Movie Review and Summary: Hachiko - A Dog's Story

Dog breeds: the Akita

 If you fall in love with the Akita dog breed after watching Hachiko: A Dog's Story, please research the breed before running out and purchasing one. You might end up with a lot more dog than you bargained for. If you don't have much experience with strong, dominant dogs, there are plenty of other dog breeds that would be more suitable for you and your family.

Two nights ago, my daughter brought over a movie for me to watch: Hachiko –A Dog’s Story. I was already familiar with the tale. As a former Akita owner, I had read the history of the breed and had run across the true story of Hachiko. Since the real Hachi and his owner lived in Japan, I couldn’t figure out how Richard Gere, an American, was going to pull this off.

As soon as I began watching the film, I realized that it is an American re-telling. It’s set in the U.S., and all the characters are typical Americans. I guess that’s not important. Love and devotion transcend international boundaries and cultural differences.

Gere plays a college professor who finds a lost puppy wondering around a train station. When he can’t find the pup’s owner, he winds up keeping the dog. The professor’s Japanese pal identifies the puppy as an Akita and explains pertinent facts about the breed. He also suggests a name for the pooch – Hachiko, or Hachi, for short.

Hachi and the professor form an extremely strong bond. Every morning, Hachi walks to the terminal with its owner, and every afternoon at five, the dog returns to wait for the professor.

One day the professor doesn’t return from work. Hachi waits for hours, until the professor’s daughter comes to take it home.

Every day for ten long years, Hachi returns to the station in anticipation of its master’s arrival at the train station. Vendors and employees at the terminal feed Hachi, but the dog never accepts another master. Hachi finally dies at the terminal, still waiting for his beloved master.

My daughter told me to have some Kleenex on hand for the flick, but I scoffed at her warning. I knew the story, so I didn’t think I would cry. Actually, I was somewhat disappointed with the first part of the movie. It was pretty slow in places, and I guess I wanted to see more interaction between man and dog.

The ending, however, took me by surprise. It ended the way I knew it would, but the way the movie handled it was extremely poignant. It wasn’t so much sad as it was touching, in a bittersweet sort of way.

I think one problem with the film is how it will affect the viewing public. It portrays Akitas as big loveable teddy bears, even to total strangers. The typical Akita isn’t like this. Most are very wary of strangers and are generally one-person dogs. Even though Hachi remains loyal to the professor in the movie, he allows complete strangers to pet and hug him – atypical of most Akitas I’ve known.

The fear is that this movie will start an “Akita fad.” Uninformed dog enthusiasts will run out and buy an Akita, thinking it will grow up to be just like Hachiko. They buy a cuddly ball of fur and are taken by surprise when it matures into an alpha dog with an attitude. When they discover that they have a powerful, dominant dog, it might end up in a shelter or rescue, as many Akitas do.

I'm not saying that Akitas are a bad breed. For the right owner, they make wonderful pets and companions and are extremely loyal and protective. They need an owner who has some experience with dog handling and dog training, however.

My advice is to watch the film and admire Hachi’s undying loyalty, and then go home and pat your Lab on the head.

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Comments 69 comments

ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

I hope it does not start such a trend. I do fancy this film having seen some clips and read your review. Good job


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Thanks for a good review of this movie. It's not one I am familiar with.


sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 6 years ago

Great review, and I liked your last line!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Let me know how you like it, Eth!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Pam, if you're a dog lover, you'll enjoy the movie!

Sheila, thanks a million!


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

Another film I need to see.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Yes, Sandy! Let me know what you think!


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for this eye opener. Hardly going out because of my Hub-addiction, I would have missed it. Habee, just keep me informed of the outside world hahaha


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

HH, you can rent it and watch it at home!


Michael Shane profile image

Michael Shane 6 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

I can't wait to see it! Im a sucker for dog movies...Thanks Habee!


Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 6 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

Too true, it takes a special kind of person to handle an Akita.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

If it has a dog and Richard Gere, how can I go wrong! Somehow I can't imagine Richard Gere handling an akita but that's hollywood!


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 6 years ago from Central Texas

Great review, Habee. Like you said -- Akitas are just not for everyone (and aren't Teddy Bear types). Best, Sis


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

I will try and get this movie more for Richard Gere than the dog!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Michael, so am I!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Right, Silver - an iron fist in a velvet glove!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Audrey, from what I've read, the Akita in the movie, Forrest, is an unusually gentle and social member of the breed.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

You got that right, Sis!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Ya know, Bpop, Gere looks better to me now that he's older!


Peachie 6 years ago

I loved the movie. As a person owned by an Akita I will be the first to say that I hope a fad is not started. I love my girl but they are not a dog for everyone. They are hard headed and strong willed. I hate to think of all the regal Akitas that would end up in shelters.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

I'm with you, Peachie. Shelters don't need more Akitas.


vanidiana profile image

vanidiana 6 years ago from Depok, Indonesia

A very critical view, thanks for sharing!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Vanidiana, thanks for reading!


mrpopo profile image

mrpopo 6 years ago from Canada

I was familiar with the tale, but I didn't know of the movie retelling. I found it to be a great story though, albeit tragic.

