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4.2 out of 5 stars31
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 7 July 2011
White Dog is not an easy film to sit through and it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way for a simple reason; it hits close to home. Racism did exist back then just like it does now and the film strips the idea of racism down to its simplest, by showing it for what it is; fear. And what clearer way to demonstrate this but centering the film around a dog who was raised to fear and attack black people on sight.

Kristy McNicol has a natural, easy-going screen presence and delivers a solid performance as an actress whose adopted stray turns out to attack people. She is appalled when her loving, good-natured German Shepherd disappears and comes back stained with blood. When she takes him to a trainer to be rehabilitated, she learns that he doesn't attack just anyone, only black people. Since pupphyhood, the dog was habitually beaten and taught to associate black people with being attacked, until he attacks any black person on sight, before they get him. This is racism stripped to its barest; fear, taught to us, handed down by those we learn from. But can a simple creature like this dog be taught to overcome his fear? That's the task that the trainer, played by Paul Winfield, is set with. If he can cure this dog of his racism, then why can't people?

White Dog was controversial on its release, in fact some people insisted on branding it as a racist movie. There is nothing racist about it, except that it exposes the tumour in our society that is racism and what it essentially is. Things like this really have happened, racists trained their dogs to perform these terrible acts. White Dog is clever because the subject of racism isn't beaten over the viewer's head. The dog is the perfect demonstration of this. Here is a creature completely innocent of his terrible crimes, the guilty party being those who trained him. White Dog isn't afraid to take us along for the ride and show us what exactly this fear-ridden dog does, and we know that he only does these things because he's been programmed to do so, showcasing the true, subtle horror of racism. It's a graphic, tough movie that isn't easy to sit through, but it's an important film that should be appreciated, not feared. It's a sad thing that White Dog was so shunned because people branded it as a racist movie, thus showcasing prejudice of their own. What irony.

Even with its low budget, White Dog delivers the punches, and while it doesn't look like a polished film, it somehow works much better because of this. The performances all around are stellar. Outshining all, though, is the main character, the dog himself. It's downright unreal to witness an animal acting like that. Sad but sobering, White Dog is an intelligent film that you will walk away from fresher and more alert.
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on 7 January 2016
Better than I remember! I saw this many many years ago. Not sure if this is the version I saw. Either way, I found the movie to be fascinating with a touchy subject matter (racism through a trained dog!). And, one that I never knew of. It certainly opened my eyes as it has to everyone else I know who has watched this. It will definitely get conversation going after viewing it.

The acting is very good except for the lead actress (Kristy McNichol). She is totally miscast. However, this is one of those rare ocassions where the movie and story line overshadows the acting. The video on the DVD is good as is the audio. The Bluray video and audio is a nice upgrade. Included is an informative booklet which sheds light on the movie, director, etc.This is Region B locked.

I can't recommend this movie enough! Enjoy!
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on 25 March 2016
Another one of the Masters of Cinema serie, with a DVD and Blueray disk. The quality of both is bonus material, except a 40 page booklet. Fuller is one of my favorite directors, with the ability to get across his message in the limits of his often limited budgets. French author Romain Gary 's book was used as the basis of the story, although the film takes the idea of training dogs to attack people of a certain color in a different direction at the end. Apparently, the subject of racism wasn't the cup of tea for 1970's America, and this film ended up in the drawer.....too bad.....sometimes we should look in the mirror, and see if WE have a bit of White Dog in us, too. Then, if we see it, let's correct it and try to make the world a Better place.
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on 6 April 2014
This and Shock Corridor, I can happily say I'm a fan of this Samuel Fuller fella. A White Dog is a dog that has been trained to attack Black people and trainer, Keys (Paul Winfield) wants to cure a beautiful white German Shepard of its sickness. It’s instantly apparent why this is one of the most controversial American films of the 1980's as it goes for the jugular of racism, an issue that has rarely been attacked in cinema so aggressively.

