101 Dalmatians Wiki
One Hundred and One Dalmatians

Movie poster

One Hundred And One Dalmatians (often abbreviated as 101 Dalmatians) is a 1961 American animated feature produced by Walt Disney and based on the novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith. Being 17th in the Walt Disney Animated Canon, the film was originally released to theaters on January 25, 1961, by Buena Vista Distribution.

The film features Rod Taylor as the voice of Pongo, the protagonist of the Dalmatians, and Betty Lou Gerson as the voice of the villainous Cruella De Vil. The plot centers on the fate of the kidnapped puppies of Pongo and Perdita.

This is not only the first piece of the 101 Dalmatians media on-screen, this is also the first Disney animated feature to full-on utilize the xerox process.



DVD box art

In 1958, Pongo is a Dalmatian that lives in a London bachelor flat with his owner Roger Radcliffe , a songwriter. Bored with bachelor life, Pongo decides to find a wife for Roger and a mate for himself. While watching various female dog-human pairs out the window, he spots the perfect couple, a woman named Anito Radcliffe and her female Dalmatian, Perdita. He quickly gets Roger out of the house and drags him through the park to arrange a meeting. Pongo accidentally causes both Roger Radcliffe and Anita Radcliffe to fall into a pond, but it works out well as the couple falls in love. Both the human couple and the dog couple marry.

Later, Perdita gives birth to 15 puppies. One almost dies, but Roger Radcliffe is able to revive it by rubbing it in a towel (because of which, they would name the pup, "Lucky"). That same night, they are visited by Cruella De Vil, a wealthy former schoolmate of Anita's. She offers to buy the entire litter of puppies for a large sum, but Roger Radcliffe says they are not selling any of the puppies. Weeks later, she hires Jasper Badun and Horace Badun to steal all of the puppies. When Scotland Yard is unable to prove she stole them or find the puppies, Pongo and Perdita use the "Twilight Bark", normally a canine gossip line, to ask for help from the other dogs in England.

Colonel, an old sheepdog, along with his compatriots Captain, a gray horse, and Sergeant Tibbs, a tabby cat, find the puppies in a place called Hell Hall (a.k.a. The De Vil Place), along with other Dalmatian puppies that Cruella De Vil had purchased from various dog stores. Sergeant Tibbs learns the puppies are going to be made into dog-skin fur coats and the Colonel uses another Twilight Bark quickly sends word back to London. Pongo and Perdita immediately leave London to retrieve their puppies. They arrive just as Jasper Badun and Horace Badun are about to kill the puppies. While Perdita attacks Horace Badun and Pongo pulls Jasper Badun's pants down, Colonel and Sergeant Tibbs guide them from the house.

After a happy reunion with their own puppies, the Pongos realize there are 84 other puppies with them. Horrified at Cruella De Vil's plans, they decide to adopt all of the puppies, certain that Roger Radcliffe and Anita Radcliffe would never reject them. The dogs begin making their way back to London, aided by other animals along the way, with Cruella De Vil and the Baduns giving chase. In one town, they cover themselves with soot so they appear to be labrador retrievers, then pile inside a moving van going back to London. As the van is leaving, melting snow clears off the soot and Cruella De Vil sees them. She follows the van in her car and rams it, but the Baduns, trying to cut off the van from above, end up colliding with her. Both vehicles crash into a deep ravine. Cruella De Vil yells in frustration as the van drives away.

Back in London, Roger Radcliffe and Anita Radcliffe are attempting to celebrate Christmas and Roger Radcliffe's first big hit, a song about Cruella De Vil, but they miss their canine friends. Suddenly barking is heard outside and after their nanny opens the door, the house is filled with dogs. After wiping away more of the soot, the couple is delighted to realize their companions have returned home. They decide to use the money from the song to buy a large house in the country so they can keep all 101 Dalmatians.


The film is a landmark in animation history for many reasons. It is the first Disney animated film to be set in a contemporary setting. It is also the first Disney film created by a single story man (Bill Peet).

Graphic reproduction[]


DVD box art (back)

The production of the film also signaled a change in the graphic style of Disney's animation. Ub Iwerks, in charge of special processes at the studio, had been experimenting with Xerox photography to aid in animation. By 1959 he had modified a Xerox camera to transfer drawings by animators directly to cells, eliminating the inking process and preserving the spontaneity of the penciled elements.

The introduction of xerography eased graphic reproduction requirements, but at the price of being unable to deviate from a scratchy outline style because of the new (and time and money saving) technology's limitations. Since the line would not have fit the "round" Disney drawing style used until then (with the exception of Sleeping Beauty), a more graphic, angular style was chosen for this and subsequent films. Rotoscoping, a technique formerly used for tracing live action human characters into animated drawings, became less important.

Another reason for its look was that the animators were used to producing sketchy drawings, as the clean-up was done in the process of transferring the drawings to the cells. With the hand inkers gone, the animation remained as the animators drew it. Later it became common to do clean-up on paper before the animation was copied, and with time and experience, the process improved.

According to Chuck Jones, Disney was able to bring the movie in for about half of what it would have cost if they'd had to animate all the dogs and spots. The studio cut its animation department after the failure of the very expensive Sleeping Beauty, resulting in a reduction of staff from over 500 to less than 100. Walt Disney, who for some years had spent his attention more towards television and his Disneyland amusement park and less on his animated features, disliked this development. The "sketchy" graphic style would remain the norm at Disney for years until the technology improved prior to the release of The Rescuers. In later animated features the Xeroxed lines could be printed in different colors. Unlike previous Walt Disney animated features, One Hundred And One Dalmatians features only three songs, with just one, "Cruella De Vil", playing a big part in the film. Even this song isn't sung in one setting (a scene between Cruella and Anita splits it into two parts). The other two songs are "Kanine Krunchies Jingle" (sung by Lucille Bliss, who voiced Anastasia in Disney's 1950 film Cinderella), and "Dalmatian Plantation" in which only two lines are sung at the film's closure.

