A Boy and His Dog (1975) – Film Review

A Boy and His Dog (1975) Film Review bluray

Director: LQ Jones
Cast: Don Johnson, Susanne Benton, Jason Robards
Ceritificate: 15

By Roger Crow

In 2024, according to this post-apocalyptic sci-fi curio, the world will be filled with marauders and everything will be rather bleak. Of course we’ve been told that for decades in films such as the Mad Max saga, but this is apparently the movie which inspired George Miller when he created his extraordinary world.

A Boy and His Dog (1975) Film Review coverIt’s also a very troubling movie. I saw about half an hour maybe 20 years ago when it screened on the TV and always meant to see the whole thing when the chance arose. So with the Blu-ray disc on offer, I jumped at the chance.


A decade before finding fame in Miami Vice, Don Johnson is Vic, the ‘hero’. But obviously it’s impossible to root for a character intent on rape and pillaging. Blood is his dog, and they communicate telepathically. Vic is an 18-year-old idiot and Blood is the brains, so while it’s difficult to side with one, the other is the heart and soul of the movie, even if the hound can detect women for his master.

Writer/director LQ Jones, who died in July 2022, crafts an inventive sci-fi Western, and as creator of the original novel, Harlan Ellison, suffered from writer’s block while penning the screenplay, Jones adapted the source material himself.

The supporting features include a 50-plus minute interview between Jones and Ellison, and it turns out to be as interesting as the movie. There are anecdotes about how a kid was taken to see the film by a guardian who thought it was a Disney movie, which begs the question: how were they admitted? Naturally the guardian was outraged while the kid apparently loved it.

A Boy and His Dog (1975) Film Review 101 films

“Troubling content”

Ellison flags up the amount of misogyny in Jones’s movie, and Jones, the guy who used to work with Sam Peckinpah, chuckles away, not denying the fact. And yet the chat between them is a compelling look at how a movie like this gets made, especially as Ellison was one of the greatest sci-fi writers of all time who inspired films like The Terminator. (The Outer Limits episode ‘Demon with a Glass Hand’ is worth checking out).

Despite its troubling content, there are hugely touching scenes. Vic leaving a wounded Blood in the desert as he goes off into an underground dwelling, maybe for good, is heart-wrenching as the dog is getting on and needs his master to survive. He has no ability to forage for himself, let alone the fact Vic, however twisted, is his soul mate.

The payoff with A Boy and His Dog is so dark and disturbing, it begs the question would anyone have wanted to make Ellison’s proposed sequel?

Special Features:
• Newly Restored High-Definition Transfer
• In Conversation: Harlan Ellison & L.Q. Jones
• Commentary by Director L.Q. Jones, John Arthur Morrill, and Charles Champlin
• English subtitles
A Boy and His Dog is released on Blu-ray by 101 Films, £15

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.