Is Milo In Heaven, Mommy?


Columbia: Killing kitties for cashOver the decades, rumours about the existence of snuff movies has run rampant despite the fact that no evidence exists to support these dark claims. After a large amount of my own research into the topic, I’ve come up with nothing but a lot of dead ends and goofy urban legends… with one exception.

In August, 1989, Columbia Pictures unleashed on America the one and only true snuff movie ever released, a children’s movie called The Adventures of Milo and Otis, which was a revamped version of a popular Japanese film Koneko Monogatari: The Adventures of Chatran.

Debuting in Japan three years earlier, Koneko Monogatari (A Kitten’s Story) was an arty film not geared towards children at all, but adults, and as early as October 1986, mere months after Chatran debuted in Japan, reports about the animal cruelty on display surfaced not only in Japan, but elsewhere.

“Chatran’s life is full of trials and tribulations,” the UK’s Economist pointed out. “Many of them to do with being soaked to the skin, like falling over a waterfall in a wooden box or plummeting from a cliff into the sea. It is hard to see how he survived. Indeed, according to Japan’s biggest animal-rights group, he did not. Or, to be accurate, a third of the 30 Chatrans used did not.”

Columbia Pictures ignored the reports of abuse and kitty and puppy killing by the Japanese production unhindered by animal rights laws, and noted instead that the film was making huge profits in Japan. Money talks, and executives at Columbia picked it up with a mind to overhaul and Americanise the feature — as is common for most foreign films being marketed in the USA. “It needed to be tailored to American kids who watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, ” said Brandt Reiter, an account executive at Fujisankei, the Japanese owners of the film.

Fuji supplied Columbia with almost 70 hours of extra footage from which to make their own edit of the movie. The succession of abuses would now be labelled as Milo and Otis’s “adventures”, and designed to baby-sit American kids.

“Some might say we vulgarised it,” said Jim Clark (the man in charge of overhauling the movie), “but we felt it was on the arty side.”

Jim quickened the pace, added a long, exhausting sequence where the dog and cat adopt a new-born chick, brought in nutty British star Dudley Moore to narrate and do stupid animal voices, and finally removed many graphic scenes of animals fighting and other atrocities.

Astonishingly though, much of the violence and obviously snuffy footage is still clearly visible despite the fact that Columbia supposedly recut the movie for a grade school audience. The cat, renamed Milo, still takes a long plunge off a cliff into the ocean into rough ocean surf (harrowing scenes of him trying in vain to climb back up were cut), is attacked viciously by angry birds, encounters a pissed off snake, is bitten on the nose and lip by a crab, is sent white water rafting down a river in a flimsy little box, and all while Dudley Moore baby talks stupid shit like “Oh dear me! Oh my! Goodness!”

Despite its happy-go-lucky kids movie marketing, the actual content of Milo and Otis is a deeply troubling film that shows animals in obvious pain and distress, and (in some cases) the midst of horrific death. According to the American Human Society, it is rumoured that as many as 27 cats were killed in the production of the picture.

There are other animal movies from the era, such as Homeward Bound with predatory animals and river scenes, but I’ve seen both movies and compared them. From every artistic standpoint, Homeward Bound is a far inferior film, but it’s obvious (or at least it should be) when something is edited in a kids movie in a way that you know that the animals are safe. But here we see Milo floating quickly downstream in the rapids, the box ALMOST tipping over constantly, and the poor cat looking scared outta his fucking mind. There are no cuts or closeups, indicative of a faked scene.

Despite Columbia’s obvious position that there was no basis to these allegations of abuse, rumours did swirl but were seemingly quelled immediately after reviews by the Toronto Star and a New Jersey newspaper that noted:

“All [the scenes in which Milo and Otis appear to be in danger]may be momentarily unsettling for young viewers, but it’s comforting to see in the closing credits that ‘the animals used were filmed under strict supervision with the utmost care for their safety and well-being’.”

But what these reviewers fail to notice is that despite this flowery language, Columbia took great pains not to say “no animals were harmed,” which has been boilerplate language on movie animal disclaimers for as long as anyone can remember. Oddly, the American Human Society has done its bit to keep Columbia’s dirty little secret by suspiciously not including The Adventures of Milo and Otis in its “Current index of film ratings index”. Do I smell a cover-up?miloadvents.jpg

Milo isn’t the only character who is fucked with, although he does bear the brunt. Otis, the dog, is sent naked-pawed through drifts of deep snow, forced to swim to the point where the dog is obviously drowning, and in one memorable scene, is pitted against a very angry bear.

