Solid, if slightly old-fashioned, kids' entertainment, based on Ouida's classic 1872 novel. Illiterate orphan Nello (Jesse James and, later, Jeremy James Kissner) is being raised by his impoverished but loving grandfather (Jack Warden) in the picturesque 18th century Flemish countryside. One afternoon, while peddling milk, Nello and his grandfather happen upon a chocolate-brown Dog of Flanders (a breed more commonly known as Bouvier des Flandres) left for dead on the side of the road by its cruel master. Nello takes the dog home and nurses it back to health, and they're soon inseparable. When Nello's grandfather falls ill, the dog, whom Nello names Patrasche after his beloved late mother, pulls the milk-cart as Nello carries on with deliveries. Though happy, Nello has aspirations: He wants to be an artist, and with the encouragement of esteemed painter Michel La Grande (Jon Voight), Nello enters the Peter Paul Rubens Young Artists Competition in nearby Antwerp. But winning in only one of Nello's worries. His grandfather is growing sicker by the day, and he's been forbidden to see his young girlfriend by her prosperous father Carl Cogez (Steven Hartley), who is also married to a good friend (Cheryl Ladd) of Nello's late mother. Younger kids weaned on whiz-bang films like INSPECTOR GADGET may fidget — there's a lot of talk here about God, art and artistic vision — but there's no denying the film's solid moral values: Money corrupts, and class discrimination is bad. This timeless story has been filmed three times before (first as a silent in 1914, and most recently in 1959, coincidentally starring Ladd's ex-husband, David Ladd, as Nello) and in 1975 it served as the basis for a popular 52-episode Japanese animated series. The tale still holds considerable appeal, and is well worth telling once again.