Dog Jack

DVD Release: January 31, 2012
Dog Jack


An adaptation of Florence Biros’ classic children’s novel, “Dog Jack” is a Civil War tale about 14-year-old Jed, a slave who escapes with loyal dog Jack to join the Union Army. Hounded by runaway-slave trackers, Jed and Jack receive the reluctant help of a troubled minister and finally reach the army of the North. When he enlists, however, Jed finds that he must confront not just the forces of the Confederacy but also the prejudices of his fellow soldiers. Jed’s trials continue in a dramatic climax, when the young soldier faces his former master on the battlefield and must grapple with hard, surprising truths about his own past. “Dog Jack” is inspired by the historical true-life adventures of the beloved canine mascot of the Pennsylvania 102nd, who was so prized by his regiment for his skills in battle that he was twice exchanged for Confederate prisoners of war.

Dove Review

Here is a realistic and gritty movie which vividly portrays the Civil War, particularly the fight to end slavery. The film begins by stating it is based on true events. Despite several realistic moments of battle, including men being shot, some blood spilled, wounds, and racial attitudes, the movie also portrays forgiveness and God’s love in a very powerful way. Louis Gossett Jr. voices the narration for the film.

Make no mistake about it. The movie contains war scenes and some violence, but never quite crosses our acceptability level. There is some blood and wounds seen here and there, but they are not gratuitous, nor is the film simply violent. The story focuses on a former slave named Jed, who was raised in a slave owner’s home, General Eli Cooper. Eli’s son Kirk always got along with Jed and Eli himself always treated Jed better than any other slave. However, Eli also beat Jed’s father a lot. When the last beating results in his father’s death, Jed decides he’s seen enough and joins the army so as to be on the Northern side of the equation. His mother tells him, as she hands him a cross, to not forget the Lord. He learns a lot as a man who protected him when he ran away, Rev. Stewart, joins up with him and shares various trials and small victories.

Ultimately Jed learns a secret that rattles him and he eventually meets up with General Cooper, face to face, though on opposite sides. His conversation with Rev. Stewart about forgiving General Cooper is his ultimate challenge. The reverend believes that God and Christ can give Jed the power he needs to forgive.

The movie contains a powerful conclusion. It contains a strong theme of forgiveness, and we are pleased to award this film our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal.

Content Description

Sex: It's learned a slave owner had relations with a slave and fathered a son.
Language: None (A couple of words are muted).
Violence: Talk of a master whipping his slave; a man is whipped and blood seen on his back and the slave dies; guns held on several characters; fighting and battles which includes several men being shot with a few having blood and wounds seen on screen; a couple of dead slaves seen from a distance slung over horses as their master killed them and retrieved the bodies after they ran off to join the war; a man boasts about stabbing rebels; a few characters are slapped including a boy as a man believes he stole his watch but learns he didn't and he is sorry; two boys get in a fight and one boy is kicked a couple of times; boy shot in leg; a young man who is shot and dying wants to believe his blood was spilled for a good reason and that slaves will be freed; a barn is set on fire and those who did it are caught; a character is shot near the end of the film.
Drugs: Wine is seen on table; it's mentioned a man was drying the tobacco in his tobacco barn; a character drinks and is drunk and mentions his whiskey.
Nudity: None
Other: A few characters tell lies; a minister says a black boy is an altar boy and he isn't but he is trying to protect him from some white bounty hunters; a character encourages a boy to steal but the boy wants to do what is right; inspiring themes of forgiveness and a chaplain who hasn't prayed since his wife died renews his faith and prays again; a character is heard vomiting.


Company: Screen Media
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 113 min.
Industry Rating: PG-13
Starring: Louis Gossett, Jr., Ben Gardner, and Ken Craig
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter