Disney: 101 Dalmatians

I'm seeing lots of spots, plenty of polka dots...

Entry #17 in the Disney Animated Canon. The Hundred and One Dalmatians was adapted for animation by Walt Disney Pictures and it was the second Disney animated film to be set unambiguously in contemporary times. Furthermore, the 1961 production was the first to use xerography to ease the inking process and make a film with this much technical complexity (the 101 dogs and their collective innumerable spots) possible. Unfortunately, this technology became the norm and its limitations trapped all Disney animation into a hard scratchy outline look for 16 years until The Rescuers, which finally was able to use further advancements to allow for a softer look again.

Although the original children's novel is far less remembered than the Walt Disney movie based on it, (and it had a sequel, too), this is one of the most faithful adaptations Disney has ever done.

It was followed by several sequels in different media:

The Disney version of 101 Dalmatians got a direct animated sequel in 2003 in Patch's London Adventure, in which Pongo and Perdy's son Patch is accidentally left behind when the family moves to the country, and feeling unappreciated, goes to find his idol Thunderbolt to be on his show.

In addition to the movies, the show, and the book, two video games were made. One was the Point-and-Click Game 101 Dalmatians: Escape from DeVil Manor and the other was 102 Dalmatians: Puppies to the Rescue, a traditional 3D Action Adventure Platform Game. Both those games were based on the live-action films, but were styled after the original animated film.


