* AcclaimedFlop: While not as universally beloved as Creator/DonBluth's previous efforts, it still found its fans and admirers among critics despite being pummeled at the box office by the release of ''The Little Mermaid''. It went on to be the highest-grossing VHS release of 1990, selling more than 3 million copies in its first month alone.
* ActorAllusion
** When the heavenly whippet looks in Charlie's records, it's revealed that his middle name is [[Creator/BurtReynolds Burt]] and his parents were Burt R. Barken and Loni A. Bowzar, who resemble canine versions of Reynolds and his then-wife Loni Anderson (Anderson herself cameos as Flo).
** More of an author allusion, the records also state that his birthday is September 13th, 1937, Creator/DonBluth's birthday.
* AllStarCast: In addition to Creator/BurtReynolds, who was at his peek popularity at the time, there's also his ''[[Film/TheCannonballRun Cannonball Run II]]'' co-stars Creator/DomDeLuise and Charles Nelson Reilly, as well as his then-wife Loni Anderson and ''Series/Alice1976'' star Vic Tayback. As mentioned below, the film is technically a Reynolds star vehicle.
* AuthorExistenceFailure: Ultimately averted, as Creator/JudithBarsi's tragic murder occurred after she had finished recording all of her dialogue. The film was dedicated to her memory.
* CelebrityVoiceActor: The project began as a star vehicle for Creator/BurtReynolds, who wanted Bluth to give him an animated role similar to the ones he'd given his frequent co-star Creator/DomDeLuise in his other movies. [=DeLuise=] wasn't even cast as Itchy until later, when Reynolds needed someone to better ad lib off of. Reynolds also came up with the initial story of "a guy who starts as a jerk but learns a lesson."
* DuelingMovies: Released on the very same day as (and [[CurbStompBattle financially curb-stomped by]]) ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid.''
* ExecutiveMeddling: Resulted in some of the scarier images from the film, such as Charlie's body flying off the pier when he's hit by the car[[note]]One tie-in book for the film recycled concept art for it's illustrations. This included one where the silhouette of Charlie's body can be seen flying alongside the car.[[/note]] and a few seconds of the Hell sequence, getting [[JustForPun neutered]] in order to be [[AnimationAgeGhetto more appropriate for children.]] A lot of casual swearing peppered throughout the film was also cut out, an artifact from which can be heard on the soundtrack album, when Charlie angrily mumbles to himself "Damn, that Carface, I'll kill him!" (In the movie, the "damn" is awkwardly cut out).
* KeepCirculatingTheTapes: Not the movie, but the original Beth Brown book the film was inspired by has been out of print for decades and is very hard and expensive to find.
* NamesTheSame: [[InvokedTrope Invoked]]. Creator/DonBluth was read the original Beth Brown novel as a child, but he only remembered the title. He sought it out as an adult and wrote a treatment of it under the name "Canine Mysteries," but kept hitting walls with the story until he decided to write a completely different one based around the original title.
* NonSingingVoice: Lana Beeson sings as Anne Marie for "Soon You'll Come Home." Creator/JudithBarsi, her speaking voice, was given the option to sing it herself, but [[AbusiveParents broke down in stress from events at home]] during the audition and the filmmakers decided it best not to push her.
* RealitySubtext
** Creator/JudithBarsi's murder during the film's production had a significant influence on it, such as changing Carface's machine gun to [[FamilyFriendlyFirearms a completely made-up laser gun]] and some minor design changes to [[InkSuitActor make Anne-Marie look more like her late actress]]. It unarguably has had an effect on audiences as well, who often find both the themes of morality and Anne-Marie's woobie background all the more emotional.
** Most American viewers completely missed the GeniusBonus of a horse named "The Grand Chawhee". Look into [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Haughey the political situations of Ireland]] (where Sullivan/Bluth studios was based) from around the time it was made and maybe then you'll get it.
* RelationshipVoiceActor: Creator/BurtReynolds, Creator/DomDeLuise and Charles Nelson Reilly had all previously starred together in ''[[Film/TheCannonballRun Cannonball Run II]].''
