101 Dalmatians is a 1996 live-action film produced by Walt Disney Pictures. It is a remake of the 1961 animated film of the same name (which was based on Dodie Smith's 1956 novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians). It stars Glenn Close as the villainous Cruella De Vil and Jeff Daniels as Roger Dearly.
Roger Dearly is a video game designer who lives with his dog Pongo in a flat in London. He shows his latest game that stars Pongo to a young boy named Herbert, who judges games at the local company where he works and sees if they're good for future sales. However, Herbert doesn't seem to like a dogcatcher being the villain, so Roger goes back to square one.
The story then goes to Cruella De Vil who goes to her fancy fashion establishment called the House of DeVil. She goes to one of her top designers Anita Campbell-Green who is trying to design the next latest fashion. Cruella is pleased with her idea of making something consisting of spots and admires that she used her dog Perdita as inspiration. She then decides to make a fur coat out of Dalmatians. Later when Roger and Pongo are in the park, Pongo spots Perdita on a lead with Anita and immediately falls in love with her. The dogs get their own owners together after both of them end up in the duck pond from a nasty accident with their bikes. Roger and Anita fall in love as well and eventually get married, and so do Pongo and Perdita.
Cruella sends her two henchmen Jasper and Horace to see Mr. Skinner, a mute taxidermist. As they arrive, Jasper explains to Horace about how Skinner ended up being mute by having his vocal cords torn out by a dog at a young age and advises him not to look at the horrifying scar on his neck or talk to him. However, when they use the knocker and Skinner comes out, Horace immediately forgets and says something rude, so Jasper punches him out for his stupidity. Inside, Skinner gives them a huge suitcase to take back to Cruella. Jasper and Horace drive back to Cruella's mansion and give her the suitcase that appears to be the skin of a dead Siberian tiger, which Skinner had stolen from the London Zoo before killing it.
Roger and Anita have settled into their own house with Nanny as their housekeeper. Roger is still trying to make the perfect video game with no success and Anita and Perdita are both pregnant. Cruella comes round for an uninvited visit and after hearing about Perdita, she asks the Dearlys to let her know when the puppies arrive. On a stormy October evening, Perdita begins giving birth to the puppies with Nanny and Anita helping, while Roger and Pongo wait outside. Everything seems to be going well and the number of puppies gets bigger and bigger to fifteen, but Nanny comes out with one that seems to have died. Roger gently strokes the puppy until movement comes from the tiny bundle giving them fifteen again, they name the surviving puppy Lucky. Straight afterwards, Cruella comes barging in after getting information from Jasper and Horace that the puppies had been born, but is disappointed that their spots haven't arrived and rudely calls them "white rats". Anita assures them that they'll get their spots later. Cruella decides to buy the puppies in advance until they're ready to leave their mother, but the Dearlys tell her that they're not for sale. After giving them offer after offer, they still refuse, making Cruella furious, firing Anita from the House of DeVil and swearing vengeance on the family for turning her down.
A few months later, the puppies have grown up and some of them have been named: Jewel, Dipstick, Fidget, Two-Tone and Whizzer. Late one night Jasper and Horace are lurking in the shadows watching the Dearlys go to the park with their dogs. They break into the house and lock Nanny in the cupboard. They go to the kitchen where the puppies are being kept and snatch them in a giant sack. While they are putting them in the van, a general's dog barks fiercely at them and Horace suspects that he knows what they've done. In the park, Pongo and Perdita hear the general's dog barking and immediately rush back to the house with Roger and Anita chasing after them. They all return and Nanny who has finally freed herself from the cupboard tells them what has happened. Meanwhile, Jasper calls Cruella and tells them that all the puppies have been stolen. She is delighted and Mr. Skinner, who is with her, adds them to the puppies they had previously stolen, giving them a total of 99. Jasper and Horace go to an abandoned mansion to get some sleep and wait for further instructions from Cruella.
Back at the house, the Dearlys have called the police, and they agree to search for the puppies. Roger has his doubts that they'll ever find them, so Pongo goes to the highest window and does the Twilight Bark to ask for help. One by one, the dogs and other creatures agree to help. One of them is Kipper, who had seen Jasper and Horace's van and heard the puppies inside. He follows them to the abandoned house and while the henchmen are asleep, finds all the puppies. Cruella calls Skinner and asks him to have the puppies killed and skinned tonight. Another dog arrives at the Dearlys' house and tells Pongo and Perdita that they've found their puppies, and they immediately go with him. Later the Dearlys realize that Pongo and Perdita went to go find the puppies and that Cruella was behind the dognapping and after seeing Anita's sketch of the coat, deduce that she is going to kill them so she can make it. They again call the police, who investigate Cruella and discover her connection not only to the dognapping, but also to other animal-related crimes that they've never been able to solve (such as the abduction of the tiger), and order a manhunt for her.
