If you read the plot synopsis of All Dogs Go to Heaven, it wouldn't seem like a kids' movie. The Don Bluth film follows ex-con dog Charlie and his life in the seedy underbelly of 1930s New Orleans. Set in smoky racetracks, neon-tinged bars, and literal hell, All Dogs Go to Heaven feels more like a Scorsese mob thriller than a heartwarming story about a dog learning how to be good.
Charlie And Itchy Escape Doggy Death Row
When audiences first meet Charlie, he and his pal Itchy are working hard digging a tunnel. The two are busting out of the pound, as Charlie claims he is innocent of an unnamed crime and doesn't belong on death row. The two burst a pipe, nearly drowning them.
They burst out of the ground as water spews out above them and human guards attempt to pump them full of lead.
The Dogs Are All Drunken, Cigar-Chomping Gamblers
Charlie and his ex-partner, a cigar-chomping Bulldog named Carface, own a seedy club for dog criminals. Their patrons indulge in everything from betting on a literal rat race to booze to "skirts." The dogs use meat as currency and spend their off-time in an inebriated haze.
Some dogs even beg for the chance to gamble even though they are already in debt and are forcibly removed from the casino.
The Doggie Police Are Corrupt
Charlie walks into his old joint just as a rat race is starting. The winner, Squad Car, is praised by his owner, who also happens to be a cop.
Carface is rigging all of the races, and the cop's win insinuates some shady behind-closed-doors deals between an officer of the law and a mob boss.
Charlie's Ex-Partner Conspires To Take Him Out
After Charlie and Itchy's escape, the two make their way to a riverboat casino that caters to stray dogs, who are likened to criminals. Charlie is ready to rejoin the business with his partner, Carface, but Carface has other plans. Since Charlie's departure, Carface has found a way to fix the races, and he intends to keep the earnings - prime ribs and filet mignons that somehow never rot - for himself.
Carface talks to his crony Killer, who then puts together a plan to off Charlie.