Time Out says
One hundred and one little bundles of fun; enormous quantities of bog-roll spring to mind. This is Disney at his finest, and not until The Prisoner was there a work of such intense numerological significance. Sure it's wonderful to see spots on the screen, but why so many spots and why 101 Dalmatians?
This version of Dodie Smith's dognapping classic has a voice-over by Pongo the Dog to keep a tight lead on the activities of his cute human pets, the screechingly evil Cruella de Vil and her voguishly Cockney minions, Jasper and Horace. Beyond this sublimely simple alienation effect, deeper thematic concerns are run with theological significance: when to start a litter, the slaughter of animals for fur coats, the deadly opiate of TV commercials, and even a pre-echo of the cable debate (the 'twilight bark') turn and re-turn to the conclusion that we're all in some sense 'spotted', if not actually Dalmatians. There is probably not enough violence for it to be a profoundly moral film, but it is brilliant entertainment none the less.
Cast and crew
J Pat O'Malley
Betty Lou Gerson