The Disney Adaptation (1961) and its sequel (2003) provide examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation: Both the original author and Disney himself praised the story's streamlining.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Mr. and Mrs. Dearly were changed to Roger and Anita Radcliffe for the animated movie. Later adaptations give them the given names from the movie and the surname from the book. Also, Saul Badun becomes Horace, Roly Poly becomes simply Rolly, and Lt. Tib becomes Sgt. Tibbs (with that particular cat also getting a sex change in the process).
  • Adapted Out: A few non important character from the novel were removed like Cruella's husband and cat, Cadpig (although she appeared in the animated series), and Perdita's old boyfriend Prince (who was only mentioned in the book.)
  • Adult Fear: The kidnapping of the puppies is very much presented as if it was Roger's and Anita's children who were taken as well as Pongo and Perdita's.
  • Alliterative Name: Roger Radcliffe.
  • Angrish: When Cruella comes to claim the puppies, Roger starts stuttering in anger.
  • Artistic Licence - Geography: An American road sign appears in the British countryside during the climatic car chase.
  • Ascended Extra: Pongo and Perdita's son Patch and TV-star dog Thunderbolt, a background and a one-scene character respectively in the first film, are primary characters in the sequel.
  • Battle Couple: Pongo and Perdita.
  • Becoming the Mask: Thunderbolt in the sequel. At first, he just wants to use Patch's fanboy knowledge of his show to get some press but ends up becoming genuine friends with the pup and helps him rescue his family.
  • Berserk Button: Cruella seems like a somewhat pleasant woman at first, if a bit snide and condescending, but she really didn't like being told the Radcliffes weren't interested in selling the puppies.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Pongo and Perdita are as charming and adorable as animated dogs can be. As long as you don't mess with their children.
  • Big Bad: Cruella de Vil.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Pongo and Perdita crashing into Hell Hall just in time to stop Horace and Jasper from killing their puppies.
    • Played with in the sequel when Thunderbolt arrives to save the puppies.
      Thunderbolt: I always arrive in the nick of time...(whispering to Patch) Hey, I may not be a real hero, but I can act like one. I'll distract them.
  • Big Eater: Rolly is the largest puppy, and he's always complaining about how hungry he is.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Horace and Jasper both have these.
  • Big "Shut Up!": Cruella yells this at Horace and Jasper a lot. It comes back later as she's having a tantrum over having lost the puppies and ending up in a ditch, much to the irritation of Jasper.
  • Bowdlerize:Promotional stills of the Diamond Edition Blu-Ray release edited out Cruella's Cigar and smoke in her shots, although it was left in the film proper with a PSA against smoking added to the trailers on the disc.
  • Butt Biter: Pongo gives Jasper a painful chomp to the rear at one point.
  • Butt Monkey: Both of the Baduns, but Horace in particular gets slapped around by Jasper as well as Cruella. And of course neither of them are any real match for the dogs.
  • The Cameo: Jock and Peg (along with the bulldog from the pound who seems to have had puppies with her) from Lady and the Tramp make cameos during the citywide dog barking scene.
    • Tramp and Lady themselves show up in the very same scene, Tramp on top of a car and Lady in the street.
  • Cat Scare: Happens twice. The first time, Tibbs is right next to a bottle of rum; Jasper tries to take a swig from the bottle and mistakenly tries to drink the cat. The second time is when Tibbs is helping the puppies to hide. Tibbs can't take on Horace and Jasper on his own, but when Jasper looks under the bed, the ensuing MEEEOOWWWW and wild leap from Tibbs startles Jasper enough for the puppies to run past him.
  • Ceiling Banger: Nanny did this to get Roger to take a break from writing songs.
  • Chase Scene
  • Clothes Make the Legend: One of the most famous fur coats ever. Ironic considering it never actually gets made.
  • Combat Pragmatist: As fierce as they were against Horace and Jasper, Pongo and Perdita actually dispose of them by barely touching them at all, instead using their lair's surroundings against them or fooling them into hurting themselves in their own buffoonery.
    • Horace and Jasper had the gall to whine about Pongo and Perdita not playing fair. Sure, they did not play fair with people who was just going to smash their pups' skulls open after having kidnapped them. Who would have thought about it.
  • Composite Character: Perdita/Missis, as well as Nanny Cook/Butler.
    • Also, Lucky/Cadpig; as Cadpig does not appear in the movie, her role and main traits have been given to Lucky.
  • Conversational Troping: The bit where they watch Thunderbolt's show ("Ol' Thunder always wins!").
  • Cool Car: Cruella's car. A lot of people have put effort into trying to figure out what model it is. It's just too bad that Cruella's obsession with making a fur coat out of the dalmatians led her to trash the car...
    • It looks like it's part Duesenberg, but what would one of those be doing in London?
  • Cowardly Lion: Sgt. Tibbs is easily scared, but that doesn't stop him from protecting the puppies in the slightest.
  • CPR (Clean, Pretty, Reliable): One of the 15 (the eventual "Lucky") was apparently stillborn, leading Roger to get an idea, rubbing the pup to stimulate it to breathe.
    • This isn't the usual Disney invocation of Never Say "Die": It actually happened in the book as well.
