Beethoven (franchise)

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The Beethoven film series is a series of eight American films, created by John Hughes (credited as Edmond Dantès) and Amy Holden Jones, in which the plot revolves around a family attempting to control the antics of their pet Saint Bernard (named Beethoven). The first two films were theatrical releases and all subsequent releases have been direct to video. The original Beethoven hit theaters in April 1992. Its opening grossed $7,587,565. It was the year's 26th largest grossing film in the U.S. at $57,114,049.[1]


Beethoven (1992)[edit]

In Beethoven, the Newton family finds and adopts a Saint Bernard. The family, with the exception of the father, George (Charles Grodin), becomes attached to the dog. Meanwhile, a sadistic veterinarian, Dr. Herman Varnick (Dean Jones) involved with animal experimentation is planning to kill Beethoven for his latest experiment, and George, after discovering his fondness for the dog, springs into action to rescue his pet. Beethoven was released on April 3, 1992.

Beethoven's 2nd (1993)[edit]

In Beethoven's 2nd, Beethoven sires a litter of puppies, and the Newton family tries to save them from the greedy owner Regina (Debi Mazar), who alternately wishes to kill or sell the puppies. Beethoven's 2nd was released on December 17, 1993.

Beethoven's 3rd (2000)[edit]

In Beethoven's 3rd, the dog is sent across the country in an RV to attend a family reunion. While George and his family are in Europe, Beethoven is riding with the relatives of the Newtons led by George's brother Richard (Judge Reinhold) as the family avoids criminals that are after a DVD copy of The Shakiest Gun in the West that has a computer code hidden in it. Beethoven's 3rd was released on July 25, 2000.

Beethoven's 4th (2001)[edit]

Beethoven accidentally switches places with Michelangelo, a well-behaved look-alike. Beethoven's 4th was released on December 4, 2001.

Beethoven's 5th (2003)[edit]

Sara takes Beethoven to visit her crazy uncle. The last installment of the original storyline. Beethoven's 5th was released on December 2, 2003.

Beethoven's Big Break (2008)[edit]

The first installment of a new storyline. A stray St. Bernard becomes a movie star. Beethoven's Big Break was released on December 30, 2008.

Beethoven's Christmas Adventure (2011)[edit]

This story is narrated by John Cleese, who tells of the story of Beethoven's Christmas adventure. At the North Pole, Santa is giving out jobs to over 200 new elves. One of the elves, Henry (Kyle Massey), is assigned the job of stable elf, who must take care of the reindeer. Henry objects, claiming that the job as a stable elf is unclean, but Santa did not change his mind. Henry tried making a toy one night in order to prove Santa Wrong but Henry got zapped by his own creation and inadvertently fed the magic berries to the reindeer which in turn began to fly away with the sleigh, with Henry inside it. During the flight, Henry loses Santa's toy bag.

In Wood Haven, Minnesota, Mason Cooper (Munro Chambers) is unsuccessfully trying to sell hot chocolate his mother Christine (Kim Rhodes) stops by and asks her son to watch Beethoven. Beethoven was going to star in the Christmas parade and Christine was assigned by her boss Mr. Rexford (John O'Hurley) to create a Hollywood themed float for the parade. While Mason was babysitting him Beethoven sees Santa's sleigh with Henry in it flying over the town and he follows the sleigh. He and Mason find Henry who evicted himself from the sleigh. Henry asks Mason for help in finding Santa's toy bag. At first Mason does not believe Henry is a real Christmas elf and that Santa was not real until he witnessed Henry communicating with Beethoven with a magic candy that when licked can give the human the ability to communicate with dogs.

Elsewhere, grumpy Sylvester Smirch (Robert Picardo) is the owner of a toy store called Most Wanted Toys he and his assistant Kenny (Curtis Armstrong) had been secretly stealing toys from other stores then overpricing the stolen toys. While driving on the highway, Smirch comes across Santa's Toy Bag and only realizes what it is after pulling out several toys from it to see them increase to full size. Before leaving with the toy bag Smirch is witnessed by a stray whose foot was stuck to an old mattress.

Back at The Cooper household Henry lies to Mason saying that he is a Christmas elf, one that makes toys. Christine returns home and evicts Henry because she did not believe that he was a real Christmas elf. Mason secretly lets Henry spend the night in the garage.

The next morning Henry and Beethoven leave to find the magic toy sack. Henry had a piece of fabric that ripped off of the bag which Beethoven used its scent to try to sniff out the bag's location. Mason leaves shortly after to find Henry and Beethoven after discovering that they were gone.

Mr. Smirch and Kenny decide to advertise with the toy bag but during the commercial they are interrupted by the presence of Henry and Beethoven Smirch flees with the toy bag and is picked up by Kenny shortly after thus, Henry fails to get a visual on Smirch.

Mason comes across the stray and frees his foot from the mattress the stray follows Mason and they meet up with Henry and Beethoven. The stray then reveals to Henry that he got a good visual of Smirch. They return to the garage in the Cooper's house, and while sketching out a drawing of Smirch from the stray's description Henry accidentally sets a model of Beethoven's parade float on fire. Mason is blamed for it by Christine who refuses to believe her son that Henry did it. She grounds Mason forbidding him to leave the house until New Year's because she does not believe Henry was a real Christmas elf.