Meanwhile, the other creatures sabotage Jasper and Horace's truck while they're sleeping. Jasper and Horace later wake up and decide to kill and skin the puppies themselves. They hear a knock on the door and thinking that it is Cruella, open the door to meet her. However, they see no one there because a woodpecker has been tapping; when they look again, they see some raccoons playing in their van and angrily go to stop them. While they are distracted, Kipper leads the puppies out of the house, but Lucky gets left behind by accident (because he was still sleeping). The Baduns finally get rid of the raccoons by hurling stones at them. They go back inside, only to find that the puppies have escaped. When they split up and see Whizzer sitting alone in a corner, they try to catch him, but have little success, and the other puppies leave the house and head for the snowy meadows.
Cruella finally arrives, and is furious that the puppies have escaped. She leaves and decides to find them herself, unaware that a skunk has made its way into her car. Jasper and Horace go after them as well, but end up losing their van when the engine goes on fire from the animals' sabotage and finally get a high-powered shock from an electric fence.
Meanwhile, Mr. Skinner arrives at the abandoned mansion to find only Lucky there. Just as he is about to start the killing, Kipper appears and stops him by running over, biting him on the rump and pulling him to the ground. The police later come and arrest Skinner. Jasper and Horace have had enough, and after seeing the police cars in the distance, allow themselves to be arrested as well; however, they are confronted by an angry Skinner, who had his clothes tattered by Kipper.
Pongo and Perdita are united with their children and the other puppies at a farm, but Cruella tracks them down and proceeds to kill them herself. The farm animals try to hold her back as much as they can, while the dogs proceed to make their escape. In the ensuing chaos, Cruella gets farted on by a pig, falls into a vat of molasses and is ultimately hurled into a pigpen. In the end, she ends up with her clothes being all filthy and is finally arrested as well.
The dogs escape to a nearby village where the police are waiting for them. The police round up all the Dalmatians, including Lucky, who comes back with Kipper, and the total adds up to one hundred and one. All the dogs are sent back to the Dearlys.
In the police van, Cruella is telling Jasper, Horace and Mr. Skinner that because of their incompetence, her business, reputation and even her life are now spoiled. As she tries to open her supposed bag, the skunk, who was asleep on Cruella's lap, sprays its stench at the horrified four, making them smell bad for the rest of the journey.
The police finally arrive at the Dearlys' house and the family are very grateful to them. In return, the police suggest that the other stolen puppies need a home, or they go to the pound. At first, Anita is unsure, but after some encouragement from Roger and Nanny, she agrees.
As the puppies run into the house, Roger picks up a newspaper with the headline of Cruella's arrest and decides to use her for his latest video game idea. He shows it to Herbert again, this time with two Dalmatian puppies as the playable characters and Cruella De Vil as the villainess. The boy gives the game a good response, and his boss congratulates Roger and makes arrangements to manufacture the game.
With the fortune made from Roger's video game, the Dearlys, along with their new baby, Nanny and the Dalmatians, move to a huge mansion in the country, with Anita announcing to Roger that she's pregnant again.
- Glenn Close as Cruella De Vil
- Jeff Daniels as Roger Dearly
- Joely Richardson as Anita Dearly
- Joan Plowright as Nanny
- Hugh Laurie as Jasper
- Mark Williams as Horace
- John Shrapnel as Mr. Skinner
- Tim McInnerny as Alonzo
- Hugh Fraser as Frederick
- Zohren Weiss as Herbert
- Mark Haddigan as Alan
The film performed well at the box office, earning $136,189,294 in the United States and $320,689,294 worldwide. Reception was generally mixed, with critics at Rotten Tomatoes giving the film a "rotten" rating of 38%, with an average rating of 5.3 out of 10 from 34 reviews. The film received a metascore of 49 out of 100 based on 20 critics. It became the sixth highest grossing film of 1996 behind Independence Day, Twister, Mission Impossible, The Rock, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
101 Dalmatians was released on VHS on April 15, 1997, and on DVD on December 12, 2000. Due to the high sales of the One Hundred and One Dalmatians Platinum Edition DVD, Disney re-released this film on September 16, 2008, in the U.S., along with its sequel, 102 Dalmatians, and the sequel to the original 1961 animated version, 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure.
Differences from the 1961 original film
- The animal characters do not speak in the remake.
- The 101 in the movie title is written as actual numbers while in the original film, it is written as words.
- Roger and Anita's last name is Dearly instead of Radcliffe. Anita's former last name was Campbell-Green.
- Roger works as a video game designer instead of a musician, pianist and songwriter.
- Anita works as a fashion designer for Cruella.
- Anita and Perdita are first seen at Cruella's company instead of walking to the park.