Most of the people commenting on the movie’s listing on the internet movie database are blissfully unaware of the behind the scenes story on the film they’re reviewing, calling it “wholesome” and “perfect for the whole family”, to the point where one horrified mother’s take on the film sticks out like a sore thumb:

“I’m so upset. I purchased this movie for my son for Valentines Day. I read the back of the movie before purchase, Rated G, cute little story, made by Columbia Pictures, endorsed by The Washington Post, purchased at Walmart for $5 bucks. How can this be wrong? WRONG is when my little son came running “They’re torturing the animals! I could not believe my eyes! Kittens screeching for their lives, animals yelping through out, a dog getting whacked by a bear with a sudden cut away as if the dog was killed. Animals don’t jump off 100 foot cliffs on their own. Don’t show this movie to any child!”

Another reviewer clues in as well later on down the list of comments:

“Chatran has the only merit to show how far you can go to earn a fistful of miserable bucks. Sacrificing a dozen cats who never asked for anything does not represent my conception of bringing fantasy and entertainment to an audience. There’s a difference between a horse with a broken leg and five cats thrown from a cliff until one survives and the sequence is wrapped up. Watching Chatran is like witnessing scientific experiments on animals, except here, the only goal is to make money.”

But not everyone shared this point of view. One reviewer on pointed out that “Animals Were Created For Our Enjoyment: Biblically Speaking” and that “mental torture is not possible on the animals performing in this great kids film”. He finishes his argument by chiding those who disagree with his stance; “The late Dudley Moore would never have lent his narrative voice to a movie he didn’t believe in and you should be ashamed of yourselves for thinking you’re above this highly entertaining, and animal-friendly film.”

Ashamed? Yeah, there is some shame to be handed out in this situation, but it shouldn’t be directed at the audience. The people responsible for the making and distribution of Milo And Otis know who they are. I hope they made enough money off it to help them sleep at night, because I don’t think my conscience would allow me any rest if I were them.


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  1. The movie did not receive the “No animals were harmed tag” because clearly animals were harmed in this movie. (Such as perhaps Milo hanging onto that rope, Milo’s lip being snapped at by a crab, and the bear being hit by a ball)
    The message at the end of the credits can’t just be a blatant lie. I think animals were harmed in this movie but I don’t think they necessarily died.

  2. re: The movie did not receive the “No animals were harmed tag” because clearly animals were harmed in this movie.
    yeah, the mouse that got snatched up by the owl, the fish that milo caught, the frozen fish in the lake, the carcass that the fox was eating…
    i hope we don’t only consider things “harm” if it happens to a cat or a dog, right?

  3. “yeah, the mouse that got snatched up by the owl, the fish that milo caught, the frozen fish in the lake, the carcass that the fox was eating…
    i hope we don’t only consider things “harm” if it happens to a cat or a dog, right?”

  4. The American Humane Association commented on a movie review in which I mention the rumors:
    At the time of this movies’ release, American Humane released the following statement:
    The Adventures of Milo and Otis is a Japanese production released last year in the U.S. It is an epic fairytale about the friendship between an inquisitive cat and a dog. The only characters are animals. According to the production company, they all belonged to Hata, a zoologist and one of Japan’s most noted authors of children’s books. According to information released on the film, Hata started developing what he calls “Mutsugoro’s Animal Kingdom” on his private island where he has 300 animals including cats, dogs, horses, foxes, deer, raccoons, bears, and bison. He wanted to make a film about his animals, so he hired a crew to live on his island. They spent four years, and shot 400,000 feet of film, then spliced it and made it into a picture. Hata was also the writer and director of the film. Dudley Moore did the voice-over for the animals in the American version.
    The main character is a cat (played by 27 different cats). The picture shows no animals being injured or harmed. However, before it was released in the United States, AHA heard rumors that some of the cats had died during the filming. We have attempted to investigate this through our contacts in Europe who normally have information on movies throughout the world. They had also heard the rumor, but were unable to verify it as being true. We have tried through humane people in Japan, and through another Japanese producers to determine if these rumors are true but everything has led to a dead end.
    The picture was released in Japan in 1986. The following Japanese Humane Societies allowed their names to be used in connection with the picture:
    Japan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
    Japan Animal Welfare Society
    Japan Animal Protection & Administration Society
    Japan Veterinarian Medicine Associations
    Japan Pets Association
    We will continue to seek information and will notify you if we find something that substantiates the rumors. In the meantime, if you should obtain some concrete evidence of abuse, we would appreciate your advising us. Thank you.

