anyone else willing to pay top dollar. It's up to Rusty -- with help from his animal friends -- to rescue his new siblings and save the shelter.

Is it any good?

The movie has a predictable-enough storyline and some questionable scatological humor. Despite that, RUSTY: THE GREAT RESCUE is -- for animal lovers especially -- an enjoyable movie filled with talking animals, and a bit of sweetness to go with all the slapstick comedy and wacky pratfalls. The silliness gets to be a bit much at times, but perhaps this is to be expected.

If this is an above-average animal movie, it's due in no small part to the cast. Hal Holbrook and Rue McClanahan bring their considerable talents to a middle-of-the-road script, and the animals are voiced by, among others, Rodney Dangerfield and Bobcat Goldthwait. While not the most original movie out there, for families who enjoy comedic romps, talking animals, and adventures in the wild, Rusty: The Great Rescue will prove entertaining.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about movies with talking animals. What were some of the animals who talked in this movie, and what were they like?

  • What similarities and differences do you see between this movie and other movies with talking animals?

  • If you could make your own talking animal movie, which actors would you hire to do the voices?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animals

Themes & Topics

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