  • Cut Song: Some alternate songs about Cruella (one of which, "The Creation of Cruella de Vil," is full of terror), a Drunken Song for Horace and Jasper, and some marching songs for the dogs' return to London.
  • The Dark Age of Animation: Somewhat overlaps with The Golden Age of Animation, but this is clearly where the Dark Ages found solid rooting in Disney animation. Still one of the most entertaining Disney features from any era.
  • Demoted to Extra: In a similar vein to the TV series, Pongo and Perdita are largely secondary characters in the sequel with their puppy Patch taking the foreground.
  • Determinator: Sergeant Tibbs won't give up, even if it nearly kills him.
  • Deus ex Machina: The Dalmatians had nothing to do with their final escape from the villains. It was only by pure luck that the Baduns lost control of their truck and collided with Cruella's car.
  • Dinky Drivers: The Dalmatian Puppies do this to a London double-decker bus at the end of 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure.
  • Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: Roger is rarely seen without his pipe in the original film.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Not one of the dogs, but at the end as Cruella is having her sobbing Villainous Breakdown which involves verbally assaulting Horace and Jasper some more, Jasper finally has enough and says "Awww, SHADDAP!".
  • Dogs Are Dumb: Subverted with most of them but played straight with the Colonel.
    • In the book, the Colonel is much less bumbling and more of an actual military commander, teaching the dogs how to fight and promoting them whenever they do something awesome.
  • Dog Walks You
  • Doomed New Clothes: Anita has a new spring suit on as she walks Perdita. Cue the Meet Cute, and she's sopping wet in a pond. What we go through for love, huh?
  • Door Slams You: When Cruella shows up looking to buy the puppies, she slams poor Nanny.
  • Dope Slap: Jasper's usual response to Horace's Dumbass Has a Point moments.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Cruella. Big time. Horace and Jasper go a little crazy at the end as well.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Horace is clearly not the sharpest tool in the shed, but by assuming that dogs think the way people do (which in this movie, they do), he is constantly suggesting what the dogs are actually up to when trying to evade them. He's almost always right, but Jasper will have none of it.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: As they search for the dogs, between the lack of any footprints and their freezing, Horace and Jasper understandably want to call it quits, but Cruella will have none of it. Finally, at the very end, as Cruella yells at her henchmen from the ditch and breaks down crying, Jasper just says, "Aw, shaddup!"
    • Lars in the sequel, however considering he isn't actually "evil" like Cruella or Jasper and Horace, it's more or less a Mook-Face Turn in his case.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Just about every dog can tell Cruella is pure evil. In the sequel, the first sign that Lars isn't truly evil is the fact the puppies like him.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Cruella.
  • Evil Laugh: Roger has one when he sings about Cruella.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Sadly, Cruella's obsession with the dalmatian fur coat she will never have ultimately lands her in this trope.
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: Averted. Anita's wearing what looks like a modest dress similar in style to her Spring outfit.
  • False Friend: Lil' Lightning the Welsh Corgi. He informs Thunderbolt that his character is being killed off the show, when in fact, soon revealed to be a lie just to trick Thunderbolt into getting out of the picture in order so Lightning can have the spotlight for himself having grown tired of being in Thunderbolt's shadow.
    • Then upon hearing about Thunderbolt still gaining fame while on a real heroic mission, Lil' Lightning then decides to join forces with him, along with the pup, obviously just to stop them from succeeding as to prevent Thunderbolt from reclaiming the spotlight. Once they reach the bad guys' hideout, Lightning persuades them to go for an open attack to rescue the puppies instead of a stealth plan, which of course fails and gets Patch and Thunderbolt locked up in cages along with the other puppies. He even reveals to them his true nature and intentions before leaving them behind in their cages.
  • Foreshadowing: One of the lines in the Cruella de Vil song (although this was cut from the actual movie, but does appear in music video versions of the song) is all innocent children had better beware. Roger had no idea how accurate that statement was about Cruella later turned out to be (well, if you're a dalmatian child anyhow).
  • Gender Flip: The character of Sergeant Tibbs (Tibb, in the novel) is changed in this adaptation from female to male. And on a more minor level, so is the puppy whose life Mr. Dearly/Roger saves at birth.
  • Genre Savvy: Dimwitted henchman Horace actually guesses what the dogs are doing on two occasions by attributing to them human-level intelligence; however, both times this is dismissed by Jasper who says that "dogs ain't that smart."
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Roger's magazines, filled with attractive young women.
    • Lilliput was a real-world magazine of humor, short stories, photography, and the arts. Word of God is that it was simply a graphic design magazine that featured the kind of art that inspired the style of film. According to The Other Wiki, it was known for including what were for the time period daring photos of female nudes. Apparently it eventually merged with another magazine and later became explicitly pornographic.
