21 user 26 critic

A Dog of Flanders (1999)

PG | | Family, Drama | 27 August 1999 (USA)
Poor but happy, young Nello and his grandfather live alone, delivering milk as a livelihood, in the outskirts of Antwerp, a city in Flanders (the Flemish or Dutch-speaking part of ... See full summary »



(story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Young Aloise (as Madyline Sweeten)
Deborah Pollitt ...
Mary Daas (as Deborah Pollit)
Dirk Lavryssen ...
Peter Paul Rubens (as Dirk Lavrysen)
Michel Vanderlinden ...


Poor but happy, young Nello and his grandfather live alone, delivering milk as a livelihood, in the outskirts of Antwerp, a city in Flanders (the Flemish or Dutch-speaking part of modern-day Belgium). They discover a beaten dog (a Bouvier, a large sturdy dog native to Flanders) and adopt it and nurse it back to health, naming it Patrasche, the middle name of Nello's mother Mary, who died when Nello was very young. Nello's mother was a talented artist, and like his mother, he delights in drawing, and his friend Aloise is his model and greatest fan and supporter. Written by Martin Lewison <mlewison@utk.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It's not where you come from. It's where you're going.


Family | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for one scene of mild violence, mild language and thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

27 August 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Força de Um Sonho  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$807,873, 29 August 1999, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$2,148,212, 26 September 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Cheryl Ladd's ex-husband, David Ladd, played the part of Nello in a previous film adaptation of A Dog of Flanders (1960). See more »


Just before we see the traveling circus camp, Eloise's hair has braids in it. They disappear after she gets up and makes her way to the camp. See more »


Nicholas Cogez: Aloise, come on. Your mother's been looking for you.
Young Aloise: Coming Papa.
Nicholas Cogez: [upong seeing Aloise] Look at you! Who's been painting your face, love?
Young Nello: Good evening, Master Cogez.
Nicholas Cogez: William. Nello. Say buh-bye William
Young Aloise: Buh bye, William
Nicholas Cogez: Say buh bye Nello.
Young Aloise: Buh bye, Nello.
Nicholas Cogez: Buh bye.
Young Nello: Bye Aloise!
See more »


Referenced in Patrasche: A Dog of Flanders, Made in Japan (2007) See more »


If I Could
EMI Blackwood Music, Sony & Warner Chappell (as Warner Chapel)
Lyrics by Ron Miller
Music by Kenny Hirsch & Marti Sharron
Produced & Arranged Stu Goldberg
Performed by Elizabeth Lauren
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User Reviews

Very good family film
23 October 2008 | by See all my reviews

During a terrible winter storm, Mary is dying and must see that her baby Nello is taken care of. She leaves him with his grandfather Jehan, who is poor but loving.

Several years later, Nello is old enough to help Jehan with his milk deliveries in Antwerp. The two have little money and must strive to stay one step ahead of the evil landlord. But they are happy with their lives. It's quite unusual to see a young boy work hard and demand little without complaining. Nello considers William the Blacksmith to be a friend.

On one of his deliveries, Nello sees "a dog of Flanders" who appears to be dead. He is not, but we saw the dog being beaten by its cruel owner (for parents, I should point out the dog is not visible during the beating, but it is obvious what is going on). Nello revives the dog and takes him home.

Nello's mother was a talented artist, and Nello has inherited his mother's ability. Years later, Nello considers his neighbor Aloise Cogez not just a pretty model for his drawings, but also a potential girlfriend. Aloise's father Nicholas will not accept his daughter having anything to do with a poor boy; Nicholas grew up the poor son of a tinker but worked hard building the farm of his wife Anna into a successful business that by this time includes a mill. Anna is more willing to accept Nello but feels she must obey her husband.

The former owner of the dog recognizes the animal he abandoned and demands his return. Nello will not do it, which results in a fight that some children might find disturbing.

Artist Michel LeGrand believes Nello has the ability to become a great painter, and he teaches Nello what he needs to know. Eventually, Nello decides to enter a contest which will help him pay his mounting bills. The death of his grandfather leaves him with no family and no other means of income other than his art (although he is still able to deliver milk, supposedly).

This is a very good family film. Most of the leading performers do a good job. There is a minimum of offensive content. Most importantly, the movie teaches lessons about determination and hard work, and being happy regardless of your situation. Not that hard work always leads to rewards, but that just makes determination that much more important.

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