Western Animation / All Dogs Go to Heaven


All Dogs Go to Heaven is a Don Bluth film released in 1989, being very loosely inspired by the obscure 1943 book by Beth Brown. It centers around a dog named Charlie B. Barkin who ends up getting murdered by his gangster business partner, Carface Carruthers. He ends up in Heaven but can't rest until he gets his revenge upon Carface. After he cheats Heaven and returns to life, Charlie steals one of his former boss's special assets, a young orphan girl named Anne-Marie who has the ability to speak to all animals. He initially planned to exploit her ability for money, like Carface, but he soon becomes fond of the little girl and eventually undergoes a change of heart.

If the movie is remembered for much else, it's the fact that it was released on the same day as (and financially massacred by) Disney's The Little Mermaid. Disney reclaiming their spot as top dog in the animation business after years of being shown up by Bluth's independent features effectively ended their rivalry and Bluth would spend the following decade producing a string of flops until semi-retiring in 2000.

Dogs, meanwhile, went on to have a healthy shelf life, becoming the highest-grossing VHS release of 1990. Seven years later, it received a sequel, All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 (par for the course for every animated film ever during that time), and a TV series adaptation, neither of which Bluth had any involvement with.

This animated film and its related works provide examples of the following tropes:

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    All Dogs Go to Heaven 
  • Afraid of Blood: Killer, which may be why he prefers to "use the pliers".
  • All Dogs Are Purebred: According to one song, Charlie is about as mixed as they come, yet he looks like a German shepherd through and through. Itchy identifies himself as a "wiener dog" and Charlie calls Itchy a dachshund during a particular song. Carface appears to be an English bulldog. The angel dog is a whippet, pointed out by Charlie. Apart from that, a number of minor dog characters look ambiguous enough that they might be mutts, but it's a bit tricky to tell with the art style.
    • According to the DVD back cover, Carface is a pit bull.
  • Amazing Technicolor Puppies: The puppies Flo is looking after are all bright, unnatural colors compared to all the other dogs, who have more muted colors.
  • Ambiguously Gay: King Gator and, to a lesser extent, Killer.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Itchy, who remarks about the Grand Chawhee, "I don't care if it's his... his bar mitzvah! That horse is a gluepot!"
  • Anachronism Stew: Killer calls his gun a "Flash Gordon atomic ray gun". Forgetting for a moment that ray guns have yet to become a reality in the 21st century, where did he manage to acquire an atomic ray gun in the year 1939?
  • Animal Talk: A variation: animals can only talk to others of their own species, while the orphan girl Anne-Marie is the only character who is able to speak to all animals. This is made explicit when it's revealed that Anne-Marie is being exploited by Carface, since she can inform him who will win in a race. It's held pretty consistent throughout the film... except when it isn't (e.g., King Gator and Charlie's literal Big Lipped Alligator Moment.)
    • Anne-Marie can't always fully understand some creatures if they speak in a different 'language', as she stated to Charlie when King Gator's rat-minions, who she says "talk too funny", are carrying them to him in their cages. She probably only recognizes and understands English since most animal characters are interpreted/translated in her view as being English.
    • As well with the horses at the race track. The dogs don't understand what the horses are saying, but the horses understand when the dogs are insulting them.
    • It's plausible an animal can learn another language.
  • Ascended Meme: The Blu-Ray cover dedicates an awful lot of space to the literal big-lipped alligator.
  • Big Damn Heroes: King Gator pulls this at the end of the movie, showing up just in time to free Charlie and eat Carface.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The Trope Namer. Despite what The Nostalgia Critic might have you believe, this is actually a subversion. King Gator is impressed by Charlie's singing in response to his own, telling him he will come to his aid. When trying to rescue Anne Marie at the climax, Carface attempts to drown Charlie only for him to start howling underwater, which gets the attention of King Gator to free him and help attack Carface's Mooks.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The original film ends with Charlie saving Anne-Marie, at the cost of his own life. He shares one last goodbye with her before having to return to Heaven. And true to the title of the film, Big Bad Carface gets into Heaven as well.
  • Break-Up/Make-Up Scenario: A very sad one.
  • But Now I Must Go: Charlie leaves Anne-Marie for Heaven, despite saying that goodbyes aren't forever.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Charlie's voice attracting King Gator may be the Trope Namer for Big Lipped Alligator Moment, but is more a clumsy Deus ex Machina of this sort.