Thanks for the Hub Habee :)


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

I think you'd like the movie, Mrpopo!


ppk 6 years ago

this is realy d8t movie ...i cried yaa


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

so did I!


minatoku profile image

minatoku 6 years ago from Japan

I've been to the station where the real hachiko always waited. There's a nice statue of Hachiko and it's become a popular meeting place. "I'll meet you in front of hachiko"


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Wow - that's cool!


sameerk profile image

sameerk 6 years ago from India

very nice info,thank u habee for sharing


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Glad you liked it!


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI

I have never heard of this movie?? I am adding it to my Netflix cue immediately. Thanks for this! :)


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Let me know what you think!


kb24fanatic profile image

kb24fanatic 6 years ago from philippines

I have watched this movie and I like it a lot!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Cool! Thanks for reading!


hannahm. 5 years ago

I love this movie! Thanks for the info habee!


Micheal Johnson 5 years ago

Good movie and a nice review on it


habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Thanks, Hannah and Michael!


karen pearl 5 years ago

i love it when i watched it on youtube. i cried a lot. :'(


habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Karen, I cried, too!


KLeichester 5 years ago

I like this. Thanks.


destiny 5 years ago

hachiko is faithful,and i love him.if i get an akita-ken(akita)im going to name him Hachiko or hachi for short.


habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia Author

KL, I love movies about dogs!

Destiny, my two Akitas were awesome!


anna justin 5 years ago

it was so great

i can't really there is a true hachiko......


habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Yep! A true story!


sugar 5 years ago

he is soooo quit


ran'z 5 years ago

wat aa nice movie


sagebrush_mama profile image

sagebrush_mama 5 years ago from The Shadow of Death Valley...Snow Covered Mountain Views Abound!

I loved this movie...the kids picked it out on Netflix a while back, and it was a winner!


habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Sugar, Hachiko was a real tear jerker for me!

Ranz, I agree. I really enjoyed it.

Sage, did it make you cry??


claire 5 years ago

it's about loyalty and friend.....nice


Lea 5 years ago

I see typo error. :)


habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Thanks, Claie. I really enjoyed Hachiko!


habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Lea, I found one. Thanks!


Rupal 5 years ago

It's really i greai movie.... Every dog lover must be c this movie....


RUPAL 5 years ago

It's really a gr8 movie... Every dog lover must b c it... The dog did a wonderful job... 1st time i saw in HBO and i cried


habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Rupal, the Hachiko movie made me cry, too!


Antonio Sandoval 5 years ago

thank for post this article for all of us


Rei 5 years ago

As a dog lover i became interested immediately when i heard about the movie (and the original one in Japanese).

This movie was so simple yet so heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time, it totally caught me offguard. I think i went through a whole box of tissue and my eyes where all puffy and red after watching it! And i'm the type of guy who usually scoffs at mushy films.

It made me appreciate more the bond i currently have with our own dog (he's an adorable mini dachsie).


habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Antonio, glad youliked it!

Rei, I felt the same way about the Hachiko movie!


Adnan Abbas (Dany) 5 years ago

this movie made me cry . when ever i remember the scene , waiting outside train station , i dont know why i feel that im crying.


swati 5 years ago

hey habee, love ur review.. n yes ur rite i do feel like buying an akita dog rite now .. but i do have a lot f experiences of handling big dogs like the german shephard n golden retrievers .. but pls cud u be more specific bout the dog .. like how does it react to unknown ppl.. can it survive in summers upto 45 degree centigrates.. wat r the extra care required with it .. etc ...

id really appreciate ur word !!thanx


habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Dany, it makes me cry, too!

Swati, Akitas don't tolerate heat well. They can also be very wary or even aggressive with strangers. They're nothing like golden retrievers. These are strong-willed dogs that can be difficult to handle. Thanks for reading!


Fins profile image

Fins 5 years ago from Killeen, Texas

I can't even begin to tell you how much I appreciate your warning to people about rushing out to buy an Akita after seeing the movie; dog rescue groups are overrun with animals that were impulsively bought without enough research into the kinds of households they fit well in. Thank you for advocating responsible dog ownership (and a great movie!)


KENEXERS 5 years ago

Its so very nice movie and so amazing


Rahima 4 years ago

wowowo really


myawn profile image

myawn 4 years ago from Florida

nice hub I want to see this movie sounds great but sad I love dogs,but didn't know much about the Akita.Thanks!


mild 4 years ago

hachiko is very sad story.


Anita Slaughter 4 years ago

I watched this movie and cried Buckets!!! I think this is a very useful and interesting hub. Good advice to folks that don't know this breed of dogs, as I for one don't. You did a great review of the movie!


Aurel 3 years ago

Hiks. . .hiks. . .Hachiko make me cry. ."

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