!!The 1989 original
* AccidentalInnuendo: [[https://i5.walmartimages.com/asr/992caedb-762a-4e75-8ccd-39306862e667_1.1b1ddd150f038dbc9e57ff2e170e5eff.jpeg?odnHeight=450&odnWidth=450&odnBg=FFFFFF The artwork for the cover of the blu ray]] seems to depict Anne Marie [[NoYay giving the viewer bedroom eyes]].
* AdaptationDisplacement: The number of people who have even heard of the original 1943 book by Beth Brown, much less read it, could be counted on one hand. The book itself is exceedingly rare, and it can fetch up to hundreds of dollars on Amazon. The two have essentially nothing in common, save that they're about death and dogs.
* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: Did Charlie really mean it when he told Itchy that [[spoiler: they'd use Anne-Marie for all she was worth than then dump her in an orphanage]], or was he just telling Itchy what he wanted to hear? Consider the guilty look on his face when [[spoiler: he notices Anne-Marie listening in on the conversation.]]
* AssPull: Killer being in possession of a ''thermal atomic ray gun'' for the purpose of killing Charlie, in the year ''1939''. Don't question how, just go with it. [[note]]Okay, there ''is'' a reason: he was originally supposed to have a tommy gun, but the recent murder of Anne Marie's actress at gunpoint made the whole thing [[TooSoon wildly uncomfortable]], so it was swapped out with something cartoony and unrealistic.[[/note]]
* SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic
** Say what you will about Burt Reynolds singing, but "Let Me Be Surprised" is pretty darn good, and works for Reynolds' singing voice rather than against it. It helps that it's a duet with gospel singer Melba Moore.
** "Let's Make Music Together" (yes, [[BigLippedAlligatorMoment that song]]). Once you get past the sheer insanity of it, it's actually a solid R&B tune.
* BaseBreakingCharacter: Anne-Marie is either a lovable [[TheWoobie woobie]] HeartwarmingOrphan, or a TastesLikeDiabetes Sympathetic Sue. She probably is the latter to Charlie initially.
** Charlie himself as well. While no one can deny he starts out greedy and selfish, there is a lot of debate from viewers over whether his CharacterDevelopment is enough to redeem himself or not.
* BigLippedAlligatorMoment: The TropeNamer, albeit [[WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick indirectly]]. While the character ''does'' come back a few scenes later, King Gator's bombastic, Esther Williams-style musical number is neither foreshadowed or even mentioned after it occurs. Admittedly, it only exists to get Anne Marrie sick after she's been drenched in sewer water -- and do be a DeusExMachina later.
* CommonKnowledge: Ironically, while King Gator's out of place music number sticks in people's mind, they generally forget that [[spoiler:King Gator ''does'', in fact, [[ChekhovsGunman return to defeat Carface and]] ''attempt'' to save Charlie (who dies from losing his life watch, nevertheless)]]. The musical number is so distracting that it's also easy to forget that the whole thing started out as an homage to ''Film/KingKong.''
* CriticalDissonance: The film was widely panned by critics in its initial release, with most making unfavorable comparisons to Disney's ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid'', so much so that Bluth's American tour to promote the film was ended very early, according to his online biography. Upon its video release, audiences were able to appreciate it without it being caught in the shadow of ''Mermaid''.
* CrossoverShip: As mentioned under FriendlyFandoms, there's a lot of crossover fan art for this movie with ''WesternAnimation/{{Balto}}'', some of which depicts Balto and Charlie [[HoYay making out]].
* EarWorm
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-g710mN4YNw "What's mine! Is yours! What's yours! Is mine! The more your share! The more the sun will shine!"]][[note]]Many reviews cited this song as the key reason why ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid'' pwned this movie.[[/note]]
** "You Can't Keep A Good Dog Down"
** And, ''Let's make music together! Let's make sweet harmony! Ohhh!''
* EnsembleDarkhorse:
** The Grand Chawhee. Bonus points for being a literal darkhorse.
** King Gator, for [[BigLippedAlligatorMoment obvious reasons]].
** Itchy; helps that he's voiced by Creator/DomDeLuise (and was the only character to retain his original actor across the whole series).
* FanficFuel: While the sequels were never meant to be a legitimate expansion of the first film's canon, fans have taken it upon themselves to connect several elements that appear across the movies and the TV show (the [[TimeyWimeyBall leaps in time and space]], the events leading to Charlie and Itchy becoming guardian angels, Carface's VillainDecay, the politics between heaven, hell and Earth) into a more linear story. It helps that the story is still fairly simple and the characters are very loosely defined.
* FirstInstallmentWins: While the sequel and TV show have their fans and are agreed to have more memorable characters and interesting stories, the first movie is generally agreed to be the only one that works as a whole move rather than a bunch of decent, disjointed ideas.
* FriendlyFandoms: There exists a lot of fanart and fanfiction which cross this film over with the Creator/StevenSpielberg-produced ''WesternAnimation/{{Balto}}'', another [[UsefulNotes/TheRenaissanceAgeOfAnimation Renaissance]]-era animated feature staring dogs. It helps that most of the animators for that film also worked on the two [[WesternAnimation/AnAmericanTail Bluth]] [[WesternAnimation/TheLandBeforeTime films]] Spielberg produced, so their character designs compliment one another to the point that many mistake ''Balto'' for a Bluth film.