  • Cowardly Sidekick: Itchy Itchiford, most of the time.
  • Crapsack World: Charlie insists on indulging the many vices of the casino business he once shared with Carface, which leads to all manner of betrayal, gluttony, corruption, greed, and murder. His fondness for this kind of life is what eventually leads to the demise of both himself and Carface, and the destruction of their competing enterprises.
  • Deal with the Devil
    • At the beginning, Carface makes Charlie a bargain. If they split up all of the meats, then Charlie will go into business for himself and possibly hiding. Unfortunately, he only makes the deal so that he can dispose of and kill him.
    • And at the end, it's implied that Charlie had struck a bargain with the Hellhound so that can see Anne-Marie one last time and say goodbye to her.
  • Death's Hourglass
  • Defector From Paradise: Charlie Barkin immediately decides to defect from Heaven upon explanation of its lack of thrill, complete predictability, and cushy lifestyle. It's best described in his song, "Let Me Be Surprised". The movie's antagonist, Carface, also tried to do so upon entering Heaven at the end of the film and actually did so in the sequel due to his greed.
  • Disappeared Dad: It's never explicitly said in the film, but you can bet those puppies are Charlie's.
    • Word of God says that Flo is just an orphan puppy caretaker.
  • Disney Villain Death: Subverted; Though Carface does fall from a rather high platform into water, he does survive. Only to get chased and eaten by King Gator immediately after.
  • Dragons Are Demonic: A dragon appears at the very end, waiting to drag Charlie's soul down to Hell. The angel appears before that happens, however, drives the dragon away, and tells Charlie his place in Heaven has been restored due to his Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Despite technically already having one.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Even before his Character Development kicks in and Charlie truly grows to care for Anne-Marie, he is utterly indignant when she compares his treatment of her to Carface. Furthermore, many of Carface and Charlie's employees and customers at their casino remark that Charlie treats them better than Carface does.
  • Every Proper Lady Should Curtsy: Anne Marie curtsies to Charlie's friends after being introduced.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Charlie vs. Carface, until the former's Character Development.
  • Exit, Pursued by a Bear: Carface exits pursued by a Big-Lipped Alligator.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: Another bout of Executive Meddling turned Carface's Tommy Gun into "a RAAAAAAAY gun!" Apparently they thought the real gun was too scary. The official story is this: Midway through production there was an incident where a man attacked a school in LA with an automatic weapon. Many children died and the studio did not want to recall the episode, so the tommy gun was changed to something out of fantasy. (Could also be connected to the Reality Subtext of the death of Judith Barsi, who played Anne-Marie.)
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: Driven into the ground.
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: Also driven into the ground.
  • Food Porn: The waffles and the pizza.
  • Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better: Two-legged Charlie, a German Shepherd/Collie mix, contrasts with Itchy Itchiford, who walks on all fours because of his Dachshund anatomy.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Pausing on Charlie's record in Heaven not only lets the viewer see the names of his parents and a rather cute baby picture, but some very readable text. Apparently, Charlie is "mostly German Shepherd, but also part Collie, part Great Dane, and part whatever." It even mentions that Charlie is "a good dog."
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Averted - Charlie and several other dogs are shown drinking mugs of beer and clearly getting drunk. Getting Charlie drunk was Carface's first phase of murdering him, as he becomes unable to suspect anything odd.
  • Gentle Giant: King Gator.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The angelic Whippet tells Charlie, singing about everything wrong with Earth - one of the problems is that there's single's bars. Nothing overtly sexual, but definitely something that will go over the heads of tots. Charlie also sings about "love from a stranger".
  • Good Is Boring: The reason Charlie rejects Heaven.
  • The Great Depression: The film's time period.
  • Grotesque Gallery: Most of the character designs hover along the Ugly Cute border, but King Gator's character design is... a bit much. As well as a pink horse.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: Anne-Marie.
  • Hell of a Heaven: The afterlife is nice, but Charlie isn't happy about staying there right yet as he misses things from his life. Carface obviously hates it as well, and breaks out at the end.
    • Played far more straight in the sequel, where Heaven resembles something akin to a pink, puffy tourist destination.
