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...
When the heavenly whippet looks in Charlie's records, his mother and father are named "Loni" and "Burt", and look like canine versions of Loni Anderson and Burt Reynolds (who were together at the time.) See more »
Before Charlie goes to heaven, his pocket watch strap is red. When Charlie is on the dock right before he gets hit by the car, as Killer is trying to tie the blindfold on a singing Charlie, you see that Charlie's pocket watch strap is blue for that shot, then goes back to red the next. See more »
The credits, featuring a choral symphony, are interrupted by Charlie, who complains that just because "we're all dead doesn't mean the music has to be." The heavenly whippet (Melba Moore, a gospel singer) agrees, and a rollicking gospel rendition begins. A scene featuring Carface and the heavenly whippet shows Carface stealing his own watch as Charlie did, with the whippet chasing him. Charlie appears, and coyly says, "He'll be back", and winks at the camera. See more »
Although Charlie's nightmare about Hell was trimmed in the common cut of the film, a personal director's cut by Don Bluth' included the scene's full length. See more »
When I was a little girl (and my dad owned a video store), this was among my favorite movies. I hadn't heard much about it since then, nor did I really remember anything about it, it having been forgotten in the wake of Don Bluth's other, probably better films. I managed to track it down a few weeks ago, however, and was pleasantly surprised again. Set in New Orleans in the 1930s, the animation is delightful and the songs are memorable. There are a few goofs in continuity if you look hard enough, but they generally don't detract from the storyline, which leaves you smiling (and maybe even a little misty-eyed, if you are a lover of animals). The characters are believable (maybe even a little too grown-up for younger watchers), as well. Two paws up, and for those of you who haven't seen it in a while, definitely worth a re-watch.
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