Movies I Wish You Had Seen – A Boy and His Dog


So, what happens when a boy and his dog are among the myriad of victims of the apocalypse? In 1975, Harlan Ellison and L.Q. Jones adapted Ellison’s novella A Boy and His Dog for the screen.  Starring Don Johnson as the boy, Vic, and Tim McIntire as the voice of his dog, Blood, this tag team of survivors roam the wastelands of a ravaged America.

This is not just a good movie, it’s GREAT. I will admit, it’s kinda dated, but if you can get past that,  at it’s core it’s everything a good post-apocalypse move should be. Goons, reverse rape, talking dogs, a vast underground society where societal perversions abound. When was the last time you saw a movie with a hyper-intelligent telepathic dog? If you haven’t seen this movie, I dare say the answer is never.

As clear and strident a social commentary as Ellison ever wrote, this move is a fine adaptation of the source material. Set in Phoenix, Az. in 2024 (after WWIII) this movie survives and flourishes without high cost CGI Effects and vast sets. It survives on its wit. It survives with the slick acting of an very unassuming Don Johnson and, a villainous Jason Robards and a smolderingly sexy Susanne Benton as the flirtatious Quilla June.

L Q would later go on to do a myriad of films as actor, producer and director playing Pat Web in Casino, and other small but relevant parts in dozens of movies and TV series. That’s what A Boy and His Dog is, a bunch of small, juicy, relevant roles strung together by an overwhelming apocalypse and wry humor to mask the anguish that surrounds Vic. Each scene is commentary on who we were, what we are and what we are becoming. Its Harlan at his best (the film won a Hugo Award), Don Johnson at his earliest (his third movie role) and man’s best friend, Blood , as savior of us all. Vic and Blood survive because Blood is smart, period.

This Dome, sayin’: If you know Harlan Ellison’s work this movie should come as no surprise. It is a little gem upon the futuristic wastelands. Find it and see it.

2 Responses to “Movies I Wish You Had Seen – A Boy and His Dog”

  1. RDaneelOlivaw


    I actually still have this video in my collection, and remember watching it with some degree of awe the first time I saw it. Michael (the android) was certainly a frightening element, and Topeka–well, I’m sure Topeka in the 50s was NOT quite the dystopia it became in the film. Of note, I recall reading somewhere that Ellison had a falling out with the producer over the very last line of dialog in the film (“Well, I’d certainly say she had marvelous judgment, Albert, if not particularly good taste.”), which was not in his novella. Which is a shame, because I thought it was a witticism certainly worthy of Blood.

    I second your recommendation to see this movie!

  2. I never bothered to see this movie because I couldn’t imagine it coming close to Ellison’s story. I’ll take your word for it and give it a shot!

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