An animated adventure based on the true story of a dog that was highly decorated during World War I, this is a fascinating, heart-warming and enjoyably educational movie that’s a great, moving introduction to the War To End All Wars for younger children. And it will have older kids and adults sobbing in a soggy heap by the end, too.
In search of some sausages, stray dog Stubby wanders onto the training grounds of an US infantry regiment getting ready to ship out to Europe to help the English and French defeat the Germans. Befriended by soldier Robert Conroy (Lerman), Stubby ends up stowing away on board the ship and winning the hearts of Conroy’s superiors by showing his skill in the trenches – sniffing out buried soldiers, warning of artillery attacks, hunting the enemy and even saving a French village by warning the residents of a mustard gas attack.
Young viewers will instantly fall in love with Stubby – thankfully the animators have not given Stubby any human traits or a voice, they’ve kept him as realistic as a cute and cuddly animated pooch could be – while older viewers will enjoy the story and the addition of Gerard Depardieu as a war-weary French soldier who befriends Conroy and the pup.
There are some moments that will upset younger viewers and are quite harrowing (see notes below) but in the end this is an adorable dog tale that is made even more fascinating because it is true. (Stay to the end credits and you’ll see photos of the real Stubby – the most decorated dog in US military history).
Is Sgt Stubby: An Unlikely Hero suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This is a PG certificate and is aimed at school age children. There are various scenes parents should be aware of however, as listed below.
This list contains SPOILERS:
Stubby is wounded and when he is taken away in a truck, viewers may become upset.
One of the soldiers becomes very ill and it looks like he may die (he doesn’t)
There are battle scenes, showing the soldiers climb out of the trenches, which are dark and could be upsetting.
There is a scene in which mustard gas is set off and clouds over a village. This may be frightening for young viewers, especially as villagers run inside and Stubby is there.
There are also scenes showing soldiers buried in rubble, and the final push on the last day of the war may scare young viewers.
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