    • At the end, when Pongo and Perdita return to the flat with their own puppies plus 84 extra, Anita asks "But where did they all come from?". Roger responds by patting Pongo on the head and saying "Pongo, you old rascal!".
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Roger's Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe vs Cruella's cigarette with holder.
  • G-Rated Sex: Well, where else did those fifteen puppies come from?
  • Happily Married: Pongo and Perdita and their "pets" Roger and Anita.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Sergeant Tibbs and The Captain to The Colonel.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Cruella telling Horace and Jasper, "Watch your driving, you imbeciles! You wanna get nabbed by the police?!"
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Hell Hall.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Patch and Thunderbolt in the sequel.
  • Ironic Name: Lucky, especially in the original movie, has a very notable habit of not being lucky. If something bad happens, it tends to happen to him.
    • On the other hand, he's apparently the one saved from death as a newborn by Roger, so he was lucky at least once. (He also has a horseshoe of spots on his back.)
  • Just in Time: The moment when the Baduns have cornered Sgt. Tibbs and the puppies and are about to kill them, Pongo and Perdita smash through a window and attack the would-be murderers.
  • The Kids Are American: Averted in both.
  • Karma Houdini: Jasper and Horace in the sequel. Not only do they SOMEHOW escape the police that are seen arresting them at the film's end, but they also become artists themselves, selling sundresses. But this is only seen during the film's end credits. It can be explained because they only followed orders from Cruella and stood up for themselves at the end. Therefore, the police pardoned them.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The film is a sweet romantic comedy before Cruella rolls in.
    • Laughably Evil: As ruthless as she and her goons are in stealing (and attempted murder of) the puppies, their overblown whimsy and bumbling make up a lot of the movie's humor.
  • Large Ham: Thunderbolt in the sequel. And Cruella.
    • The actress who plays the nanny isn't really subtle in most of her line delivery either.
  • Lean and Mean: Cruella De Vil.
  • Literal Ass Kicking: Horace and Jasper get kicked by Sergeant the horse.
  • The Load: Rolly in the first movie- he almost gets the puppies caught several times, yelping when Tibbs grabs his tail, being the only one to slip on the ice and almost sliding in line of Jasper's torch and complaining constantly about being hungry. Lucky also counts, though to a lesser extent; his only issue being his TV addiction, which nearly interferes with Tibbs trying to rescue him.
  • Love at First Sight: Pongo instantly takes to Perdita, calling her "the most beautiful creature on four legs."
  • Mama Bear/Papa Wolf: As if traveling through the English countryside in the middle of winter to save their puppies wasn't enough, Pongo and Perdita are scary when they face off against Horace and Jasper, snarling with bared teeth and their eyes flashing red. Considering they just interrupted the Baduns as they were about to bludgeon their children to death, who can blame them?
  • Meaningful Name/Louis Cypher: Cruella De Vil = cruel devil.
    • The book gets in a few hints that she's an actual devil or demon—for example, everything she eats tastes like hot pepper, implying the heat of hell.
  • Meet Cute: Pongo was probably going for more of a conventional Boy Meets Girl scenario, but his intervention leads to Roger and Anita's (and consequently his and Perdita's) first meeting starting out as this.
  • Men Can't Keep House: Commented on by Pongo at the beginning of the film, Roger's flat is a horror.
  • Mondegreen: Jasper says what is apparently supposed to be "I've got the nog for this job!" ("nog" as in "noggin"), but it's hard not to hear it as "knob", especially with the rhyme.
  • Near Villain Victory: If Horace hadn't accidentally pulled off the steering wheel to the Baduns truck causing them to crash into Cruella, there's no way the dogs would have escaped her - her car was literally hanging onto the van.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Sergeant Tibbs has the horse Captain kick Horace and Jasper into a wall... and from there, the two see the dogs' footprints in the snow. Oops.
  • Nightmare Face: Cruella makes a particularly frightening one during the last minute(s) of the Car Chase before Jasper and Horace crash into her.
  • Not Good with Rejection: Cruella makes this abundantly clear to the Radcliffes after they refuse to sell her the puppies and she promises to have her revenge.
  • Oh, Crap: Sergeant Tibbs gets this look after one of the Baduns grabs him by the neck, mistaking him for a bottle of wine.
    • A more dramatic one in the climax from Pongo and Perdita, when Cruella manages to ram her car into the back of the van they're trying to escape in.
  • One Head Taller: Cruella with Lars, in the sequel. Gender reversed from the usual form of this trope and avoiding stereotypes associated with taller woman shorter man pairings, actually!
  • Parental Bonus: "Pongo, you old rascal..."
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Averted and possibly even inverted with the dogs' collars. Later adaptations didn't care as much. Nor did the tie-in merchandise artists.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: After driving her car out of the ditch in mad determination and trashing it pretty good, Cruella's eyes briefly turn red as she barrels after the truck.