  5. Absolutely sickening. There is little enough empathy in mankind for men, and next to none for animals. I’m disgusted.

  6. i cant believe how ignorant some people are!! this is a terrible movie! in one scene where a pug is trudging through the snow ‘liteally’ to save its life! you can see the pain that that poor puppy had 2 endure! needless to say that the filmmakers had no use for a puppy to tired to move so they left it there to die and simply got another pug and replaced it and again once that one died of exhaustion!

  7. The standardized “No animals were harmed” banner didn’t come into use until 10 years after the film was released, so the lack of it’s use here is no evidence.

  8. The truth is that these kind of empty accusations do great harm to those that seriously investigate animal abuse. The author is a member of a community that make animal rights advocates appear to be lunatics. Because of articles like this, the general public dismisses most of the claims people who defend animals make. Shame on you.

  9. Hi Not an idiot–
    I’ve edited your comment to remove the name-calling. I’m mostly writing this response so everyone knows that part of it has been deleted.

  10. I just purchased this movie for my 6 yr. old niece today and now I am debating whether or not to give it to her after watching it myself. I remember as a young girl loving this movie but now as a vet tech I am so glad that a movie like this would never make it to film. The bottom line fact is that the movie is cruel and without a doubt animals were harmed. The cliff scene took my breath away; you can tell they used a real cat! I read on the back of the dvd that it took the production crew 4 years to complete the film. I have seen terrified, cold and abused animals come into my clinic before and the multiple animals that were USED for the film were no different. It broke my heart to see how scared these animals were! I don’t know what I’m going to do with the movie now; I feel bad spending the money on it.

  11. What creeps me up is that some kid’s mum bought him a Valentines’ Day present. What’s going on in that family :s

  12. Elizabeth Foster on

    I remembered enjoying this film when I was younger, so I recently got it from Netflix just for fun. I was absolutely horrified. People can claim whatever they want, but the sheer terror and pain the animals endure in some of the scenes in that movie are untenable. That pain and fear is real and awful to watch. As another commenter stated, the cliff scene is like watching a snuff film. It’s awful. I can’t believe the Humane Society is taking a supportive stand on this film. It makes me want to stop donating my hard-earned money to them and go volunteer with an organization that actually cares.

  13. Personally, I’m not sure what stance to take on this film. I rented it remembering this being a cute movie when I was younger, but after watching it I became concerned over the treatment of the animals. If animals were killed or not is one of the questions that so far really hasn’t been confirmed. I’ve checked through many sites to see if there were any official statements of any sort related to this and so far I have only found speculation. Many cats were used during filming and one explanation given for the 30 or so cats was that the kittens would grow too quickly during filming so they would need to be replaced frequently. I am sure this is at least partially true. However I do not know for sure if all of these kittens actually survived filming. I feel certain that some were definitely harmed and/or put in harms way (ex: the crab and seagull sequences, cliff scene). Also, parts of the film clearly show Milo in states of fright which I highly doubt was excellent acting. For example, at one point a bear climbs a tree after him and Milo’s tail becomes huge and poofy with his ears cocked back and standing on the tips of his toes in a defensive stance, something my cats only do when they become frightened. With so much speculation over this film I am surprised further investigation has not been taken. I simply wish more definitive answers were given.