* HarsherInHindsight
** A film with heavy themes of mortality and several scenes of a little girl in danger becomes a lot more difficult to watch knowing [[OffingTheOffspring the tragic fate]] of [[Creator/JudithBarsi that little girl's actress]]. Even worse, the film's plot is kicked off with a ''murder''.
** The film ends with Itchy (Creator/DomDeLuise) outliving his best friend Charlie (Creator/BurtReynolds). In real life, Reynolds outlived [=DeLuise=], who died twenty years after this movie was released.
* HeReallyCanAct
** Not that anyone doubted the acting abilities of the great Creator/DomDeLuise, but his tearful "You're my friend" speech to Charlie is easily his best performance in a Creator/DonBluth film.
** Heck, even Creator/BurtReynolds' acting is kind of underrated! Most of his dialogue was ad libbed, giving it a certain restraint and sincerity not often heard in animation, not to mention providing the animators with a very natural performance to work with.
* HilariousInHindsight
** King Gator is a [[WesternAnimation/TheNightmareBeforeChristmas big fat green overacting character voiced by Ken Page who was about to eat one of the heroes.]]
** Related, one of the supporting characters in ''Disney/ThePrincessAndTheFrog'' is a musically inclined big lipped alligator who lives in the Louisiana bayou.
* IdiotPlot: The mainspring of the plot is kicked off when Charlie, who is handed a spot in Heaven on a silver platter despite ''clearly'' not deserving it, decides he wants to take his cake and eat it too, and makes a [[TooDumbToLive profoundly stupid decision]] by deciding to forsake his place in Heaven to return to his life on Earth, and he nearly winds up in Hell as a result. While there's an argument to be made that he didn't know going back would damn him, after he finds out, he decides to spend his remaining time on Earth gambling, seeking revenge, manipulating an orphan, and generally doing everything possible to tarnish his soul. To say nothing of the fact that Heaven leaves the means to returning back to Earth laying right out in the open for anyone to use.
* JerkassWoobie: Charlie Barkin. He's a con artist and a compulsive liar but he literally goes to hell and back for the people he loves.
* {{Moe}}: Anne-Marie
* {{Narm}}: The idea that Burt Reynolds' singing is [[InformedAbility so amazing]] that King Gator decides to spare his character's ''and'' [[BigLippedAlligatorMoment do a musical number with him]]. It brings to mind [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTVIeHouYLQ a certain Spongebob gag]].
* NarmCharm: Despite its [[BigLippedAlligatorMoment infamy]], "Let's Make Music Together" is still a really good song. It helps that King Gator seems to be a nice guy once you're on his good side.
* PopularWithFurries: But of course! Like many of Creator/DonBluth's other films, this one was considered by many furries who grew up in the 80s and 90s to be their equivalent of a ClosetKey.
* TheProblemWithLicensedGames: The game on Amiga and DOS is just a collection of poorly programmed mini-games tied together with cutscenes. And the horrific ear-bleeding sound combined with the three colors it runs in practically defines SensoryAbuse.
* RetroactiveRecognition: Ken Page, who voiced the {{big lipped alligator|Moment}}, would go on to voice Oogie Boogie in ''WesternAnimation/TheNightmareBeforeChristmas''.
* SequelDisplacement: Because of the utter lack of continuity between the first film and everything that followed it, many are surprised to realize that Sasha, one of the most popular characters of the series, was not in the original, or that the Heavenly Whippet [[NoNameGiven didn't have a name.]]
* SoOkayItsAverage: Maybe not Bluth's best movie, but it's certainly not his worst. The sequel and TV show also have a sizable fan base of people who feel this way about them, saying that they have a lot of interesting ideas and characters but weak stories.
* TastesLikeDiabetes: "What's Mine Is Yours." Justified in-universe in that Charlie is not only being watched by wholesome, sweeter than sweet Anne-Marie, but the pups' caretaker -- who also happens to be an old flame of his. The pups, for their part, disregard the lesson [[CrowningMomentOfFunny almost immediately.]]
* UncannyValley: Anne-Marie sometimes falls into this (keep in mind that, video games notwithstanding, this was Don Bluth's first time animating a major human character). Of particular note is that close-up shot of her close to the end, where she looks more like a porcelain doll that a human being.
* ValuesDissonance: Itchy's stereotypical "Chinaman" gag in "You Can't Keep A Good Dog Down." The film was released in 1989, the last time a joke like this was socially acceptable.
* VindicatedByHistory: While it got mixed reviews and didn't make much money at the time of its release, the first movie has since garnered a cult following, along with a lot of viewers who see it as Don Bluth's last good movie before his DorkAge.
* WhatAnIdiot: Situating their casino out of a half-sunken ship proves to be a serious oversight on the part of Carface and Charlie, and neither escape with their lives when the ship is inevitably set ablaze and sunk.