  • The Hero Dies: Unusually, Charlie dies at the beginning of the movie, only to cheat his way back to life. He dies again at the end while saving Anne-Marie, finally doing a good deed which would actually earn him a place in Heaven. Due to his earlier stunt with the watch, when he dies this time, it is heavily implied he is going to go to Hell, but he doesn't.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Torn between the choice of saving his own Soul Jar vs. rescuing Anne-Marie from drowning, Charlie picks the latter. It ultimately costs him his life, but also earns his redemption.
  • Hollywood Natives: The sewer rats, and their leader/god King Gator have bones stuck in their noses. The rats act a lot like the natives from King Kong.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Itchy Itchiford - at least occasionally.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Roger Ebert noted in his review of the movie that Charlie not only had the voice of Burt Reynolds, but some of his mannerisms as well.
  • It Is Not Your Time: Quite averted for a story where characters returning from the dead is a theme. Charlie, however, lies to Itchy and tells him this is the case.
  • It's Always Mardi Gras in New Orleans
  • Ironic Echo: Annabelle says to Charlie as he is expelled from heaven, "You can never come back!" Later, in his nightmare of being dragged into hell, the devil growls to Charlie, "You can never go back."
  • Jerkass: Charlie spends most of the movie as this before his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Karma Houdini: All dogs are, simply by being dogs. Carface—murdering, kidnapping, horrible Carface—ends up in heaven.
  • Large Ham: "A number 3, Lame Dog."
  • Last Chorus Slow Down: "Hey! I know we're dead up here, but so's the music!"
  • Late to the Punchline: One that most American viewers completely missed: the horse named "The Grand Chawhee". Don't get it? Look into the political situations of Ireland (where Sullivan/Bluth studios was based) from around the time it was made. That is all we shall say.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: The credits song is nowhere to be heard on the soundtrack. And its a orchestrated jazz version of "You Can't Keep a Good Dog Down". It's quite catchy too. In fact, all of the instrumental score is arguably better than the songs, but are nowhere to be found.
    • The song that replaced it, "Love Survives", was a tribute to Barsi.
  • Love Redeems
  • Manly Tears: Charlie sheds a manly tear at the end. And Itchy sheds manly tears during the grand chewing out he gave Charlie.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Killer, who sometimes doesn't seem like he likes following Carface and carrying out his evil plans.
  • Mood Whiplash: About halfway through the movie, it's done no less then three times. There's a happy sharing song, a sad "I Want" Song, and a nightmare.
    • After Charlie's ghost says one last goodbye to Anne-Marie and ascends to heaven, a heavenly chorus sings in the credits right before Charlie demands something a little livelier.
  • Mook–Face Turn: Probably applies to Killer, who loyally serves Carface throughout most of the film, but is the one to swim Anne-Marie to safety at the end.
    • His boss was just eaten by an alligator...
  • Never Trust a Trailer: It's portrayed as more of a comedy.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Two of them.
    • First, Charlie has that ever-so-lovely dream about going to Hell.
    • Second, towards the beginning, after Charlie dies, Itchy has a nightmare that Carface is strangling him, but then hears Charlie's voice telling him, "Itchy, it's okay! It's okay, little buddy! It's me, Charlie!" and wakes up to discover Charlie, alive and well, shaking him awake.
  • No Name Given: The heavenly whippet. She was not named Annabelle until the sequel.
  • Orphan's Ordeal: Anne-Marie lives in a junkyard and gets kidnapped by a gang of gambling dogs to be exploited for her ability to communicate with animals.
  • Parental Abandonment: Anne-Marie
  • Pet the Dog: A rare example where it is the dog which pets the human. Also, in the more literal sense — particularly at the end.
  • Pounds Are Animal Prisons: The opening of the movie, complete with dramatic jailbreak.
  • Punch Clock Villain: Killer before his Mook–Face Turn at the end of the movie.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Anne Marie. She has been compared to Snow White.
  • Recognizable by Sound: The Big-Lipped Alligator has Charlie Barkin between his jaws when Charlie howls in terror. The sound is so melodious to the alligator that he set Charlie free. Later in the story, the evil Carface has captured Charlie, and has caused Charlie to howl in pain. Miles away, the Big-Lipped Alligator hears this cry, and comes to Charlie's rescue in a Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Charlie is red, Itchy is blue
  • Redemption Equals Death: Charlie dies after finally learning to care for someone besides himself.
    • Also kind of a variation. While it costs Charlie his mortal life, the act saves his soul from Hell, thus saving his afterlife.
