The Shaggy D.A. Movie Poster Image

The Shaggy D.A.

(i)

 

Dad turns into a dog in this vintage Disney movie.
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1976
  • Running Time: 91 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This movie goes to show that even important dads can have their shaggy moments. The gangsters who are affiliated with the crooked current D.A. get their comeuppance.

Positive role models

The Daniels family works together to get Mr. Daniels' campaign off the ground. Some adults are portrayed as greedy, crooked or unintelligent, but the good guys come out in front in the end.

Violence & scariness

The crooks are a bit seedy. One of them uses a tranquilizer gun on the dog. The Daniels' neighbor has a shotgun, which he uses to shoot at trespassers. The dog punches a crook. Scary ladder climbing and walking on a high plank.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

'70s era cigarette-smoking by gangsters and people in a bar. Adults drink beer in a bar.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there's some 1970s-era smoking and beer drinking in a bar. There's also some mild peril. The bad guys are pretty crooked, stealing and cheating to keep control of the local government. Actually, more of this comedy is concerned with the adult world than a kid's world. In fact, there's only one kid in the whole movie! Kids will like the slapstick and dog moments, though.

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What's the story?

Wilby Daniels (Dean Jones) comes home one evening to find that his home has been completely cleaned out -- robbed, that is. And after realizing that crime is up in the town of Medford, he decides to take a stand against organized crime and run for District Attorney. But when the precious Borgeau ring is stolen from the local museum, he notices some funny changes taking place. For one thing, he turns into a dog whenever a phrase is uttered that activates the spell associated with the ring. When his political opponent figures out the spell, Wilby finds himself spending more time as a dog than as a man. It's rough-and-tumble antics until the gangsters are ousted and Wilby gets the ring back in a safe place.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Tim Conway fans will enjoy watching the master comedian list a dubious array of ice cream flavors that he's selling out of his truck. There are some fun slapstick moments of the shaggy dog variety, but it's not quite as fun as the Herbie the Love Bug movies that made the actor Dean Jones famous. Nonetheless, there's a great food fight and a roller-derby scene that will make parents smile.  

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about all the choices kids have in the entertainment world these days. When today's parents were growing up, they didn't have as much programming geared to them. Here's an interview with a star from some classic 1970s films -- Jodie Foster -- who talks about how media has changed since she was starring in kid's movies.

  • Here's a movie where a kid is wearing headphones and riding a skateboard. But check out the size of those headphones and the skinny banana board! Can you imagine a life without MP3 players and cell phones? How about life before video games? (Ask your grandparents about that one.) Here are some guidelines for creating a good family media plan.

  • Is this a good example of how government works? Do politicians always have their constituents in mind? Who are good politicians in your opinion, and why? Will Wilby Daniels make a good D.A.? Why or why not?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 17, 1976
DVD/Streaming release date:March 7, 2006
Cast:Dean Jones, Suzanne Pleshette, Tim Conway
Director:Robert Stevenson
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Comedy
Run time:91 minutes
MPAA rating:G

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