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  • Why Dogs Smile and Chimpanzees Cry
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Why Dogs Smile and Chimpanzees Cry


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Product Details

  • Actors: Sigourney Weaver
  • Directors: Carol L. Fleisher
  • Writers: Carol L. Fleisher, Paula Deats
  • Producers: Carol L. Fleisher, David Grabias, Mark S. Hoover
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Family Home Ent
  • DVD Release Date: April 11, 2000
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004R991
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,909 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Why Dogs Smile and Chimpanzees Cry" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Narrated by Sigourney Weaver

Editorial Reviews

Do animals feel the same emotions as human beings? While many animals seem to exhibit outward signs of happiness, anger, or fear, do they actually feel joy or sorrow, or is this merely our interpretation of other behaviors? And do they possess more complex feelings such as love or jealousy? The documentary Why Dogs Smile and Chimpanzees Cry takes a look at the emotional life of animals, and attempts to offer an informed answer to these and other questions about the internal life of our four-footed friends. Why Dogs Smile and Chimpanzees Cry was produced for the cable television network The Discovery Channel and was narrated by Sigourney Weaver.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 13 customer reviews
I first saw this on the Discovery Channel and I am thrilled I am going to be able to own it!!!
Giovanna
While I'm glad that there is now a body of scientific work on this subject, many of us don't need science to understand that many species experience emotions as we do.
E. Karasik
As a student of veterinary science, I am proud to say this is one of the greatest pieces in my collection.
Shelly Ponch

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Alejandra Vernon HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 15, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
This is a fascinating, and often quite moving documentary showing the emotional kinship between man and his fellow mammals. The film footage is remarkable, starting with the basic emotions that pertain to survival, "fear, aggression, and the urge to procreate", and then moves on to the more subtle feelings of joy, compassion, grief, loyalty, and even depression.
The caring of one another in animal societies is extraordinary, and shows the bonds of friendship between species of primates, meerkats, wolves, and many more.
The section on maternal love is wonderful, with one exceptional segment by wildlife photographer Martyn Colbeck who follows a herd of elephants, and captures the tremendous patience and devotion exhibited towards a recently born calf as he struggles to walk. There are many instances of incredible sacrifice, including the story of a dog who saves a young boy.
It shows how rescue dogs can show signs of depression, and rats who laugh when they are tickled. I love the chimp who is looking at Gourmet Magazine, and points to pictures of pastries and signs "sweet".
As Dr. Roger Fouts of the Chimpanzee Human Communication Institute says, the difference between us and other animals is "one of degree, and not of kind".
Produced, written and directed by Carol Fleisher, and calmly and carefully narrated by Sigourney Weaver, viewing this documentary is time well spent; it is informative as well as entertaining, but parents of young children should realize that though there is plenty of fun and frolic, it is far from being a cute animal film, and there are scenes of violence and tragedy. Total running time is 95 minutes.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By sirentonga on October 4, 2003
Format: DVD
This film is a landmark in blending science and advocacy. It seeks to assert that animals lead complex and sophisticated emotional lives, not unlike our own. But it manages to walk the fine line between subjectivity and objectivity. It avoids going too far into the subjective. It doesn't try to emotionally blackmail the viewer with mere cute/stagey displays of animal interaction. Instead it relies heavily on scientific observation in both natural and controlled environments. But by the sheer genious of editing and writing, one cannot help but be drawn into the lives of these noble creatures just as one would a good drama. The movie wisely lets the animals' behavior "do the talking", and doesn't try to push the viewers' judgement one way or the other. It left me rethinking everything I had assumed about animals, emotions, and the nature of our (and by 'our' I mean all of God's creatures) existence.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Miller on September 29, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
This movie shows how closely related we humans are to mammals with scientific research and observation. It gives wonderful descriptions and examples of the differences between reptilian brains and mammillian brains. It is truly incomprehensible that some think that animals (mammals other than human) are not capable of such emotions as love, compassion, anger, loyalty, remorse, etc. At the end of the movie I was questioning if humans are de-evolving to reptile brains due to our parenting of our own offspring (or lack of parenting). Wonderful movie. I highly recommend it for all ages.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By E. Karasik on September 30, 2005
Format: DVD
Despite the fact that I think it's ridiculous to structure a film around the question of whether non-human beings experience emotions (only a species as arrogant and detached from nature as ours could even conceive of such a question), this film was extremely worthwhile. There were some interesting points, for instance: human anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications probably work on dogs because their brains are reasonably similar to ours; and fear is probably "the" universal emotion because it leads to survival-enhancing behavior. The footage on octopi, dogs, sea lions, rhesus monkeys, dolphins, elephants, and wolves, among other species, was beautiful to watch and often incredibly moving. While I'm glad that there is now a body of scientific work on this subject, many of us don't need science to understand that many species experience emotions as we do. Konrad Lorenz, though he was a fine scientist, was probably not relying on research when he said: "The fidelity of a dog is a precious gift demanding no less binding moral responsibilities than the friendship of a human being. The bond with a true dog is as lasting as the ties of this earth can ever be."
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Shelly Ponch on March 10, 2005
Format: DVD
I first saw this documentary on the Discovery Channel. I bought it thinking it would be good to have, being as though I'm preparing for veterinary school. As a student of veterinary science, I am proud to say this is one of the greatest pieces in my collection. The subject of animal behavior has always fascinated me, and this documentary was a delicious helping for my always eager appetite. If you love animals, you will love this. Once you watch it, you will see how closely related humans and animals really are, and you'll understand some of their behaviors better. This documentary has proven helpful in research reports and papers, and is an excellent resource for any project. Go get it!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 20, 2001
Format: DVD
The first time I saw this on television I didn't know what the name of the show was. I was hooked on the elephant segment where the calf was trying to walk. What a tearjerker!!! I have been searching for the longest time, trying to find it...and I finally have. Thanks to whoever decided to release this to the public. :)
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