* SleeperHit: The first film, it did poorly in the box office but became one of the greatest-selling home video releases of all time. This is what prompted MGM to have the sequel made.
* ThrowItIn: Most of Charlie and Itchy's dialogue was ad libbed or retroscripted, allowing for Creator/BurtReynolds and Creator/DomDeLuise to create a more natural performance for the characters.
* TropeNamer: For BigLippedAlligatorMoment, indirectly, through WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick.
* TroubledProduction: Not as bad as most of Bluth's movies, but it did have a few snags.
** First, Bluth and co. repeatedly hit walls trying to get an adaptation of the original Beth Brown story to work. In a chance meeting with writer Creator/RobertTowne, Bluth pitched him the story and asked for feedback. Towne reportedly came up with a better, more succinct story in the five minutes it took him to go to the bathroom afterward than the crew had in months.
** Then, Bluth butted egos with original producer Creator/StevenSpielberg over Spielberg always having final say in their collaborations, leading to Bluth eventually deciding to produce the film independently.
** And lastly was the murder of [[Creator/JudithBarsi their lead actress]] after she had recorded all of her lines, forcing certain violent aspects of the film to be toned down, such as Killer's tommy gun becoming a laser blaster.
** Production was otherwise smooth and the film met its intended release date of November 17th 1989... when it was [[DuelingMovies promptly curb-stomped]] by ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid''.
* WagTheDirector: [[JustForPun Haha, but seriously...]] Creator/BurtReynolds and Creator/DomDeLuise, who had developed a repertoire with one another after starring in several movies together, insisted that Don Bluth leave the room during recording sessions so that they could improvise off one another better. Despite his initial chagrin, Bluth would later admit that some of the film's best lines came from their improv.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen
** The film was originally meant to be the third collaboration between Bluth and Creator/StevenSpielberg, but Spielberg quit after the two butted egos on ''WesternAnimation/TheLandBeforeTime''.
** The first treatment of the film more closely followed the book. It was conceived as a short entitled "Canine Mysteries" as part of a package film, which would have also included an adaptation of ''The Velveteen Rabbit''. Based on [[http://dragonslairthemovie.com/canine-mysteries/ some recently-shared concept art]], the dogs would have had more direct interaction with humans.
** Several seconds of the Hell sequence were cut for being too frightening. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gr7khtV7GAs The full version]] has recently surfaced.
** Burt Reynolds originally read his part with a more cartoonish "doggie" (read: Franchise/ScoobyDoo) voice, which nobody liked. Reynolds persisted, saying it was cute, until Dom [=DeLuise=] pulled him aside and said "Burt, don't be an [[PrecisionFStrike asshole]]," at which point he dropped it.
** Most of the film originally took place in heaven and had [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters a ton of angel characters]], which was where Bluth and co. initially started having story problems. Bluth asked writer Creator/RobertTowne for feedback, and Towne told him to focus more on the dogs than the heaven.
* WriteWhoYouKnow: Charlie was designed after Gary Goldman's dog Burt (named for Reynolds). Goldman first found the pooch chasing after Reynold's car leaving their first lunch meeting.
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!!The TV Series
* TheOtherDarrin: Ernest Bornine replaced Vic Tayback, who died a year after the first film was released, as the voice of Carface while Bebe Neuwirth replaced Melba Moore as Annabelle/The Heavenly Whippet. Charlie, meanwhile, has a different voice for every installment (Burt Reynolds in the first, Charlie Sheen in the second, Steven Webber in the TV series), presumably because each one became cheaper to the point that Reynolds ''and'' Sheen were too expensive. Creator/DomDeLuise and Charles Nelson Reily are the only two actors from the original to reprise their roles.
* [[TalkingToHimself Talking To Herself]]: Annabelle and Belladonna are both played by Bebe Neuwirth. PlayedForLaughs in the Christmas episode where Belladonna does an annoying impression of her cousin.