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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic cult classic, but not for the faint-hearted
Anyone who has seen Richard Adams/Martin Rosen's adaptation of Watership Down will know what to expect from The Plague Dogs. You've got superb animation - even more polished and fluid in this case - great voice acting, and at the same time, an unrelenting and at times brutal story, which in The Plague Dogs focuses on the cruelty of mankind, as opposed to nature in...
Published on 22 Oct. 2008 by Ms. J. A. Jacobs

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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't get this edition - get the extended version on region 4
After the popular WATERSHIP DOWN (1978), director co-scripter Martin Rosen waited 4 years until issuing his next project, THE PLAGUE DOGS, an adaption of the considerably darker novel by the same author. This in turn had to wait 2 years before it was finally released. At close to 100 minutes, it is the longest animated feature film to have appeared in the UK so far - and...
Published on 31 Dec. 2006 by Richard Bowden


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic cult classic, but not for the faint-hearted, 22 Oct. 2008
By 
Ms. J. A. Jacobs (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Plague Dogs [DVD] (DVD)
Anyone who has seen Richard Adams/Martin Rosen's adaptation of Watership Down will know what to expect from The Plague Dogs. You've got superb animation - even more polished and fluid in this case - great voice acting, and at the same time, an unrelenting and at times brutal story, which in The Plague Dogs focuses on the cruelty of mankind, as opposed to nature in Watership Down. This is not to say that it's sentimental: like Watership Down, The Plague Dogs presents its story objectively and lets the viewer make up their own mind.

Before I explain the story, I'll make one thing absolutely clear - this film is not for the faint-hearted. Children, animal-lovers and dog-owners alike will probably feel uncomfortable watching this film, for several reasons. And those who have read the book will find the story a couple of shades darker.
However, this is an excellent film and worth watching if you don't flinch from the storyline too much.

The Plague Dogs begins in an animal testing centre in the Lake District. The two protagonists, Rowf, a labrador-cross, and Snitter, a jack russell (voiced by John Hurt), are subjected to experiments out of human curiosity: Rowf is submerged in a tank for as long as he can remain conscious, in order to test canine lung capacity, and Snitter has had brain surgery to determine where the subjective and objective perception of the canine brain begins and ends.
One night, they both escape into the mountains.

This is purely about the animals - we follow Rowf and Snitter on their journey, where they take to attacking sheep to find food, and find friendship in "The Tod", a wily fox, all the while trying to escape from the "whitecoats".
While Snitter is desperate to find them a "master" to look after them, as he used to have, Rowf is bitter towards humans, but at the same time considers that the "whitecoats" are their only masters and perhaps they were right to be tested on in the first place.

The human characters are barely glimpsed, instead portrayed in back-and-forth voice-overs between the scientists and the locals as they try to track the animals down. The fact that Rowf and Snitter are falsely suspected of carrying the plague - a disease secretly being researched at the centre - gives the film its name.

There are several unpleasant sequences in The Plague Dogs, although not always "active" - there is of course the animal testing centre, and a couple of incidences when dogs and humans cross paths.

However, the animation is superb. Like the animated version of Lord of the Rings, no character is ever static on screen, even when they are not the subject of the shot, and there are some wonderful views over the Lake District.

If you are looking for an animated film with a difference I would highly recommend this. But I don't think this is suitable for young children; I would suggest adults watch first before placing their youngsters in front of it, especially since this is the uncut version.
A cult film with an interesting story and intriguing characters, The Plague Dogs in definitely a classic, but it's by no means a children's film.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Warning: you will need at least 5 Disney movies afterwards, 3 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Plague Dogs [DVD] (DVD)
This, as many have stated, is a film for the older audience. Many recall it for it's cruel scenes of animal testing, especially as this is set before the Animal Scientific Procedures Act of 1986, but I feel it handles those themes very well. It doesn't feel like the film is trying to preach or tell you off about it, rather it serves as the spring-board for the characters and their adventure where they find that freedom also has its hardships, especially if you're a domesticated animal who just isn't cut out for living wildly on the moors.

In fact, I found that most things, such as Snitter's hallucinations and the building hunt for the dogs and their very likely end, were done in quite a subtle way and not shoved in your face. With perhaps the exception of that rather infamous shooting scene, but even that's a case of if you blink you've missed a good amount of it.