  • Reflective Eyes: Charlie and Anne-Marie at the end when they're saying good-bye.
  • Refusing Paradise: A non-heroic example. Charlie tricking his way out of Heaven sets the whole plot in motion.
  • The Renaissance Age of Animation
  • Revenge Before Reason: Charlie is willing to forever forsake his place in Heaven to get revenge on Carface for murdering him in the first place.
  • Right Behind Me: Near the end, Charlie says that he's only using Anne-Marie and only pretends to be her friend to Itchy, unaware that Anne-Marie is standing on the steps behind him.
  • Ring of Fire: Though it doesn't happen IN one, the final fight between Charlie and Carface happens above one, during which Carface falls into it and is eaten by King Gator. Charlie then has to rescue an unconscious Anne-Marie from the burning ring.
  • Sapient Eat Sapient: King Gator only decides not to eat Charlie and Anne-Marie due to Charlie's singing voice, never mind the fact he can apparently communicate with both of them.
  • Satan: A giant red dragon-like creature appears to Charlie in a nightmare of Hell and appears outside Anne-Marie's house near the end of the movie, and is implied to be Satan.
  • Say My Name: It's astounding how many times people say Charlie's name in this movie - 122 times total! This video counts almost all of those moments.
  • Second Face Smoke: Carface does this to a rat and Killer.
  • Series Continuity Error: The scene with a certain alligator violates the rules of the movie: animals can only speak to members of their own species, with Anne-Marie being the only being who can communicate with everyone. Yet the Gator and Charlie can share a cross species musical number. This only adds to the sequence being completely out of place in the film.
  • Sewer Gator: King Gator is a big-lipped alligator (yeah, THAT big-lipped alligator) living in the New Orleans sewers, worshipped by the sewer rats.
  • Shark Pool: Carface uses the piranha-filled version of this trope to dispose of Killer after he fails him twice. That is, until Killer mentions he has a gun.
  • Shopping Montage: Used to cheer the disillusioned Anne-Marie. We're not supposed to ask what the dogs were going to do with all the money otherwise.
    • They used it to get Charlie's casino off the ground.
      • Which raises even more questions, really.
  • Shout-Out
    • Anne-Marie's outfit and hair are much like Disney's Snow White's.
    • If you watch the King Gator scene closely, it starts out as an homage to King Kong, including the fact that King Gator was so taken with Charlie; it turns into the trope-naming BLAM once the singing starts.
    • It's a Buck Rogers ray gun!
  • Sidekick Song: "LET'S MAKE MUSIC TOGETHER!" Also, "You Can't Keep a Good Dog Down," despite not being sung by the sidekicks.
  • Slasher Smile: Carface breaks into a twisted one after learning that Killer has "a ray gun" stashed away.
  • Soul Jar: Charlie's watch. When it stops ticking, that's the end of his borrowed time... but as long as it remains undamaged, he's immortal.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Anne-Marie.
  • Subtext: "You're in love with the girl!"
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Carface ("MORONS! I'm surrounded by MORONS!!!")
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: How Carface kills off Charlie. By getting him sloppy drunk, blindfolded and lining him up to be hit by a car on a pier. It wouldn't be enough to just lead him into a busy street or drown him, he does both to be one of the few animated villains to actually kill the protagonist early on and would've won had Charlie not scammed his way out of Heaven.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: Killer becomes ill and his whole body turns green from the exposure to passive smoking, causing him to cough, after Carface blows it from his cigar towards him, twice.
  • Totem Pole Trench: With two dogs and a human. Amazingly, it works. Even worse, the teller didn't seem to notice that the adult man making the purchase had the voice of a six-year-old girl when he tells him that it's the Grand Chawhee's birthday. (Our advice? Just go with it.)
  • Undying Loyalty: Itchy and Charlie - quite literally. The source of some tearjerking moments.
  • Vile Villain, Laughable Lackey: When Carface discovers that Charlie escaped the dog pound and survived an assassination attempt, Carface almost disposes of his myopic, neurotic, weakling of a dog minion, Killer.
  • Villain Decay: In the movie Carface is intelligent and dangerous, but in the sequels and TV series he's cowardly, bumbling, and idiotic.
  • Villain Protagonist: Charlie, before his Character Development.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: The tribe of sewer rats that captures Charlie and Anne-Marie in the scene leading to the literal Big Lipped Alligator Moment has little relevance to the plot.
