A canine angel, Charlie, sneaks back to earth from heaven but ends up befriending an orphan girl who can speak to animals. In the process, Charlie learns that friendship is the most heavenly gift of all.
Charlie B. Barkin (Burt Reynolds), a rascally German Shepherd with a shady past, breaks out of the New Orleans Dog Pound with the help of his faithful friend Itchy (Dom De Luise), a nervously hyperactive dachshund. He then makes tracks to reunite with his gambling casino partner Carface Malone (Vic Tayback), a shifty pitbull who has planned a dastardly, and potentially deadly, double cross. Suddenly, Charlie finds himself at the Pearly Gates, face to face with the Heavenly Whippet (Melba Moore). Charlie weasels his way back to earth and reunites with Itchy. He plots his revenge against Carface and, along the way, acquires help from a little girl named Anne-Marie (who can talk to animals). After a series of fiendish schemes, close scrapes and unexpected adventures, both Charlie and Anne Marie find their lives at stake. Only one can be saved and the outcome is in Charlie's paws...
Bluth's most haunting, unusual, and powerfully poignant film.
I loved this film when I was little. Today at 17 it is one of my all time favorite animated films. Beautiful animation and appealing characters are just two of the things to like about this film. Although many people might not enjoy some of the songs, most of them are well-done and go along with the story. It focuses on Charlie, a roguish handsome German Shepard who may seem unlikable to some at first... but eventually will win you over.
Not a kiddie film by any means. Often very dark and frightening at times. A treat for Don Bluth fans and animation buffs. But do keep a tissue in handy. ADGTH never fails to make me cry and will do the same for those who are movie sensitive. Arguably one of the greatest non-Disney animated films of all time. Along with Watership Down and My Neighbor Totoro.
BOTTOM LINE: A heavenly masterpiece.
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