Doctor Dolittle (1998)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Family, Fantasy  |  26 June 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.3/10 from 69,611 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?


Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock and Gilbert Gottfried all starred in Beverly Hills Cop 2. See more »


When John puts Rodney back on the table after the tiger tries to eat him, Rodney is a different guinea pig. 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 »


Spoofs The Godfather (1972) See more »


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User Reviews

Not half bad and lots of small quirks that will make you smile
25 October 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Doctor Dolittle (1998)

I was surprised to see this movie got such a low rating—it's not so bad. Oh, for sure it's not so great, either. But Eddie Murphy alone makes it something worth watching (he's one of the few perfect-pitch comedians out there). And the story, a 1920 classic for children, is something of its own.

What falls apart is the slightly pushy sentimentalism and the generally mediocre secondary cast. That might be enough to push it into mediocrity, for sure, but it's not meant to be a deep classic, and it plays with the story nicely.

That story is not just about a doctor (of the human type) who can hear animals talking. It's more about how society condemns hims and tries to help him with psycho-care. His bland wife (with the gorgeous eyes that get overplayed) is typical of his "friends," all nice people with distractions and no time for the possibility that he might, in fact, hear animals talk.

The talking animals are of course great fun, from the rats to the tiger. This is the part of the movie that is meant to appeal across the board, and it does, including its good special effects. The feeling of family, not dysfunctional, is another bit of warmth, not to mention that the family is African American, a nice twist on the original story based on an English doctor.

And though the movie was not liked by critics, it has made a third of a billion dollars, which speaks for itself. Not a masterpiece, and not even a classic, it still has wonderful aspects including a very wonderful basic concept.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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