  14. I like the movie, always have. But I do feel bad every time I see Milo careening off that cliff.

  15. I am just finishing watching this movie now, and I must say this article is really quite sensationalized. Dogs run in snow? With no shoes? Like they get in nature? Oh noes! I just right now watched the scene where the cat is “thrown off” the cliff. Obviously it was not at the top of the cliff, because the cut in the film starts about 10 feet above the water. The cat CLEARLY swims to shore after that drop. I think every time I see a stunt man in a movie do something that could possibly cause the death of the stunt man I am going to assume at least 27 other stunt men died to get that shot.
    If multiple humane societies in Japan tie their name to it, and our own Humane Society doesnt even have this movie listed on its questionable movie data base then maybe we should listen to them. But I suppose sitting on the internet and not doing any research what so ever makes you all experts eh? Sometimes, rumors are rumors. You know, like the definition of the word?
    Oh and yes, No animals where harmed was not coined until that same year, 1989. So to the author, no it was not a boiler plate window dressing on the end of a film, but even if it was, why does rewording a phrase that says the same damn thing matter? Oh noes, you didn’t say it just this way so it must not mean what it means literally, thats a legitimate argument? You didnt specify this, but guess what? They did specify it on Heavens Gate, and they fucking bled animals for “fake blood” and gutted them for “fake guts” to be used by the actors. I guess we can never trust that phrase again eh?

  16. “Obviously it was not at the top of the cliff, because the cut in the film starts about 10 feet above the water.”
    How did the cat get halfway up? The cut starts with the cat already falling.
    And there once was a page on the Humane Society’s site; it has since been removed.

  17. I have watched this film numerous times with my daughter (she loves it!). I have some experience in film making, though certainly not enough to call myself an expert. Also, I am an animal lover. I’ve grown up with pets (specifically cats and dogs) my whole life and have shed my share of tears with their passing.
    I have critically watched through the movie (the US version) and can honestly say that, though the animals certainly come under distress at times, there are no scenes in which either of the 2 main characters are put in a situation where they would have died. The film is shot and edited in such a way to lead your mind to think that the animals were in a more dire situation than reality.
    No doubt scenes like the cat falling into the ocean are concerning. However, I’m not one to believe a zoologist would simply turn his back and walk away and let the camera crew do the same as the cat continues to struggle to get back to safety, with no thought of helping it.
    It’s laughable to me to think someone would believe those scenes with the bear were in anyway endangering to anyone or anything. It is clearly a trained cub. The “fight” scene between the dog and bear is rough-housing (playing). During the scene with the bear and cat, the cat clearly didn’t like the bear, but that’s not at all cruel. (I’ve seen my cat act that way to his reflection in the mirror.)
    Moreover, dogs have an incredible ability to ENJOY snow! Short or long haired and even “naked-pawed”, dogs can play in the snow and cold for long periods of time, they’re built to do that. The comment that the dog was struggling for it’s life in the snow was made by someone who either does not live and have animals in a snowy environment, or is willfully ignorant.
    It’s easy to “hear” what you want to hear. If there are rumors that animals were killed, and your assumption is that many humans, especially Asians, are cruel to animals, then it’s easy to become emotional, and be absolutely “sure” that animals were indeed killed while making this movie. Do not base your conclusion on allegations.
    Based on the US version, I can easily believe that no animal was harmed, at least not in a permanent physical way. However, the cat may never want to be around a bear, or a box in a river again.
    I, for one, will reserve any change in judgment only after I’ve critically watched the “uncut” or Japanese version.
    Also, though this article is interesting, I was insulted that the author felt it necessary to use profanity. It does not communicate your thoughts any stronger, it just demonstrates that you are a poor author.

  18. You guys are idiots. I am watching this movie right now. Ok First off if you guys would actually watch and pay attention to the movie THE CAT AND PUG ARE USED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE MOVIE. I am taking film classes and we look for things just like this. Another thing you guys are so upset about the crab pinching Milo…NO PERSON MADE THE CRAB PINCH MILO. MILO IS A CAT, CATS GET INTO MISCHIEF. Im pretty sure if someone videotaped their cat getting pinched by a crab and posted it on youtube, people would be saying “hahahaha” because its not the humans its the cat! God you people need to shut up. Obviously all of these animals are trained and professional. Hmmm do your research cuz “Otis” is still alive! He did men in black! So shut up…Shove it…and think before you assume.

  19. Carol Borden on

    Hey everyone– I’m one of the editors. We’re glad to see all the discussion. Just one thing, no personal attacks or name-calling. We’re not entirely comfortable with mass, impersonal name-calling, but I’m erring on the side of openness. If things get too heated, comments will be moderated.