Mason fails to recognize the sketch drawing of Mr. Smirch and Henry reveals to Mason about being a Stable Elf, and explains to Mason about wanting to make toys like his fellow elves but Mason reassures Henry thinking that being a stable elf is better than making toys. That night Mason, Henry, Beethoven and the stray are awoken to see Smirch's TV Ad. They are overjoyed that they know who was in possession of the toy bag.

Because Mason was forbidden to leave the house Henry, Beethoven and the stray entered the Toy store alone during business hours and Henry tries to convince the patrons that the toys were from Santa's toy bag and that Smirch had stolen them. Smirch kicks Henry out of the store. Henry then distracts smirch and Kenny by singing with a group of Christmas carolers while Beethoven and the stray steal the bag. Henry sings off-key and he is arrested for trying to steal Santa's toy bag. So this attempt to steal the bag fails. The stray is taken back to the shelter for biting Smirch forcing Beethoven to return to Mason.

Beethoven then persuades Christine to lick the Dog Candy Cane and insists to her that Mason was telling the truth the whole time. Believing that this was happening, Christine apologizes to Mason explaining that she felt scared about taking care of him by herself after her husband died the previous year. They go the police station but learn from the chief that Smirch decided not to press charges on Henry.

Mason Beethoven and Christine arrive at the store and learn that Smirch is kidnapping Henry after Henry had revealed to Smirch that the elves made enough toys in the bag for one year. Smirch believes that Henry is a toy-making elf and kidnaps him to receive more income. Smirch stuffs Henry in the toy bag and he and Kenny flee on motorcycles to the park where the parade's floats are being worked on. Smirch crashes onto the Beethoven float and is trapped in a large plastic Christmas ornament. Smirch is arrested for toy theft.

Mason then helps his mother get the promotion that she was working to achieve by adding a partnership with the ASPCA and invites the dogs from the shelter to ride with Beethoven in the parade. Late that evening Henry thanks Mason for showing him that being a stable elf is something very special. Mason thanks Henry for helping him realize that believing in Santa is not your child thing. Using the power of the magic berries Beethoven flies Henry back to the North Pole with the toy bag in a sleigh. Mason decides to keep the stray and names him Henry.

Santa makes his deliveries and gives Beethoven a ride home.

In a mid credits scene, a boy (who appeared in a previous scene) has his skateboard stolen by other children.

Beethoven was voiced by Tom Arnold.[2]

Beethoven's Treasure Tail (2014)[edit]

After getting fired from a film, Beethoven begins the long journey home with his trainer, Eddie. They become stranded in a small coastal town, where the beloved canine befriends a young boy who is searching for buried treasure.[2] Beethoven's Treasure Tail was released on October 28, 2014.


Beethoven (1994)[edit]

Cast and crew[edit]

Principal cast[edit]

Additional crew[edit]

Film Director(s) Producer(s) Screenwriter(s) Composer(s) Cinematographer Editor(s)
Beethoven Brian Levant Joe Medjuck
Michael C. Gross
Edmond Dantés
Amy Holden Jones
Randy Edelman Victor J. Kemper William D. Gordean
Sheldon Kahn
Beethoven's 2nd Rod Daniel Len Blum Bill Butler
Beethoven's 3rd David Mickey Evans David Bixler
Kelli Konop
Jeff Schechter Philip Giffin John Aronson Harry Keramidas
Beethoven's 4th Kelli Konop John Loy C. Timothy O'Meara
Beethoven's 5th Mark Griffiths Mike Elliott Cliff Ruby & Elana Lesser Adam Berry Christopher Baffa John Gilbert
Beethoven's Big Break Mike Elliott Mike Elliott Robert Folk
Paul DiFranco
Stephen F. Campbell Roderick Davis
Beethoven's Christmas Adventure John Putch Jeff Freilich Daniel Altiere & Steven Altiere Chris Bacon Ross Berryman John Gilbert
Beethoven's Treasure Tail Ron Oliver Albert T. Dickerson III Ron Oliver Chris Hajian C. Kim Miles Heath Ryan


Critical and public response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes CinemaScore
Beethoven 31% (26 reviews)[3] A[4]
Beethoven's 2nd 25% (12 reviews)[5] A[4]
Beethoven's 3rd 0% (7 reviews)[6]
Beethoven's 4th 0% (8 reviews)[7]
Beethoven's 5th N/A[8]
Beethoven's Big Break N/A[9]
Beethoven's Christmas Adventure N/A[10]
Beethoven's Treasure Tail N/A[11]

Home media[edit]

All films are available on DVD, both individually and as part of packs and collections of two or more films.

Other media[edit]


A line of toys was produced in conjunction with the first two films, and some toys are available on an ongoing basis.

Video games[edit]

In 1993, a side-scrolling video game was released called Beethoven: The Ultimate Canine Caper based on Beethoven's 2nd for Super Nintendo, Game Boy and DOS.

In 1994, a version of Beethoven: The Ultimate Canine Caper, was developed for the Sega Genesis and Game Gear.[12] Though completed, it was cancelled before release.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "1992 Yearly Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
  2. ^ a b Vishnevetsky, Ignatiy (October 6, 2014). "Inventory: A sequel to a prequel to a spin-off of Air Bud: 10 unlikely, convoluted direct-to-video franchises". AV Club Film.
  3. ^ "Beethoven (1992)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-12-20. Retrieved 2018-10-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Beethoven's 2nd (1994)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  6. ^ "Beethoven's 3rd". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
  7. ^ "Beethoven's 4th". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
  8. ^ "Beethoven's 5th". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "ProReview: Beethoven". GamePro (64). IDG. November 1994. p. 104.