The Dog Who Saved Christmas Movie Poster Image

The Dog Who Saved Christmas



Warm fuzzies abound in feel-good holiday tale.
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

This movie is intended to entertain rather than to educate.

Positive messages

The story demonstrates how first impressions can interfere with understanding someone's true character. That said, there's also some potty humor: In one scene, a man farts repeatedly, causing those around him to run away in disgust.

Positive role models

Melinda pre-judges Zeus' worth but learns that the canine has plenty of heart when their home is threatened by robbers.

Violence & scariness

A thief kicks his partner in frustration, and the latter threatens Zeus, telling him he'll "smash" him and make him suffer for thwarting their efforts to rob his home. A man shoots a gun that hits his cohort with suction-cup ammunition. Although the guys set out to steal from the Bannisters, the ensuing battle of wits between them and Zeus has enough mishaps to keep the mood light.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable

One instance each of "oh my God!" and "butt" is as salty as it gets.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this heartwarming holiday tale has strong messages about the importance of seeing past first impressions to judge a person's (or dog's) true character. There's lots of emotion in the dog's pleas (audible only to viewers' ears, obviously) to stay with his new family, so little kids might need some reassurance that the outcome will be a happy one. Comedic mishaps considerably lighten the mood when robbers break into a home, but one uses a gun-like weapon, and they verbally threaten Zeus' life.

What's the story?

George (Gary Valentine) and Melinda Bannister (Elisa Donovan) are worried when they learn about a rash of robberies in their new neighborhood, but they have conflicting opinions on the best way to protect their home. George takes the initiative and adopts Zeus (voiced by Mario Lopez), a former award-winning police dog who should be perfect for the job. Unfortunately, they discover that Zeus isn't quite up to his working-day standards, so they agree to return him -- much to George's dismay. But when robbers move in on the Bannisters' turf, it's up to Zeus to put the past to rest and protect his new family.

Is it any good?


THE DOG WHO SAVED CHRISTMAS is another feel-good holiday tale that will have the whole family smiling by the end. The mix of a crafty young hero, two inept thieves, and a houseful of Christmas decorations may at first be reminiscent of Home Alone, but there's much more to it. Zeus' moving tale aside, a subplot surrounding a mysterious neighbor also reminds viewers that even though a person's (or dog's) inner spirit may not be obvious at first, it's still the true judge of their character.

There's no reason to sweat the content in this family-friendly comedy (a gun with suction-cup ammo and one noisy farting scene are about as iffy as things get), but if you've got a soft spot for second-chance animal tales, then you might want to grab the tissues before you settle in. Fiction or not, it's hard not to be moved by Zeus' desperate quest for a forever home. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how you define a "good" character in movies or on TV shows. In the shows and movies you watch, do the good guys win more than they lose? If so, how do they accomplish their goals?

  • Kids: How is violence used in comedy? What violence existed in this movie? Was it realistic? Does comedy downplay the seriousness of real-life issues like crime?

  • Does your family have pets? Who takes care of them? What does that care entail? Would you like to have other pets? If so, what kind? What kind of care would they need?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 29, 2009
DVD/Streaming release date:December 8, 2009
Cast:Dean Cain, Gary Valentine, Mario Lopez
Director:Michael Feifer
Studio:Anchor Bay Entertainment
Genre:Family and Kids
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some mild language and rude humor

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Kid, 12 years old December 3, 2009
this movie show that face your fears or you'll never get to where you want to be in the future this show a life lesson WATCH THIS MOVIE
Parent Written byConcernedParent425 December 9, 2011

Worst holiday movie ever

This movie is horrible on so many levels it is difficult to know where to begin. While the acting is painfully bad to witness, the only blessing is that young children won't notice this aspect of it. The main reason I signed in to post this review is over its completely inappropriate threat of use of violence on the dog in the movie. At one point the dog is tied up and muzzled, after which one of the movie characters threatens the dog with serious violent physical harm with a golf club. This is not done in jest, and is reason alone this movie should be burned, banned and shredded for landfill lest children witness it. As a lighter example, in another scene the grandmother is moved by pulling her by her hair. The movie has absolutely no sense of propriety in depicting how people should treat one another or animals. The 'toilet humor' is another negative but not nearly as great of concern as the threats of violence depicted in this horrible movie. For parents, the rest of the time viewing the movie will be in complete terror lest the holiday season be ruined forever by a careless line or scene. When I first put the movie on I thought my child could watch it alone without a parent. I admit for the benefit of others who might read this review that letting a child watch this movie alone is one of the worst acts of parenting imaginable. Please be a good parent and guard your children from this movie. If you have already purchased it but not seen it yet please save the holiday season in your house and throw it away right now.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Kid, 12 years old December 7, 2009

not so great

not so great
What other families should know
Too much violence