An intense film at the best of times, White Dog is at its most unbearable in the sequences where Keys is training the dog with a full body protective suit and the longer he spends with the dog the more of the suit he takes off. There’s a visceral quality to the film that depicts this sick dog as a monster, a menace that wouldn't seem out of place in a slasher film. A theory that is validated by the camera work. In the scenes before the dog reveals its blood thirst the camera tracks behind him like John Carpenter did with Michael Myers in Halloween. Quietly observing this white dog stalk pray only to appear later with his fur covered in blood. Fuller knows what to show and what not to show. And when he does show the dog attacks, he does so to reveal just how deep the dog’s hate goes.

He who elevates White Dog from a timely rally against racism to a film that connects beyond that surface discomfort is Paul Winfield. His performance as the animal trainer Keys is psychical and impassioned, there’s a fierce determination in his eyes that makes you believe in him even when the dog kills. Many would have the dog put down, it’s a great testament to his (and to a lesser extent Kristy McNichol (Julie)) presence that you believe in his ability to achieve the impossible.

White Dog is incredibly intense film-making from Samuel Fuller and one of the great overlooked American films. And its not dated a day either, just as challenging a film then as it is now.
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on 12 August 2014
this is a powerful film that handles the subject a racism far better than most. It is heartbreaking to watch this innocent dog
that has been abused and brainwashed to hate black people. The fact that curing this dog of racism would be the
biggest weapon against those that train these dogs really gets you thinking.I really don't know how anyone can brand
this film as racist as the films sole purpose is to remove that hate from the dog.
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on 18 January 2009
This film has to be the MOST UNDERRATED film of alll time. It is absolutely brilliant and if people were,nt so blinkered in their out look of ths subject matter then maybe it might get the appreciation it so wholly deserves. Paul Winfield is the guy in the film who try,s to get the seed of evil out of the dogs brain, [ he is a black guy trying to teach a dog taught to attack black people , to be normal again] Just watch it and see how good and also how sensitively it handles the subject.
10 OUT OF 10
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on 2 May 2014
This excellent movie in my opinion has been overlooked.

A young actress hits a dog with her car. She takes the dog under her wing and nurses him back to good health. The dog becomes very close to her protecting her from a guy who breaks into her house.

But she learns that the dog is not the perfect dog. In fact the dog has been trained to attack and kill black people. The film sends out a very strong and clear message.

The negative part is the dvd copy. The picture quality looks like it's been transformed straight from VHS.

Apart from that - good movie!
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on 18 August 2015
This is a film I first saw back in the 80's as a teenager. It had a huge effect on me and stuck with me. I often thought about the film but it's been unavailable for many years. I watched it recently on a streaming service and was bowled over by it again. I had to own it. The direction, the acting and the score (by Ennio Morricone) are all first rate. It's a great performance by the late, great Paul Winfield and the film uses melodrama to keep the focus on the themes of racism, indoctrination and the damage caused by hatred. Powerful stuff that may not be for everyone.
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on 11 September 2015
I found White Dog a very interesting film to watch. It is slightly outdated visually in the context of today but captivating to watch and thought provoking. The film looks good and the sound is good. The Ennio Morricone soundtrack is great, different from what he usually delivers and this is not a bad thing.

Masters of Cinema have delivered yet another great package. Booklet is also great.
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on 22 July 2014
Emotional and controversial, White Dog is not a Cujo style horror. Nor is it as racially controversial as its history would make it seem, as far more hard-hitting films about race have made their point more succinctly than this. However, it is well directed and gripping.
When an aspiring actress hits a runaway dog with her car, she adopts it to save it from being put down at the dog pound, and it proves to be a loving and life-saving pet. Unfortunately, it quickly dawns on her that something is wrong, and after a few savage displays of aggression it becomes clear she's adopted an attack dog that was trained by racists to attack black people.
Unwilling to lose hope, she entreats a black animal trainer who usually works for movie productions to try to recondition the dog out of his dangerous training. Much of the movie is set around the tension and anticipation of whether the animal can be saved and made to represent less of a danger to society.
The acting can occasionally be a tiny bit less convincing than these days (but by no means bad), and some of the scenes aren't filmed with the slick camerawork and tension you'd expect these days, but it's a raw and emotional thriller with some standout sequences and a real punch to the gut. More drama/thriller and with some frightening and well handled messages about the widespread mayhem caused by breeding hate, this is a film worth watching.
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