- Aside from skinning dogs, Cruella is also revealed to have skinned other types of animals, including a tiger.
- Anita and Roger have a baby in the end of the film, and hinted they will have another one.
- Jasper and Horace have smaller body sizes but are more ruthless. Jasper is also a bit smarter in this film.
- Cruella has a third minion aside from Jasper and Horace, Mr. Skinner, who is a mute taxidermist.
- Some of the puppies have names that are different from those in the original film. Lucky is the only puppy whose name is unchanged.
- The Colonel (called Fogey in this film), Captain, and Tibbs are not the only animals in their farm. There are pigs, sheep, cows, goats, chickens, three raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, a woodpecker, a crow, and a skunk.
- Kipper the Airedale sneaks in the manor house and helps the puppies instead of the Colonel and Tibbs; however, he doesn't get spotted by the Baduns nor does he temporally retreat from the house. In the end, he escorts Lucky to his parents after saving him from Skinner.
- It was Skinner's job to skin the puppies, but Jasper and Horace personally volunteered themselves.
- Cruella's car is black and white instead of red and black.
- Instead of writing music, Roger designs video games which are based out of the animated version of the movie.
- Following the puppies' escape, Lucky gets left behind, but Kipper later finds him.
- This time, the cops were seen in action; arresting the villains and returning the Dalmatians home.
- Cruella meets her defeat by getting outsmarted by the animals, like how her minions were outsmarted throughout the movie when rescuing the pups.
- Pongo and Perdita were seen alerted by the bulldog (who Pongo met in the park in the beginning of the film) that their puppies were taken, the latter having seen the Baduns steal the puppies. They and Roger and Anita arrive home quickly just after Nanny finds that the puppies gone.
- Pongo doesn't manipulate Roger into going to the park to find Anita and Perdita. He and Roger instead go to the park on their own free will. This is also when Pongo first sees Perdita.
- Both Pongo and Perdita got their owners crashing their bicycles in the pond just to be together.
- In the original film, Roger, Anita and Pongo all fell into the pond while in the remake, Roger and Anita fell into the pond on separate occasions. Pongo doesn't fall into the pond at all.
- Following their first meeting, Roger, Anita, Pongo and Perdita all went to Roger's house to dry off. This was omitted in the original film.
- While the people watch Roger and Anita in their wedding, the dogs of London watch Pongo and Perdita get married.
- Cruella, Jasper, and Horace appear a little early in the film before the dognapping incident.
- Jasper and Horace's truck got burned by the nibbled wires caused by the squirrels, instead of crashing it to Cruella's car.
- Lucky has been separated from the group until Kipper rescues him and escorts him to his family.
- Cruella invades the barn to catch the puppies instead of the Baduns.
- The villains' attempts to capture the puppies are more comedic in the remake.
- Anita was the one who believed and confirmed that Cruella was behind the dognapping incident.
- Nanny, Anita and Roger (mainly Nanny) believe that the reason why Pongo and Perdita ran away was only because they went looking for the puppies.
- Pongo and Perdita don't attack the minions to save the puppies, except for Kipper when saving Lucky from Skinner.
- Cruella says her speech and order to skin the pups from the animated movie was given to Mr. Skinner instead of the Bandit Brothers: "Police are everywhere. I want the job done tonight. Can you do it? Any way you want. Poison them. Drown them. Bash them on the head! Got any chloroform? I don't care how you kill the little beasts. Just do it and do it now!"
- In the remake, Cruella hands out a check and asks Roger and Anita to take the check and accept the offer. She didn't have a chance to finish doing this in the original film.
- Cruella had no trouble writing the check; therefore, she doesn't accidentally spill ink all over Roger and Pongo like in the animated film.
- Roger and Anita both tell Cruella that the puppies are not for sale. This results in Cruella firing Anita for refusing to sell the puppies to her.
- After Cruella storms out of Roger's home, the Baduns were outside waiting for her.
- In the original film, Jasper is usually the one who drives the Baduns' truck. In this film, Horace is also shown to be driving it.
- The window of Roger's front door does not break after Cruella slams it shut. Pongo also doesn't angrily bark after her.
- Instead of watching The Thunderbolt Adventure Hour, the puppies were watching two different movies, The Aristocats and Homeward Bound: the Incredible Journey. Thunderbolt also does not appear in this film.
- While waiting for the Dearlys to leave, the Baduns were asleep instead of reading newspapers.
- In the remake, when Nanny first encountered the Baduns, she was frightened of them and unsuccessfully tried to stop them from entering while in the original, she refused to let them inside, but they manage to force their way in.
- The Baduns did not pretend to be from an electric company when confronting Nanny.
- Nanny gets locked in a cupboard instead of the closet.
- In the original film, Jasper imprisons Nanny while Horace steals the puppies. In the remake, they do both tasks together.