The animation is very good, the dogs are very well drawn, the characters are done very well and it's an ending which will very likely stick with you rather miserably for a little while. Have something on stand-by to cheer you up right afterwards. Personally I'd probably stop just short of calling it a great movie, but it's certainly a good one and I would recommend a watch of it because this is one of those films which proves that animation isn't just for kids, that it can be grown-up and mature as well.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last... the UNCUT version, 12 Mar. 2008
By 
M.D. Smart (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Plague Dogs [DVD] (DVD)
This is just a brief review to let buyers know that this edition contains the first UK DVD release of the FULL uncut version, which runs 99 minutes and contains 17 minutes of material which was removed for the film's US release in the early 80's. It also contains the 82-minute US cut which has been released on DVD before.

As with the Australian DVD release from a couple of years ago, the original full-length version of the film is in very poor shape; the sound and picture quality are, at best, on a par with my old VHS copy from 1983. This is apparently because only one print of the original version remains, and demand for the film is not high enough to justify a costly restoration job. If you want to see the whole film as it originally appeared in UK cinemas, this is probably as good as you'll ever get. The included 82-minute version is in markedly better condition.

Absurdly, the film still carries a PG certificate, despite being rated as a PG-13 (for the edited version) in the US and MA-15 in Australia. Any parents thinking of buying this for their children should be warned: this is a dark, disturbing tale that contains some highly upsetting scenes and is better suited for a teenage or adult audience.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a kiddie flick., 13 Feb. 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: The Plague Dogs [DVD] (DVD)
Plague Dogs is an animated film. But not every animated film is intended for children. This film pushes its PG rating to the max, and has actually had a scene cut due to it being too horrifying, such as a man shown to be eaten by the dogs. The full film is only available on DVD in Australia I believe.
From the same creators of Watership Down, this is a dark, thought-provoking story of two dogs named Rowf (a labrador) and Snitter (a fox terrier) who are being used in invasive and inhumane animal testing research. The two dogs escape the laboratory, but their problems have only begun. They try to survive in the wild with a help of the "tod" (fox), but find themselves being hunted down by man after killing a sheep for food. The dogs are also said to be carrying to be carrying the plague.
The film could be found to be too preachy and biased about the animal testing debate as it only shows horrific and appalling abuse of the animals, but the original book goes into far more detail about the evils of it, as the film was intended to be more of an adventure story.
Overall, this is not a film for the kids. The PG rating appears harmless, but there is some truly shocking content here that's enough to upset even the hardest of adults. It is a very good film, not as great as Watership Down I found, but still good. Just don't pop it into your child's video player before bedtime.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling tale superby animated, 28 Nov. 2009
By 
Eric Ian Steele (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Plague Dogs [DVD] (DVD)
After "Watership Down", writer-director Martin Rosen and Nepenthe Productions turned their attention to Richard Adams's "The Plague Dogs".

The film has many strengths: wonderful voice-over work, beautiful animation of wild and wintry moorlands, and a compelling story of two tragic dogs who escape from an animal laboratory to find themselves hunted down by an embarassed government. John Hurt gives a wonderful performance as Snitter - the unwilling victim of a brain operation who constantly searches for the "masters", or good humans, who are so different from the "white-coats" who torment them.

Is it as good as "Watership Down"? Well, no. The film suffers from bad editing - scenes are too short and appear disjointed. The print itself is not as good as it could be, and the picture quality is poor in places. The film also lacks the wonderful musical score of "Watership Down" and in some places it really is begging for it. Alan Price does a haunting theme song, but this is underused throughout. I would also have liked to see more of the humans, rather than just hear them talking, as they are so integral to the plot.

So in all, this is a commendable effort to film a controversial and serious story. The characters are wonderful and the ending is quite moving. But it could have been (and still could be with a few remixes) much better.

Oh, and is it for children? Well, "Watership Down" wasn't exactly a typical children's story, with its fascist rabbits and genocidal humans. I recommend you see it for yourselves and then decide.