To achieve the spotted Dalmatians, the animators used to think of the spot pattern as a constellation. Once they had one "anchor spot", the next was placed in relation to that one spot, and so on and so on until the full pattern was achieved. All total, 101 Dalmatians featured 6,469,952 spots, with Pongo sporting 72 spots, Perdita 68, and each puppy having 32.

Live-action reference[]

As done with other Disney films, Walt Disney hired an actress to perform live-action scenes as a reference for the animation process. Actress Helene Stanley performed the live-action reference for the character of Anita. She did the same kind of work for the characters of Cinderella and Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty.

According to Christopher Finch, author of The Art Of Walt Disney:

"Disney insisted that all scenes involving human characters should be shot first in live-action to determine that they would work before the expensive business of animation was permitted to start. The animators did not like this way of working, feeling it detracted from their ability to create character. [...] [The animators] understood the necessity for this approach and in retrospect acknowledged that Disney had handled things with considerable subtlety."

Voice cast[]


  • Lucille Bliss as Kanine Krunchie Commercial Singer
  • Paul Frees as Dirty Dawson; "Thunderbolt" Announcer
  • Clarence Nash as Dog Barks
  • Rickie Sorenson as Spotty
  • Unknown voice actor as Mr. Simpkins



One Hundred And One Dalmatians was first released to theaters on January 25, 1961. After its initial theatrical run, it was re-released to theaters four more times: December 1969, June 1979, December 1985, and July 1991.

One Hundred and One Dalmatians was released on VHS on April 10, 1992 as part of the Walt Disney Classics video series. It was re-released on March 9, 1999 as part of the Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection video series. On December 19, 1999, it received its first DVD release as part of Disney's Limited Issue series. A 2-disc Platinum Edition DVD was released on March 4, 2008.

The film was released on Blu-ray on September 3, 2012 in the UK, and in the US on February 10, 2015.



Blu-ray cover

One Hundred And One Dalmatians was the tenth highest grossing film of 1961, accruing $6,400,000 in distributors domestic (U.S. and Canada) rentals during its first year of release, and one of the studio's most popular films of the decade. The film was re-issued to theaters in 1969, 1979, 1985, and 1991. The 1991 reissue was the twentieth highest earning film of the year for domestic earnings. It has earned $215,880,014 in worldwide box office earnings during its lengthy history, and currently holds a 98% "fresh" rating from critics and users on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sequels and spin-offs[]

In the years since the original release of the movie, Disney has taken the property in various directions. The earliest of these endeavors was the live-action remake, 101 Dalmatians. Starring Glenn Close as Cruella De Vil, none of the animals talked in this 1996 edition. This version's success in theaters led to 102 Dalmatians, released on November 22, 2000.

After the first live-action version of the movie, a cartoon series called 101 Dalmatians: The Series aired from September 1, 1997 to March 4, 1998. The designs of the characters were stylized further, to allow for economic animation, and appeal to the contemporary trends.

101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure, the official sequel to the original animated film, was released direct-to-video on January 21, 2003.

A second cartoon series, being a British-Canadian production titled 101 Dalmatian Street was launched, set in the 21st-century London, which follows the adventures of Dylan and his step-sister Dolly. Dylan is a descendant of Pongo and Perdita, who protects and takes care of his 97 younger siblings. After first airing sneak peeks in December 2018, the series officially premiered in March 2019 on Disney Channel in the UK and Ireland, and concluded in February 2023x This show would be exclusive to the Disney+ streaming service in Canada and the US, was released on February 28, 2020. However, it aired to Disney XD in the US from March to November 2021.

A third live-action film not connected to the previous two films titled Cruella was released on May 28, 2021. It serves as a prequel/spin-off to the animated films about the organ story of Cruella De Vil.


  • The film's copyright was renewed on January 11, 1988.
  • The TV show that Jasper, Horace, and the puppies are watching when Tibbs finds them is the 1929 Silly Symphonies cartoon Springtime.
  • Several cast members from Lady and the Tramp make cameos in this film:
    • Jock is the second dog in the "Twilight Bark" chain, after Danny and Scottie.
    • Peg is seen in a pet shop window, next to several puppies (reused animation of the Dalmatian puppies barking at the television).
    • Bull is seen in the same window.
    • Both Lady and Tramp are seen in the streets of London.
  • According to a newspaper headline seen the morning after the puppies' theft, the bulk of the film takes place in November 1958.
    • However, it should be noted that this was not the first Disney animated film to take place in the time period it was first released; that honor goes to Dumbo.
  • Walt Disney Pictures logos have been seen on prints of the film since the early 1990s.
    • The 1992 and 1999 VHS releases use the 1990 Walt Disney Pictures logo at the start.
    • The Platinum Edition of One Hundred and One Dalmatians uses the 2006 Walt Disney Pictures logo at the start and at the end of the film, cropped 4:3.
      • Newer prints of the film like the Signature Collection blu-ray and the Disney+ do not have this logo at the beginning, and with just the text "Disney".
  • One Hundred and One Dalmatians has the most live-action film adaptations of any Walt Disney Animation Studios film, with three: 101 Dalmatians (1996), 102 Dalmatians (2000), and Cruella (2021).
  • To date, this is the only post-CinemaScope Walt Disney Animation Studios film that is still not cropped to widescreen for home media releases.

External links[]