One Hundred and One Dalmatians

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One Hundred and One Dalmatians is the first film in the 101 Dalmatians franchise. Released on January 25, 1961 by Buena Vista Distribution (now known as Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures), it is produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios (known as Walt Disney Productions at the time), and was directed by Wolfgang Reitherman, Clyde Geronimi and Hamilton Luske with the script and storyboards by Bill Peet. It is based on the 1956 novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith.


Aspiring songwriter Roger Radcliffe lives in London, in a bachelor flat with his pet dalmatian dog, Pongo. Deciding both need female companions, Pongo turns to spying out the window for a suitor. Observing a woman named Anita and her Dalmatian Perdita, he drags Roger to the park to arrange a meeting. Roger and Anita fall in love and soon get married with Pongo and Perdita attending.

The pair hires a nanny and moves to a small townhouse near Regent's Park. After Perdita becomes pregnant with a litter of 15 puppies, Anita's arrogant, psychopathic, fur-obsessed former schoolmate, Cruella de Vil, arrives and inquires about the arrival of the puppies, causing fear and distrust in the family. Roger responds by writing a jazzy song mocking her. When the puppies are born, Cruella returns, demanding to buy the puppies. Roger finally stands up to her and denies her request. Before leaving, Cruella, refusing to take no for an answer, vows to get revenge.

A few months later, Nanny puts the puppies to bed after a night of watching television, while Pongo and Perdita go for a walk with Roger and Anita at the park. Brothers Horace and Jasper Baddun, two burglars secretly hired by Cruella, pose as repair men from an electric company and steal the puppies. The Radcliffes respond by enlisting Scotland Yard and putting out newspaper advertisements. Roger immediately suspects Cruella, but a police investigation offers no evidence against her.

During a walk in the park, Pongo contacts Danny the Great Dane at Hampstead, who forwards his request for help to dogs all over England via the Twilight Bark gossip chain. In Withermarsh Green, Old Towser the bloodhound notifies the Colonel, a Sheepdog, and his cat friend Sgt. Tibbs. Both investigate the nearby "Old De Vil Place," where puppies had been heard barking two nights earlier. Tibbs sneaks inside and escapes nearly being killed by Jasper. The Colonel sends word back to London that the puppies are found. Pongo and Perdita leave through a back window and begin a long cross-country journey, crossing a flooded and icy river and running through the snow towards Suffolk.

Meanwhile, Cruella tells the Baddun brothers the police are approaching, ordering them to get rid of all the dogs by dawn. After she leaves, Tibbs helps the puppies escape through a hole in the wall, but the Baddun brothers notice and give chase. The Colonel meets up with and notifies Pongo and Perdita, who attack the Badduns, destroying part of the house and giving the puppies time to flee. Pongo and Perdita reunite with their litter at Colonel and Tibbs' home farm, only to discover there are 84 more puppies with them. After Tibbs explains that Cruella intends to make coats out of the puppies, Pongo and Perdita agree to take all 99 home with them.

The Dalmatians start their homeward trek, pursued by the Baddun brothers. To avoid leaving tracks, the dogs cross the frozen creeks. They shelter from a blizzard in a dairy farm with a friendly collie and some cows, then make their way to Dunsford, where they meet a Black Labrador waiting for them in a blacksmith's shop. Cruella and the Baddun brothers catch up, so Pongo has his entire family roll in a sooty fireplace to disguise themselves as other Labradors. The Labrador helps them board a moving van bound for London, but melting snow falls on Lucky and exposes his spots. Cruella pursues and tries to ram the moving van off the road. The Baddun brothers, in their truck, attempt likewise but accidentally smash into Cruella's car instead, sending both their vehicles into a ditch. The moving van continues to London as Cruella throws a tantrum, with an exasperated Jasper telling her to be quiet.

In London, a melancholy Nanny and the Radcliffes try to enjoy Christmas, and the wealth they have acquired from the song about Cruella, which has become a big radio hit. The soot-covered Dalmatians suddenly flood the house. Upon removing the soot and counting the massive family of dogs, Roger chooses to use his songwriting royalties to buy a big house in the country, forming a "Dalmatian Plantation." All the dogs of London begin barking, celebrating the return of the Dalmatian puppies and their parents.


  • The copyright of the film was renewed in 1988.