Remake, anyone?
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just give them a good home!, 23 April 2003
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This review is from: The Plague Dogs [DVD] (DVD)
Plague Dogs is a depressing, powerful tale of Snitter and Rowf, two dogs who escape from a research lab after enduring horrific experiments. As a person who strongly disagrees with any form of animal testing, this film struck a chord with me. It's not a children's film and some scenes are pretty disturbing. It allows the viewer to see the world through the eyes of a laboratory animal and you share the dogs' suffering. Think of the real life Snitters and Rowfs out there and the film is even more powerful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The edited version is still good and the extended version only for purists, 21 May 2007
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This review is from: The Plague Dogs [1982] [DVD] (DVD)
Of course, I've seen the Extended Version, and for a purist it's the only version to have. Missing from the US cut (this version) are the captions which keep a tally of how many days it is since the dogs escaped and about twenty minutes of footage which, while thoroughly enjoyable, isn't ESSENTIAL to the story (except maybe the moment when a body is discovered that was clearly eaten by the dogs).

The point I'm trying to make is that, even in its truncated form, this is an outstanding film which will make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck and fill you with a leaden, depressed feeling and make you question the structure of modern human society. This might not sound like an endorsement, but this IS a very sad film. Please buy it and watch it, though, as it's also one of the finest films ever made, not least because Martin Rosen pursued the truth of the story at the expense of popularist devices, a move which amounted to career suicide for him, as he rarely directed again. This was brave in the extreme, and gives it an integrity which shines through every disturbing minute.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brave, poignant, important - a must-see film, 8 May 2004
By 
Amazon Customer "hamble" (somewhere in west europe) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Plague Dogs [DVD] (DVD)
'the plague dogs' must rank as the most depressing animation every produced. the story concerns two dogs who escape from the laboratory where they are undergoing experimentation, only to discover that the outside world is no less horrific.
as a previous reviewer has noted, the ending - which is different from the novel's - is an improvement. in the novel, the two dogs come to their journey's end, chased into the sea by the army who have been sent to kill them, and are plucked from certain death by the most unlikely of deus ex machinae. in the film the ending is more ambiguous, and all the more poignant for it. if you don't shed a tear at this point you are made of stone.
this is a very brave, serious film. don't think you'll be two cute getting wise-cracking disney dogs. but it IS an important movie. i urge you to watch it. if nothing else it will make you think, and in these cynical days that's something worthwhile.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't get this edition - get the extended version on region 4, 31 Dec. 2006
This review is from: The Plague Dogs [1982] [DVD] (DVD)
After the popular WATERSHIP DOWN (1978), director co-scripter Martin Rosen waited 4 years until issuing his next project, THE PLAGUE DOGS, an adaption of the considerably darker novel by the same author. This in turn had to wait 2 years before it was finally released. At close to 100 minutes, it is the longest animated feature film to have appeared in the UK so far - and arguably, along with ANIMAL FARM (1954) and Wallace & Gromit, the most significant. It continued the faithful representation of Richard Adams' unsentimental anthropomorphism on screen to sometime disturbing effect, again featuring the distinctive voice talent of John Hurt, together with contributions from the like of James Bolam, Nigel Hawthorne, Bernard Hepton, Christopher Benjamin, etc.

Considerably cut, one imagines against the director's wishes, for the UK and elsewhere, presumably to make it more acceptable for the junior market, PD is apparently only available at home in the truncated version - either on its own or, bizarrely, doubled with an inferior animated version of Flash Gordon.

Those who go to the trouble of seeking out the extended cut (issued for instance in Australia, coupled with the shorter cut for fascinating comparison) will be well rewarded. The extra 17 minutes or so unsuprisingly bring with them a more complex, adult, and satisfying film, restoring nuances here and there, as well as removing the opening song, confirming PD as a major achievement - and one still scandalously treated in its country of origin. The condition of the extended version is not pristine, having been retrieved from the director's sole surviving print, but is perfectly acceptable. Rosen never did anything much of note again, only being credited with one more title on IMDb, STACKING (1987), a nondescript live action feature.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, 23 May 2013
This review is from: Plague Dogs [DVD] (DVD)
A sad and moving film experience would describe this film -After reading the book - i found this film- I wont go over the plot again, as that has been covered,in depth, by others ( I would urge you to read the book)

even though this is an unsettling film, it has a grimm beauty about it and i would urge you to see it- it is a sort of dog version of "thelma and louise" in some respects.

The main message i took from it was one of loyalty and friendship against all the odds, in this sometimes cruel world.

Only the hardest heart will not feel a bit weepy whilst watching this film-and as a dog lover, at times its heart breaking- but dont let this stop you - its an unsung classic.

The finale must be up there with the best...and saddest
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Plague Dogs [DVD]
Plague Dogs [DVD] by Martin Rosen (DVD - 2008)
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