Movie review by
Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media
Togo Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
True Alaska tale mixes action and drama; some peril.
  • PG
  • 2019
  • 114 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 14 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 12 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Determination, courage, selflessness, and hard work pay off.

Positive Role Models

Seppala risks his life to save others. He and his wife treat each other with kindness and support. Togo the dog is loyal, persistent, hard-working, and good natured.


Seppala and his sled dogs face life-threatening situations, including traveling in frigid temperatures and blinding snowstorms, nearly sledding off a cliff, and traversing an icy lake that begins cracking and melting under their feet. Togo jumps through a window, cutting himself on the broken glass. Local children are dying of diphtheria and the town is at risk of an epidemic.


Seppala and his wife flirt with each other and kiss.


"Damn." "Satan."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Men gather in a bar. Constance offers a visitor whisky. Seppala travels across Alaska to retrieve medicine to treat diphtheria.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Togo shifts back and forth between slow-moving but endearing scenes of life at home for an Alaskan dog-sledder and his wife, and fast-paced, life-threatening action scenes of the man and his dog team facing down death in icy conditions and blinding snowstorms. Kids might be interested if they're familiar with the story thanks to the animated Balto series. Older viewers might need to feel a special interest for the Alaskan setting, dog-sledding, or the true events of 1925 to be fully engaged by this film. The relationship between man and dog is endearing, especially the way the dog worms his way into the man's heart, scenes that elicit some mild swearing, including "damn" and "Satan."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byTeamTomich4 December 26, 2019

The Amazing Togo

My 8 and 5 year olds watched and really enjoyed this film (the 5 year old had a little trouble following but was still pretty engaged). "Damn" and... Continue reading
Adult Written byManny1123 December 23, 2019


I will tell everyone to watch this excellent movie I will repeat to watch many many times I love it and people will learn to love animal they are sometimes bett... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old February 7, 2021

An amazing movie!

I watched Togo with my parents recently, and it was an amazing movie! I think that kids should watch this movie with their parents, because there are parts wher... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old January 1, 2020

Togo Review

I really liked this movie! It was one of the most interesting movies I’ve ever watched based off a true story. Ok, let’s just start the review. In terms of role... Continue reading

What's the story?

In 1925, the town of Nome, Alaska was threatened by a deadly outbreak of diphtheria until one man and his team of sled dogs, led by the unlikely lead dog TOGO, braved the icy elements to retrieve medicine from the nearest city. This is the true story that Togo is based on. Norwegian immigrant Leonhard Seppala (Willem Dafoe) raises sled dogs but he's perpetually annoyed by the persistence of one pesky pup the man considers ill-equipped for sledding because of his small size. Seppala locks Togo up and tries twice to give him away, but Togo tunnels, climbs, and jumps his way out every time. Finally, urged on by his wife Constance (Julianne Nicholson), Seppala gives the dog a chance and finds him to be the fastest and most determined of his breed. Togo not only wins Seppala's heart but he also helps his master win sled races and ultimately helps save the people of Nome.

Is it any good?

Togo has all the elements of a great tale for the big screen -- gorgeous settings, action enhanced by special effects, A-list star power, and an inspiring tale of humans and their handsome sled dogs. But the film juggles all these elements a little awkwardly, resulting in a solid and worthy but not entirely fulfilling movie set to premiere on the small screen.

Togo is another reminder that Dafoe can make just about any character feel authentic, though he's straddled here with a slightly distracting accent and some eccentric character moments, like when he shouts Shakespeare at his sled dogs. There are drastic shifts in tone between past and present -- Togo's puppyhood on Seppala's austere but pleasant homestead and breakneck adventure on their death-defying rescue mission. Scenes in between, when Seppala and Togo restore their physical and spiritual energy at dimly-lit Inuit-run rest houses, combine these moods and are among the most memorable in the movie.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the realities of life in an Alaskan outpost in the early 1900s, as seen in Togo. Why was it so hard to bring medicine to the town of Nome?

  • How do Seppala and Togo both display perseverance? Why is this an important character strength?

  • What do you know about dog-sledding, also called mushing? How could you learn more?

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