By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Book-based dog tale has some emotional intensity.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Lying to your parents can destroy your parents' trust in you. Work hard for what you want. It's important to keep one's promises.
Positive Role Models
Marty is a compassionate boy who wants to save a beagle from his abusive owner. He lives in the country and carries a shotgun, but he would never kill anything. He works odd jobs to earn enough so he can buy the dog from the abuser. The owner cheats and breaks the law and is mean to his animals but that may be because he himself was beaten as a child. It's implied that an adult character can't read or write very well. The town doctor is kind and generous.
Violence & Scariness
A mildly bloody wound is seen on a dog's brow. Two dogs fight and one is injured on the leg. A little blood is seen and a doctor fixes him up. Before the action starts a girl's parents were killed in a car accident. A man threatens to shoot a dog if he runs away again. Marty tries to wrestle an adult to the ground when the man tries to take the beagle from Marty.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A young girl kisses a young boy on the cheek as he recoils and wipes it off.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A man drinks several beers in the morning, as if it were his usual habit.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Shiloh is a sweet 1996 drama based on the Newbery Medal-winning novel of the same name by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor about a boy who saves a beagle from an abusive hunter. The hunter kicks the dog and a small wound is seen on the dog's brow, but no other animal abuse is actually seen, just threatened. Two dogs fight and the smaller sustains a leg injury, but little blood is seen. Before the action starts a girl's parents were killed in a car accident. A man threatens to shoot a dog if he runs away again. Marty tries to wrestle an adult to the ground when the man tries to take the beagle from Marty. A man drinks several beers in the morning, as if it were his usual habit.
To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.
What's the Story?
"SHILOH" is the name young Marty (Blake Heron) gives the abused beagle he finds near a country bridge. The dog, a particularly adorable hound, follows him home. When Marty asks his parents if he can keep it, his father Ray (Michael Moriarty) says no because it belongs to Judd (Scott Wilson), a poor, sad, lonely hunter living in the woods. When they return the dog, Judd declares that if the dog runs away again he will shoot it, alarming Marty. Marty offers to buy the dog but Judd says it's not for sale. Marty works odd jobs to make enough money to buy the dog, thinking Judd will let the dog go if he comes up with enough. When the dog runs off again and turns up at Marty's, he hides Shiloh from his parents until a bigger dog injures the beagle, requiring medical attention. Determined to keep the dog, Marty strikes a bargain, sealed by a piece of paper signed by Judd stating that in exchange for 20 hours of manual labor performed by Marty on Judd's property, the dog will go to Marty. Judd reneges on the deal, which leads to a final confrontation.
Is It Any Good?
Veteran performers Scott Wilson, Michael Moriarty, and Ann Dowd (as Marty's sympathetic mother) give Shiloh solid grounding even if it echoes many boy-and-his-dog stories. However, without over-explaining anything, the movie offers more depth than the usual such fare. The movie's bad guy was once a kid who played with Marty's dad, and his dad was famously mean and abusive, suggesting that Judd might be a better guy if he'd had better parents. The movie also offers a sympathetic way of assessing the villain, hinting that drinking and educational limits have turned him meaner than he might otherwise have been. For those reasons this movie will probably be best for tweens and up.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about what to do when we encounter wrongdoing. If someone is hurting an animal or a child, or someone is stealing or otherwise doing harm, would it be safe to try to stop them yourself? Would it be better to tell a police officer or a grownup?
The movie says that the trouble with lying is that it destroys people's trust in the liar. Do you think it is ever a good idea to lie? Under what circumstances?
How does this movie compare to other dog tales you've seen?
- In theaters: April 25, 1996
- On DVD or streaming: July 18, 2006
- Cast: Scott Wilson, Michael Moriarty, Ann Dowd, Blake Heron
- Director: Dale Rosenbloom
- Studio: Warner Home Video
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Character Strengths: Compassion
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: for mild violence
- Last updated: February 26, 2022
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.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Dog Movies for Kids
Best Animal Movies for Kids
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