Starring Charles Grodin, Bonnie Hunt. (U)


A fluffy dog story that’s as innocent as the Disney family comedies of the sixties, this has lots of laughs as dad George (Grodin) reluctantly allows his kids to keep the lost puppy they have found, only for it to grow to be a 200-pound, slobbering St Bernard. There’s a villain – former Herbie star Dean Jones in a rare bad-guy role – a veterinarian who wants Beethoven to be part of his animal experiments, but really it’s all about the dog, played by a real mutt, a guy in a dog suit and an animatronic puppet.

Watch out for Oliver Platt and Stanley Tucci, hilarious as two inept dog-nappers, and The X Files’ David Duchovny in a supporting role. The film was such a hit with families, it spawned four sequels (Beethoven’s 2nd, in which he becomes a dad, Beethoven’s 3rd etc) and an animated TV series. 

Star Star Star


Young children may be upset by the dognappers’ treatment of the dogs. There are no truly scary scenes, though.

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Very Good