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Doctor Dolittle (1998)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Family, Fantasy  |  26 June 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.3/10 from 68,655 users   Metascore: 46/100
Reviews: 99 user | 73 critic | 20 from

A Doctor finds out that he can understand what animals are saying. And the animals find out that he understands.



(stories), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeremy (as Erik Todd Dellums)
Cherie Franklin ...


Dr. John Dolittle has the world in his hands: A beautiful wife at his side, two adorable daughters and a career that could not go better. One night, he nearly runs over a dog with his car. The dog yells "bonehead" and disappears. From then on, his childhood ability is back: To communicate with animals. Unfortunately, the word of Dolittle's ability is spreading quickly. Soon, many animals from rat to horse flock to his place to get medical advice. But his colleagues suspect he's going mad, and as the clinic Dolittle used to work for is about to being taken over for a huge amount of money, many decisions have to be made. Believe him? Put him into a mental institution? Sell the clinic? But also his family is close to breaking apart. Until a circus tiger falls seriously ill. Written by Julian Reischl <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


For thousands of year animals have been trying to tell us something, but their cries have fallen on deaf ears...until they found John Dolittle See more »


Comedy | Family | Fantasy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for crude humor and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

26 June 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dr. Dolittle  »

Box Office


$71,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$29,014,324 (USA) (26 June 1998)


$144,156,464 (USA) (8 January 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Howard Stern was offered the chance to voice a hamster but turned it down. See more »


After John removes the stick from the owl's wing, it flies away with a sound of her wings flapping. Owls are famously silent fliers. See more »


[first lines]
Lucky: [narrating] You know, they say the great thing about being a kid is, it's so easy to pretend. You can have a conversation with your dog or a baseball or a banana. Well, what if wasn't pretend? What if you could have a conversation. I mean, not with a baseball or a banana - that's ridiculous, but - but with your dog?
See more »


Followed by Dr. Dolittle 3 (2006) See more »


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User Reviews

Not great, but personally, I found it funnier than I thought I would
19 August 2007 | by (Guelph, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

This version of "Doctor Dolittle" came into stores back when I was twelve years old, which was when I first saw it. I think I liked it a lot at the time, and watched it again a few months later. After many years, I just decided to check it out again. Since I'm obviously not as easily amused as I was when I was twelve, and was aware that it generally wasn't considered that great, I didn't have very high expectations. Afterwards, however, I certainly can't say that I think it's as bad as some do.

During his childhood, John Dolittle talks to animals. It seems that he can understand them, and they can understand him, but when his dad sees this, he thinks it's ridiculous. After John's dog is taken away, he is obviously not happy, and stops talking to animals for a long time. When he grows up, he becomes a physician, and has a wife and two daughters. It seems that Dr. Dolittle's communication with animals is long gone, but one night, after he nearly runs over a dog on the road, he hears it say something! Now, his childhood ability has come back, and soon, he finds many different types of creatures following him around! How will people be able to believe that he actually has this remarkable gift, and that it's not just a mental illness, as one would probably assume?!

As you would probably expect, this movie has its fair share of lame jokes (such as a rat farting), and like you've probably already heard, the movie would overall appeal more to kids than anyone else. However, certainly not all of the gags are lame. During my most recent viewing, I wouldn't have been surprised if I had kept a straight face through the entire thing, but that's not what happened. I found no huge laughs in the film, but there were several times when I smiled and snickered. I also found that the story gets suspenseful to some degree towards the end. Eddie Murphy's performance is also a highlight. Some of the voice-overs for the animals are silly, maybe the majority of them, but this isn't much of a problem.

For kids, this movie could be very funny, though it is somewhat crude at times, remember the PG-13 rating. So, I don't know how appropriate for kids it is (that's for parents to decide). For adults, and probably adolescents, this version of "Doctor Dolittle" is certainly nothing special. It could be mildly amusing, if you don't mind extreme silliness and crude toilet humour, but there's probably also a fair chance that you would find it absolutely revolting (I think some clearly have). Without a doubt, this movie is pretty cheesy, and skipping it wouldn't be a great loss for most people, but it's certainly not one that I advise everyone to avoid at all costs (though that would probably be a good idea for some people).

9 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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