* WhatDoYouMeanItsForKids: Undoubtedly Creator/DonBluth's least kid-friendly film, despite a few scenes that are obviously for kids. Not only does a murder-revenge gangster story include a lot of "inappropriate" stuff like first degree murder, theft and drinking but the movie plays it totally straight. That's not to mention the terrifying images of {{Hell}} and {{Satan}}, and the real clincher, [[spoiler:killing the protagonist]], which is unheard of in Western animation for children.
* TheWoobie
** Anne-Marie. The RealitySubtext doesn't make it any better.
** Itchy, after his run-in with Carface near the end of the movie. The animated series ups his Woobie status even further, showing him as being the victim of an abusive owner and in the episode "Fearless Fido", he has a PTSD reaction to ferris wheels due to a traumatic event he had as a pup.
** Charlie, though he can border on JerkassWoobie at times also counts. After being put through hell and having to say goodbye to Anne-Marie with tears rolling down his face, he most definitely needs a hug.
----

!!The TV Series
* AwesomeMusic
** "Find A Little Heaven," a sweet little gospel pop tune.
** While most of the songs in the Christmas special range from passable to awful, "I Always Get Emotional At Christmastime" is an excellent, almost Broadway-quality showstopper. It helps that both singers are Broadway veterans, and the song works in the favor of both their singing voices: not too rangey for Charles Nelson Riely, but it allows Bebe Neuwirth to give a slinky, over-the-top performance.
** And Steven Webber is clearly having fun with "Clean Up Your Act."
** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xFcl9EGIUI Itching And A Twitching.]] is awfully catchy.
* ContestedSequel: Like the sequel proper, it has plenty of dedicated fans, but is generally agreed to be extremely sub-par to the original.
* CryForTheDevil: Ghost Of Christmas Past in ''The Christmas Carol'' reveals that Carface had a rather tragic past that certainly makes one feel sorry for him.
* EarWorm: "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWbGm-P5PUY Clean Up Your Act]]."
* EnsembleDarkhorse: Belladonna, who's considered to be such an [[VileVillainSaccharineShow entertaining and compelling villain]] that many fans felt she deserved to be on a better show.
* GuiltyPleasure: It has fans who like it sincerely, but it also has just as many who don't but have a soft spot for it, especially if they're fans of the original Bluth film.
* HilariousInHindsight: Ernest Borgnine and Charles Nelson Riely play the BigBad and his [[PunchClockVillain incompetent sidekick]], respective. Two years after the series ended, they'd appear in en episode of ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'' with the roles reversed, Borgnine as [[HeroWithAnFInGood an incompetent superhero]] and Riely as one of his many nemeses.[[note]]And like the sequel, Borgnine is playing a character who is "EEEEEE-VILLLLL!!!"[[/note]]
* IronWoobie: Itchy Itchiford. There are several moments throughout the series where you'll want to reach into your screen and hug the poor guy. In a flashback episode, Itchy is forced to do humiliating tricks to a cruel master who treats him like trash and calls him stupid. There are many times in the series where Charlie will outright lie to or manipulate Itchy for his own personal gain. In the episode "Fearless Fido", its revealed that he had an absolutely humiliating date as a puppy that was so bad that it gave him a PTSD reaction to ferris wheels and let's not forget the episode where Charie uses a miracle dog tag to become human and ties poor Itchy to a post when he goes off and dines at a fancy restaurant. Yet despite all this, Itchy remains Charlie's loyal sidekick through thick and thin. Poor Itchy.
* JerkassWoobie:
** Killer is a textbook example of this, as what little menace he had in the movie is completely gone here. It's especially notable in episode "Sidekicked" where he constantly badmouths and insults Itchy yet feels depressed over the fact that his boss, Carface will most likely leave him to rot at the pound.
** Despite Charlie reverting to [[{{Jerkass}} his old ways]] for the sake of comedy, he has his moments now and then, like when he talks about never celebrating a birthday in "An Itch In Time".
** Teddy from the episode "Field Trip". Sure, he's a brat who hates dogs so much he deliberately sends them to the pound but he's also clearly neglected by his grandmother in favor of the dogs she takes care of. His tearful and horrified reaction when Charlie tells him about what happens to dogs at the pound is enough to make him change.
* {{Padding}}: Belladonna's part of "I Always Get Emotional At Christmas Time". It really has nothing to do with the plot and kind of comes out of nowhere, as the musical number is Killer's until she shows up and her part is mainly just to make it longer.
* MostAnnoyingSound: Any time a non-singing actor is given a song. It's unfortunately the only thing any of the sequels have in common with the original.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodCharacter: Belladonna. See EnsembleDarkhorse above.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot: Surprisingly, the TV series had a considerable amount of expectations from the films' small but dedicated fanbase when it first aired, and most of them were disappointed that it largely eschewed themes of mortality, not to mention turned Charlie back into an unsympathetic {{jerkass}}, in favor of mediocre SaturdayMorningCartoon antics. Most would agree that Charlie and Itchy becoming guardian angels is at least a good setup.
* UncannyValley: Owing to the show's shoe-string budget, the dog characters are all rather poorly anthropomorphized. At times, their paws look more like human hands.