  20. This article showed a painful lack of knowledge and research and a painful overdose of rumor-chasing and blind assumptions.
    As someone mentioned recently, let’s take a look at the scene with the crab. Using your own tactic, author, note that in this scene there is no evidence of a cut to fake the scene. The scene begins with the cat teasing the crab, just as Dudley Moore says. Cats have a habit of batting at things. Note also that afterward, the cat, Milo, willfully places his muzzle close to the crab’s claws. As a result, the crab clamps down on Milo’s lip. Humans could have put the crab there for Milo to experiment with, though it’s highly unlikely (the scene is too random and obviously unplanned), but Milo quite clearly was at fault for the pinch on the lip.
    Yes, there were quite obviously times when the animals looked frightened or distressed. For instance, when Dudley Moore narrated “Haha! Jump in, Otis! This’ll be fun!” Milo did NOT look a bit happy. Rather, he looked very nervous, and the sounds he made during the scene are enough to confirm this. However, he did appear to calm down later in the scene. Also, please note at the waterfall scene that there was very little danger. The waterfall that Milo went down did not match the cascades that the camera displayed prior to his falling. The one he actually fell down was significantly smaller. There were no rocks or obstacles at the bottom, but only plain water that certainly looked deep enough to be safe. The most danger that could have possibly come to the cat was that he could have fallen out of the box and into the water and become quite wet. Though he was quite distressed afterward, Milo was perfectly safe.
    Prior to the waterfall scene was the bear scene, which you, author, so eagerly described as Otis being “whacked by an angry bear.” Please note, first of all, that this bear was significantly smaller than an adult. Also note that even a young bear could quickly and easily kill a tabby cat and a pug with a quick movement of its mouth. Remember that in the scene Otis was willfully swimming and roughhousing with the bear and the bear was making absolutely no motion to harm him. Even when they got out of the water and the bear came down upon Otis, the worst damage Otis suffered was a hefty paw resting on him and a large nose sniffing his hindquarters.
    Please note that the water that the animals were swimming in was always relatively calm. Even the ocean water that Milo fell from the cliff in was calm and obviously filmed during a lower tide. You described Otis as “nearly drowning.” If you place a dog of any breed in water, especially calm water, the dog will begin to swim. Otis was in no danger of drowning unless maybe the bear fell on him.
    Someone mentioned the field mouse that was carried off by the owl. To whoever that was, please report to Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel that a wolf cub starved to death because there was no food, a snake ate a rabbit, and in Africa, a lion killed a buffalo. Welcome to the wild. Unfortunately, mice are often prey to large birds and various snakes. Humans are not to interfere with the wild. If you save that mouse, then the owl may starve. As cruel as it is, the wild is autonomous and balanced.
    I would love to meet the person who said “Animals were created for our enjoyment” so that I could “enjoy” smacking him around for awhile.
    You, author, gave a very dramatic and most likely false description of a child’s reaction to the movie (seriously, what kid will run to his mother and say “Don’t show this movie to any child!”?). You described “kittens screeching for their lives, animals yelping throughout, and a dog getting whacked by a bear.” Only twice in the movie did Milo make a sound that sounded remotely panicked: when he was in the tree with the bear and when he was in the shack with another bear, neither of which did any harm to Milo, though Milo was clearly frightened of them. Have you ever seen how cats react to dogs? Their backs arch, their tails become quite bushy, and they tend to hiss. Imagine a cat’s reaction to a giant bear. Yes, Milo was clearly frightened, but that is to be expected from any domestic cat. Otis only yelped once near the beginning of the movie when a lobster appeared to pinch him in the hindquarters. However, due to the closeups and camera cuts, it is highly likely that the scene was faked.
    You mentioned an angry snake. There was one snake in the movie and though it had plenty of opportunity to strike at Milo, it seems quite content to allow Milo to bat at its head. Neither cat nor snake appeared even remotely distressed.
    Slow motion, when used with proper editing, is very capable of making distances seem longer than they truly are. When you watch the scene with Milo falling from the cliff, notice that the entire scene except for a split second at the end of the fall is in slow motion. On top of that, notice the calmness of the water as Milo lands in it. I would also like to point out that Milo appears as a silhouette for the entire fall though there was enough light to prevent silhouettes. Though Milo may have taken a fall from the cliff, it is very possible to fake such a scene. The fall obviously wasn’t nearly enough to harm Milo, as you can see the silhouette splashing through the water in the final moments of the falling scene. The only part that concerns me about that scene is that as Milo was climbing ashore, a small wave from the tide coming ashore appears to crash over him.
    If you look closely, you will notice that the birds shown before Milo’s fall were not touching him. They were flying around quite chaotically, but if you watch Milo, none of them touch him. He is obviously very frightened of all the birds, but no harm comes to him.
    Author, your review was significantly biased and terribly flawed. Your ready dislike for the movie was evident from the get go, as was your lack of research. Most of your sources do not appear to be reliable and are completely unnamed except for titles such as “The UK Economist.” You readily agreed with rumors which you yourself deemed unproven without any apparent attempt to verify them for yourself. Your lack of research showed especially with your comment that “No animals were harmed in the making of this film” was commonly used at the time the movie was filmed. As mentioned by another user in a previous post, that disclaimer was not put into use until the year this movie was released (
    It is true that AHA has had criticism on its effectiveness in taking care of animals during filmmaking, however, a little common sense goes a long way. Any such criticism had documented evidence to support it, while the claim you put in your review was, as you said yourself, an unproven rumor. Before you write another review, put aside all biases and do your homework. You are unnecessarily turning people away from a good movie.