- The Baduns use a large sack to carry the puppies instead of a tool bag.
- After Nanny discovers that the puppies were stolen, she doesn't run outside the house. Pongo and Perdita (who were alerted of the dognapping) arrive home at that time.
- When Jasper informs Cruella of his and Horace's success in stealing the puppies, he contacts her using a house phone instead of a phone booth.
- When Cruella is talking to Jasper through the phone, she wasn't in her bedroom.
- Cruella doesn't call Roger and Anita after her conversation with Jasper on the phone.
- Pongo begins the Twilight Bark at Roger's home instead of Primrose Hill.
- Besides dogs, other animals take part in the Twilight Bark.
- Although the Great Dane, Scottie, and Towser don't clearly appear nor are they mentioned in the film, it is presumed that they are among the dogs performing the Twilight Bark.
- Lucy the Goose doesn't appear in this film.
- Pongo and Perdita leave their home in the day instead of at night. Their owners also notice them leave.
- While trying to locate their puppies, Pongo and Perdita didn't have a near collision with a truck nor did they have to cross a fast-moving river. Instead, they had to get through an electrical fence.
- While at the abandoned mansion, the Baduns are shown sleeping instead of watching TV.
- The puppies escape attempt is different in this film: the Baduns were distracted by animals messing with their van while in the original film, they choose to finish watching a show before skinning the puppies.
- Cruella arrives at the mansion after the puppies have escaped.
- Cruella goes after the Dalmatians herself, although the Baduns decide to follow her. At one point, the Baduns get electrocuted by an electrical fence when trying to get over it.
- When Cruella proceeds to go after the puppies, she does not notice a skunk sneaking into her car. The skunk later reveals itself after Cruella, the Baduns, and Mr. Skinner got arrested.
- The Dairy Farm does not appear in this film. The cows are instead found in the farm where Captain, Tibbs, and the Colonel live.
- Cruella and the Baduns' vehicles do not get wrecked; however, the Baduns' van gets sabotaged by animals.
- When the Dalmatians reach the village, they encounter the police instead of a Labrador Retriever.
- The Dalmatians do not disguise themselves as Labradors, nor did they have to hitch a ride on a van to return home. Instead, the police found them and took them home, unlike the original film.
- The Baduns give themselves in to the police after deciding to stop helping Cruella.
- The villains actually get arrested at the end of the film instead of in the sequel.
- Roger's decision to adopt the stolen puppies is to prevent them from ending up in the pound.
- The Dearlys, Nanny and the Dalmatians move to a mansion in the countryside instead of a normal house. They also move there at the end of the film instead of in the sequel.
- When Discovery Family Channel aired this movie, it cut into the second half of the Great Oaks logo in widescreen scope.
- First Disney live action remake to receive a G rating.
- This movie was Glenn Close's first Disney film.
- The Minster Court was used as the exterior of Cruella's fashion house and the Sarum Chase was used as the exterior of her home.
- Glenn Close initially rejected the role of Cruella due to scheduling conflicts with the 1993 stage musical Sunset Boulevard. The producers then offered the role to Sigourney Weaver who also declined. By that time, Close had ended her run on Broadway, and when the producers offered her the role again, she accepted.
- Cathy Moriarty was also considered to play Cruella during pre-production, but was later deemed too scary during a test screening.
- Hugh Grant was originally considered to play Roger before Jeff Daniels was cast as Roger instead.
- The animatronic creatures used in the film are provided by Jim Henson's Creature Shop.
- Cruella's car is a Panther De Ville.
- On top of one of the computer screens in Roger's office is a plush Figment from the Epcot attraction, Journey Into Imagination.
- Also in Roger's office, there is a Thunderbird 3 toy on one of his shelves.
- Both The Aristocats and Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey were referenced as TV programs the puppies were watching before Nanny arrives.
- When Jasper crashes through the floorboards into the billiard room below at the old De Vil Mansion, despite the billiard table that he lands on being a Snooker/English billiards table, there are pool balls on the table for an unknown reason.
- The video game that Roger creates at the end of the movie was actually released under the title Escape from DeVil Manor, where the mine cart was the final level.
- Patch was featured in one of the film's official posters, but never actually appeared in the movie.
- Cruella is referenced numerous times in the 1998 remake of The Parent Trap, which starred Joely's sister, Natasha Richardson. The twins use the name Cruella as a nickname for their father's fiance, Meredith Blake.
- Despite being a live-action remake of 101 Dalmatians, the original 1961 animated versions of Cruella, Pongo and the Dalmatian Puppies make brief cameos in this film as characters in Roger Dearly's Dalmatian-themed video game.
- To date, this film, the direct-to-video The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story, and the sequel 102 Dalmatians are the only live-action adaptations of a Disney animated classic to be designated the same MPAA rating as the original classic, which is G.