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Benji

3.9 out of 5 stars 140 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

A doctor's two children bring home a stray shaggy dog who later saves them from kidnappers.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Breck, Deborah Walley, Patsy Garrett, Allen Fiuzat, Cynthia Smith
  • Directors: Joe Camp
  • Writers: Joe Camp
  • Producers: Joe Camp, Ben Vaughn, Ed Vanston, Erwin Hearne
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    G
    General Audience
  • Studio: Gaiam - Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 17, 2004
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (140 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002H3S6O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,249 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Benji" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 3, 2004
Format: DVD
I have wanted to review this 1973 family classic for a very long time now, but it has been extraordinarily difficult to review something and someone who was a truly vital part of my childhood. Some of my earliest memories are of this loveable little dog. When the 25th anniversary edition of the film came out in 1998, I finally had the chance to reacquaint myself with my dear old friend, and it was a truly moving experience. All these years later, Benji remains the ultimate family movie experience. It can be quite a sad and touching experience, as well, and my emotional attachment to it has kept me from reviewing it for far too long already. The children (and adults) of every generation need to be acquainted with this film; Benji is the great American dog who has rightly been called America's Most Huggable Hero. I absolutely treasure this film from my childhood, and I want all children to feel the love this movie expresses and epitomizes.
The story of this movie is almost as extraordinary as the film itself. Everybody laughed at Joe Camp when he described the movie he wanted to make. This man who had never even made a movie or worked with animals before was committed to writing, producing, and directing a film told from the viewpoint of a dog. There would be no dubbed voices telling the audience what the dog was thinking; the dog himself would communicate his feelings through his demeanor and facial expressions. Even Frank Inn, Benji's owner, thought the idea was crazy when Camp came to him looking for a dog who could act. It just so happened, though, that Camp spotted Benji and immediately knew he had found his star. Benji was already an older dog who had retired from a distinguished seven-year career on the television show Petticoat Junction.
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2 Comments 51 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
I watched this film last night for the first time since I was a child. Move over, CITIZEN KANE--this film should be number one on AFI's Greatest Films of All Time List! I bawled when little independent Benji was trying to communicate with the police that he knew where the kidnapped children were being held hostage. He worked his furry butt off trying to rescue them!

Especially moving is the scene in which Benji finally figures out how to get the attention of the police and family and makes a mad dash over there. All the while, these flashbacks and connections loop through his canine brain: the bound children, his lady dog friend being kicked by one of the sinister kidnappers, the menace of handguns, etc. This is where I just couldn't stop crying. This movie is more than just a cute kids' film--it's a paean to the loyalty and love of dogs everywhere!

ROCK ON, BENJI!

P.S. Includes an Oscar -worthy performance from Frances Bavier of Aunt Bee (THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW) fame
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Format: DVD
I grew up watching this movie. And as long as I can remember, it has given me such a comfort throughout my trials medically and emotionally as a child. Although some of the content may "scare" young children, it had more of a positive effect on me. All kids are different so I would reccomend that the parent or guardian watch the movie first before you let your child.

Anyway, watch the movie with an open mind and let you decide yourself if it's worth seeing again. :)
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Others have written reviews for the movie itself. I'll say briefly that it's a good, clean, G-rated family film, and if you grew up in the 1970s you'll remember the look and feel of small town America, the cars, styles and mannerisms of people from that period. The story's pacing is slow by today's standards, almost boring, and the acting is so bad that the dog is the only character in the film who's convincing, but all that be darned, it's still a good movie.

"Benji" was a cultural phenomenon in its day. Made on a shoestring budget by an independent filmmaker, the movie grossed almost $40 million domestically. It was theatrically released in 1974 in a 1:85.1 aspect ratio. The theme song, "I Feel Loved," sun by Charlie Rich, was nominated for an Oscar. For years afterward it was shown on TV as an afterschool movie. Two or three sequels were made, though none captured the magic of the original.

Given this movie's impressive history, I expected much from the Blu-Ray edition. I've watched Blu-Ray recordings of other movies from the 1970s that were every bit as sharp and colorful as movies on the big screen today and hoped "Benji" would have gotten the white glove treatment here. Sadly, it didn't. The video is cropped to 4:3 aspect ratio, the image quality is mediocre at best and the colors are washed out. The DVD version of this movie probably looks every bit as good as the Blu-Ray. I've attached a few snapshots from my PC to demonstrate the poor sharpness and color saturation.

Maybe Joe Camp is holding out for Lucasfilm to digitally restore the movie and add in some CG dogs, but as it stands today I could not recommend this Blu-Ray for anyone wanting a high quality version of this beloved classic. Get the DVD and save a buck or two, and hope for a re-release some day.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
I remember watching this movie in theater. This was a great family friendly movie, written at a time when filmmakers and script writers knew how to produce a story that did not involve extreme violence, gutteral language, or sex. This is how movies might still be produced today if not for the big companies getting greedy and not wanting to pay script authors what they're fully worth.

My only main, and major gripe with this release, is it's not the theatrical release. It's the one that was cropped down to pan and scan 4:3 aspect ratio for old school television. It would have been awesome to have been able to enjoy the actual theatrical aspect ratio this great movie was shot it. There are so many wonderful reactive details that were happening near the edges of the frame that we're being deprived of in this 4:3 version. That's the only reason I rated it 4 stars instead of 5.

The music is to die for! Very moving, and well scored with multiple genres to please a wide audience.

The story script is just so much fun. Captivating, tear-jerking at times, even a tad frightning to the point of puttig you on the edge of your seat, yet there's nothing that would gross anyone out, nothing that would disturb or upset anyone. It's fun, and family friendly, and I'd really love to see a return to this kind of story telling. It's long past time for a return to quality entertainment of this type.

At least this version is available, which I suppose is better than nothing. AUTHOR: Please give us the full theatrical aspect ratio release.
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