  • Rotoscoping: Sort of. Cruella's car was a white model with outlines drawn on the edges shot in stop-motion in front of a white background with a high exposure; the result was then photocopied onto the cells.
  • Sarcasm Mode: When Horace suggests to Jasper that the puppies have disguised themselves using soot, Jasper says jokingly, "Say now! Horace, that's just what they did. Dogs is always paintin' themselves black! (hits Horace in the head) YOU IDIOT!"
  • Scenery Porn: In a retro and colorful way that perfectly complements the characters' angular designs.
  • Share Phrase: One really gets the sense that the dialogue editors loved the word "idiot".
    • To help get the point across: Early in the movie there's a gag where a character on the phone with Cruella says "You idiot!" to someone else in the room, but Cruella hears it and thinks the line was meant for her. A little while later, still not even halfway through the film, the exact same gag is repeated with different characters (but still Cruella on the other line).
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Silly Symphonies short Springtime briefly appears on the TV the pups are watching.
    • During the scene where Pongo sends a message to all the dogs in London, various dogs from Lady and the Tramp make a cameo.
    • "What's My Crime?" a favorite TV show of the Baduns, is pretty clearly in homage to Whats My Line.
  • Show Within a Show: "Thunderbolt".
    • "What's My Crime?"
  • Sore Loser: Cruella.
  • Source Music: All throughout Cruella's first scene, Roger plays her theme as loud and obnoxiously as he possibly can, utilizing a piano, a trumpet, and a trombone by turn.
  • Suddenly Always Knew That: In the sequel, Thunderbolt uses his dramatic death scene to distract Cruella and her lackeys while the puppies get away.
  • Taught by Television: In the sequel, Patch has every episode of "Thunderbolt" memorized and uses the show's plots to first help Thunderbolt do "big hero stuff" and then to rescue his family.
  • Terrible Trio: Cruella De Vil and her henchmen Jasper and Horace are textbook cases.
  • The Extremist Was Right: Averted. A Running Gag in the first film was the colonel always wanting to attack the bad guys, but Sgt. Tibbs always telling him that that would be disastrous and just retreat. He turns out to be right, as in the second film when Patch tries to save his sibling along with Thunderbolt, they plan to use stealth to rescue them and get to safety, but Thunderbolt's partner Lil lightning (who is tired of always being in Thunderbolt's shadow, and does not want Thunderbolt to reclaim his spotlight) apparently knows that attacking the enemy's risky as well, and convinces Patch and Thunderbolt to use a "full frontal assault", knowing that they would be less likely to succeed. They do so, and get captured (except for Lightning, who secretly stayed hidden while Patch and Thunderbolt went to attack.
  • Think Nothing of It: In the sequel, after the puppies are safe and sound, Pongo thanks Thunderbolt for saving his family to which he responds "Oh, don't thank me. Thank your son. He's the real hero."
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Horace and Jasper.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: In the original film, Horace's face turns three shades of red from the heat of the flames in the fireplace on his rear, when Perdita and Patch snatch a rug out from under him and cause him to fall back there.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Cruella during the climactic Chase Scene. This is especially acute after she accidentally drives her car into a ditch and, in driving it out, accidentally trashes it on some thorny brush. By now, she is plenty pissed off, and it's become clear that it's the dalmatians or her — and she doesn't care who gets in her way.
    • In the book, her hair changes color with the shock of her defeat. The black half turns white... and the white half turns green!
  • The Villain Sucks Song: You know the one. It probably got published either because Cruella's universally acknowledged as a horrible person, or the publishers thought it was a made up name.
  • Watch the Paint Job: Cruella epically trashes and then wrecks her own presumably-valuable classic car in her rage-induced pursuit of the puppies. It even returns in the sequel, having apparently been very cheaply slapped back together. (Guess she's not as rich as she comes across.)
  • Wingding Eyes: To go along with Cruella's Nightmare Face during the chase, especially as she tries to ram her car in the back of the van the Dalmatians are trying to escape in.
  • Worst News Judgment Ever: Apparently fifteen stolen puppies is newsworthy enough to appear on the front page of three different papers. You could argue that it's a unique enough crime to make the headlines.
    • Alternatively, one could argue that the puppy theft is an allegory for child kidnapping. A mass kidnapping of fifteen children is definitely headline material.
  • Women Drivers: Cruella Drives Like Crazy, and a truck driver even cites this trope at one point. Justified by Cruella being completely Ax-Crazy.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Jasper assumes that the dogs in the film are as intelligent as they are in Real Life and aren't smart enough to do things like walk on a frozen river to hide their tracks.
  • You Shall Not Pass: Captain, Colonel and Tibbs do this for the Pongos at the old farmhouse, and later the Labrador at Dinsford does it as well — attacking Jasper and Horace so the Dalmatians can escape.

Alternative Title(s):

One Hundred And One Dalmatians II Patchs London Adventure