  21. Any film student that thinks the same cat and dog were used for the entire production of this film needs to sue their film school.
    We all know that multiple animals are used for these kinds of productions, they even use multiple human babies for films.
    There are many examples of animal cruelty in this film with the cliff scene and the bird attack being the two most obvious. You can’t explain to an animal that what is happening is not real … especially when it is real.
    RIP the poor kitties and puggies that were harmed or killed during the making of this film.

  22. I loved “Milo and Otis” as a child. I just picked it up at Target for my kids, and cried the whole time I watched it. It was so painful to watch the kittens and puppies playing Milo and Otis in such obvious distress.
    I watched the “deleted scenes” and couldn’t believe that the filmmakers would just let a kitten flounder around in the ocean and continually fall back in as it tried to climb out.
    No matter how much “care and attention” was given, to deliberately cause so much distress and endangerment is inexcusable.
    To Wolfey, there is nothing to prevent a person from putting a crab and a kitten together except this: the knowledge of the nature of cats. Why would they set the cat up to get pinched in the face unless they meant for it to happen? For what other reason could they have done that? Milo is not “at fault.” The fault lies with the filmmakers who put a crab and a cat together so they could film the “hilarious” results. Same with the pug and the crayfish.
    I may never know for sure if any animals died during filming, but I know what I did see, and I am horrified by this movie.

  23. to —Kristen
    The film did not receive the “No animals were harmed” statement as that statement wasn’t even in common use until 1996, 10 YEARS after the release of Milo and Otis. That seems quite a pathetic reason to think there was animal cruelty. Surely they should be able to see into the future.
    Also to the people who think the animals lives were in danger, they clearly weren’t. Have a look at the way the box falls down the water fall, it completely defies physics. I’d say all of the dangerous scenes were altered to some degree.
    The dog on the island? It’s hardly going to die, the camera is nearby and they would have to have a boat nearby to get the dog there then tow the fake turtle.
    Finally the cat and the crab? Christ that is part of a cats inquisitive nature, a small nip from a crab is hardly going to kill it or significantly harm it is it.
    Some of you people really need to get over your obscene animal protection. I imagine you keep your animals locked up in some kind of padded room so they can’t get hurt.

  24. Thank God I never liked this movie.
    I got my mom to get for me at Wal-Mart when I was litle. It had a kitty and a puppy on the cover and plus it was on sale. When we came home I popped in in the VCR (It was forever ago) and the movie started. It all cute and sweet until the cat started going down the river, and pretty much for the rest of the movie I was crying. After that I waited like a year found it and thought I could handle the movie, but I started crying again.
    I havn’t watched that movie since.
    I guess it’s easy to watch violence and pain if you know it’s fake. I didn’t know then the secrets behind this mvie, but I was just a little girl. I don’t get those people that call this a “feel-good movie” because I remember vividly how I felt during this movie and how depressed the movie made me.
    O don’t get those people who make money off of animals (Or people’s) pain. It’s sikening. I get eating animals because that’s nature, but creating a movie and killing animals in a pointless death just so you can get yur shot it makes me so sad and angry. I mean what kind of human being would do that? Did they have any heart at all? Could they not hear that poor kitty’s cries for help?
    Thank goodness for technology nowadays. Now there is CGI and stuff they don’t need to throw innocent and helpless cats of a cliff.
    I hope thos people are living good lives. Something those poor cats wont ever get back.

