7.1/10
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White Dog (1982)

PG | | Drama | 7 July 1982 (France)
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A trainer attempts to retrain a vicious dog that's been raised to attack black people.

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

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Julie Sawyer
Christa Lang ... Nurse
Vernon Weddle ... Vet
... Roland Grale
Karl Lewis Miller ... Attacker
... Sun Bather
... Pound Operator (as Helen J. Siff)
Glen Garner ... Pound Worker (as Glen D. Garner)
... Pound Driver
... Sweeper Driver
... Charlie Felton
... Director
... Cameraman
Richard Monahan ... Assistant Director
... Soundman
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Storyline

Deprogramming a dog who kills Blacks is the ultimate challenge for an unorthodox African-American trainer. When a young Hollywood actress finds the injured stray, she nurses it back to health, not knowing it's a "White Dog" trained by a racist to attack only Blacks. Julie's appalled when the otherwise gentle, white German Shepherd breaks out, then returns from his nighttime foray dotted with human blood. Julie desperately races from trainer to trainer, advised to kill her pet, until the top Hollywood canine expert refers her to his former protégé, Keys. Written by David Stevens

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

When man's best friend becomes his fiercest enemy... See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 July 1982 (France)  »

Also Known As:

A fehér kutya  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The picture was frequently criticized and protested against by various civil-rights leaders and such lobby groups as the Black Anti-Defamation Coalition (BADC) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). See more »

Goofs

When Julie Sawyer first takes the dog to the animal training center, Carruthers is on the phone but tells her to sit down. To his right, almost out of frame, you can see some fingers moving. Most likely the dog's trainer making signs. See more »

Quotes

Roland Gray: You got a four-legged time bomb!
See more »

Connections

References Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The true horror of racism, told through a dog.
27 June 2006 | by See all my reviews

White Dog is often mentioned on lists of all-time most controversial films, and there's a good reason for that. Samuel Fuller's film is controversial because it confronts the theme of racism head on, and succeeds where modern films such as 'Crash' fail in that it actually makes you think. Rather than actually being 'about' racism, White Dog tells a story and lets the themes flow; thus meaning that the audience is allowed to see the themes shining through, rather than being beaten over the head with them. The film is really clever and is based on a premise that isn't immediately obvious. In fact, if it wasn't for a series of little niggles; this film would be an absolute masterpiece. The problems with the film are largely down to the execution, as Samuel Fuller uses too many close-up shots; and the scenes where the title animal attacks in particular suffer from poor editing, which means that it's sometimes difficult to tell exactly what's going on and most of the time gave me a headache. Furthermore, the plot doesn't move particularly well and the film can seem like it isn't going anywhere at times.

It's a good job, then, that Fuller utilises his themes so well. Racism isn't a subject that interests me generally (mostly because of tacky, sentimental dross like Crash), but the plot here is used in such a way that it's impossible not to be taken in by it. We follow a young aspiring actress that accidentally runs a dog over. After becoming attached to it, she decides to take it in; but pretty soon the dog attacks someone, and she finds out that aside from being a white dog, it's also a 'White Dog'; a dog used by white people to kill blacks. The main reason why this film is so good is down to the title animal. Here we have an entity that is entirely innocent of its crimes; the guilty party being the racist that trained him. By letting us see what the dog is capable of, but making sure we know that the dog is only doing what it has been programmed to do ensures that the true horror of racism is allowed to shine through; as well as the futility of hatred down to skin colour. Films like White Dog are few and far between; here we have a movie that dares to tell a story despite its implications, and a movie that forces its audience to think about their own prejudices. It's just sad that we live in a world where films like Crash win Oscars while films like White Dog are banished into obscurity. Highly recommended!


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