Parents' Guide to

The Plague Dogs

By Alistair Lawrence, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Animated adaptation has violence, peril, and animal cruelty.

Movie PG-13 1983 103 minutes
The Plague Dogs Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 1 parent review

age 16+

A brutal look at mortality and animal ethics, great for adults. This is NOT a children’s movie

This is an adult animated film and I cannot think of any reason a child should ever watch this. I really really enjoyed the movie, but this is hands down one of the most depressing films I have every seen. Featuring animal experimentation and torture, murder, blood, corpses, betrayal, loss, psychological dissociation, suicidal ideation, and starvation all in the juxtaposed scenery of a talking animals animated film. There is not a single ounce of joy or hope in it. Also the main reviewer here covered that the dogs eat animal corpses but failed to mention that the dogs also eat HUMAN flesh before being pursued by the military for execution. It’s based on the novel written by Richards Adams (author of Watership Down) and Plague Dogs makes Watership Down look like a Barney episode if that’s saying anything. The movie is called Plague Dogs, why is this even on Common Sense?!? All the parents should watch it though, it’ll make you hold your kids closer and be grateful to be alive.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (2):

A less-famous relation to Watership Down, this animated tale from 1982 takes a similarly unflinching look at the natural world and humans' relationship to animals. It is debatable whether The Plague Dogs is a "kids' movie" as such, but its tense, moody tone complements what is often more of a character study than a plot-driven drama or adventure story.

As a slowly unraveling panic grows in its severity, main characters Snitter and Rowf remain understandably unaware of the wider problems set in motion by their escape from an animal testing facility. While the movie repeats itself in places, particularly during its second half, at its best it is a haunting and uncompromising piece of work that asks uneasy question about medical ethics, the treatment of animals, and what harm we sometimes do to the world around us without realizing it.

Movie Details

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