  25. If director Masanori Hata is guilty of enforcing animal cruelty on the set, then I condemn it. But I cannot pretend that any animals who could have possibly died for this film died in vain, or for an unjust cause. They did not.
    Whether you disagree with the politics or not, it cannot be denied that The Adventures of Milo and Otis is a superb exercise in filmmaking.

  26. I’m not saying they didn’t harm or kill any cats/dogs But it did take four years to make the movie, so I can understand the use of so many cats so accurately show the size or the cat growing and such. Kittens do grow significantly during their first few months.
    It took four years to film what the movie showed to be one year.
    But I do suspect intentional harm. Cats don’t just jump off cliffs.

  27. If one looks closely at the cliff scene one will notice that the waves are not moving untill the cat gets about a foot from the water

  28. If one actually watches the cliff seen the cat is seen immediately starting to swim as soon as it hits the water, it’s not a “snuff” scene, the cat is not dead.

  29. @Darcie… If you knew anything about the movie you would know that it took 4 years to make.. And you claim that Milo and Otis were used throughout the entire movie?! Did they remain in their kitten/puppy state for four whole years?! O

  30. The Adventures of Milo and Otis was my favourite movie when I was around 4 around to 8 when I last saw it. I loved the fuck out of it because it taught me how to be adventurous. One day, I decided to come back to this film. This animal abuse claim caught my attention. So I rewatched a few scenes. Now that this article has my attention, my “childhood movie” is now a gunshot to the damn head. This is horrible and to think I liked it! Then again, I didn’t know better back then.

  31. Okay, I rewatched the movie. My analysis is this. Some scenes were questionable, some were confusing (like HOW DID THAT BEAR CROSS THE SEA), and some scenes looked unsurvivable (namely, the cliff scene). However, it brought back memories (I remember the scenery quite well) and the music was okay.

  32. And for the animals attacking, the bear didn’t even looked like it was bound to attack, the so-called “pissed-off snake” was a FUCKING GARTER SNAKE; they are not harmful.

    However, Otis did looked like he was drowning and that caught my attention. But seriously, whoever wrote the article, you are being overdramatic. I agree some scenes were unsettling but still “Don’t buy this for your child” sounds overly dramatic. And if you think about it, they are more disturbing movies out there that are given the approval for children like Felidae or Plague Dogs.

  33. Seems like no one really knows the truth. I am a BIG animal lover and it is one of my all-time favorite movie so I hope all those rumors are not true! 🙁

  34. Kristen: “The movie did not receive the “No animals were harmed tag” because clearly animals were harmed in this movie.”

    Actually, it did not receive that tag because that tag wasn’t a standard in the industry until the mid-90’s, and was trademarked by American Humane Association in 2000. This film was originally released in 1986 in Japan. That’s not to say there was no cruelty. There are scenes that are obviously questionable in a time where CG effects were virtually non-existent. They were investigated but no evidence turned up to support animal cruelty claims. We’ll never know the extent (if any) of the harm to any animals for this film. In any case, what’s done is done, and the Americanized version makes for a fun children’s movie that takes you through fear and sorrow and mischief and joy. Any mistakes it made won’t be repeated, so might as well just enjoy the show at this point.

  35. Anyone who uses profanity in there article and sites sources that can’t be verified and unsubstantiated rumors clearly has to authority to write an article on a subject.

  36. Carol Borden on


    Robin’s sources are identified in the article.

    The Economist (Oct, 1986)
    Personal interviews with Brandt Reiter and Jim Clark.

    You can, in fact, track down a magazine from 1986 and contact these people, as Robin did. In fact, Robin continues to interview and profile people in the film industry for his magazine, Cinema Sewer.

    This article is now 7 years old and Robin has not written for The Cultural Gutter in 5 or so years. Most of the comments coming in now are personal attacks or angry denunciations/dismissals and are generally inflammatory rather than conducive to conversation. We haven’t been posting them.

    Unless someone has something to add to the discussion in terms of facts or details, I’m closing the comments.

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