  • Watching Troy Burn: Itchy returns to the monastery to chew Charlie out for wasting too much time with the girl (and nearly getting him killed), just in time for both of them to look over the junkyard and see their new casino go up in flames.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Itchy's rant to Charlie after Carface's thugs nearly kill him.
    • "You're a bad dog!"
  • Wild Take: Killer springing in mid-air, his eyes bulging in and out, and screaming, after he retrieves and puts back on his glasses, when he sees Charlie and Itchy are out of prison clearly enough the second time.
    • Carface gets two. The first is when Charlie is freed from the anchor. The second is when he sees King Gator swimming towards him.
  • Wingding Eyes: Charlie demonstrates the "dollar sign" version when planning to make a killing using Anne-Marie's talent for talking to animals.
  • You Have Failed Me: Halfway through the movie, Carface is lowering Killer into a piranha tank, after discovering Charlie is still alive.
    Carface: Charlie's alive, and I know he's got the girl. Killer, this is strike two. You're out.
    Killer: No, wait boss, boss! I get one more strike boss, honest!
    Carface: Lower him. Nothing personal, Killer. Business.

    All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 
See this page for examples.

    The TV series and Christmas Special 
  • Big Word Shout: Carface screams, "STOOOOPPPPPPPPP!" when Timmy, under the control of Belladonna's dog whistle steals a present and goes out the dog door.
  • Broad Strokes: To say that the series followed the films... loosely would be an understatement.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Belladonna describes "the other side" as an equal opportunity employer when she's trying to recruit Charlie to her side.
  • Evil Counterpart: Belladonna to Annabelle.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    Killer (to Itchy, Disguised in Drag): "Hey baby, y'like wrestlin'?"
    Itchy: "Sure! I'm wrestlin' with these panty hose right now."
  • Heel–Face Turn: Charlie's character growth could be considered this to some degree. He ultimately invokes this on Carface to turn him good so that Belladonna's plan could be stopped.
  • Mood Whiplash: Practically invoked in "Clean Up Your Act" in the Christmas Carol. It goes back and forth between visions of Heaven and of Hell. It works because its done by the Ghost Of Christmas Future (played by Charlie) and is showing both possible outcomes to Carface's future.
  • Origins Episode: "When Harry met Silly", detailing how Charlie & Itchy met and became friends.
  • Punch Clock Villain: Happens with Carface in the Christmas Special, which is also the series finale. Applies because he was working as Belladonna's henchman at the time.
  • The Rashomon: "He Barked, She Barked" combines this with a Courtroom Episode where Belladonna accuses Charlie of abusing his miracle dog tag for selfish gain to take a canine widow's steaks while leaving her to presumably die in a sewer pit as it collapsed. Carface's testimony portrays Charlie as a thug more like his pre-Character Development self and himself as a goody two-shoes. Itchy's testimony makes Charlie into an overly heroic figure (complete with a Stetson) and Carface as a Dastardly Whiplash villain. Killer's testimony portrays Carface as his lackey and Charlie as dropping the widow when the "rescue failed". And Charlie's own testimony portrays him as trying to save the widow but dropping her when the miracle dog tag fails to levitate her. The truth is that Belladonna was the widow dog and it was all an obvious scheme to get Charlie's angelic status revoked. And miracle dog tags don't work on hellish beings like her.
  • Recycled In Space: Touched by an Angel WITH DOGS!
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Subverted with Belladonna and Annabelle. The syllables are reversed, not the letters.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Cousins Annabelle and Belladonna could easily pass for sisters. It doesn't help that they share the same actress.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Belladonna. Fans of the series tend to consider her the best (if not only good) thing about it.
  • Villain Song: Belladonna, Anabelle's demonic cousin gets one in both appearences. In the first one, it's Take The Easy Way Out, which is an attempt at luring Charlie to her side and it works...for a bit. In the Christmas Special, where she's the Big Bad, she sings I Always Get Emotional At Christmas Time, a song about how much she loves ruining Christmas.
  • Villainous Crush - At times, it seems Belladonna's interest in Charlie is a bit more than just getting him to 'play for her side' (including shaking her rear at him rather seductively in her Villain Song). Though this doesn't stop her from flying into a psychotic rage when she's foiled.

Alternative Title(s): All Dogs Go To Heaven, All Dogs Go To Heaven The Series, An All Dogs Christmas Carol