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No Hollywood studio was willing to buy or distribute this 1974 family film made in Texas, but it managed to find a considerable audience anyway in the U.S. and become a minor classic under its own steam. While Benji's production values aren't everything they could be, and the acting is at best uneven, the movie is really held together by the immense charm of the unassuming mutt who plays the title character. He may not look as impressive as Lassie or Rin Tin Tin, but poor stray Benji (played by a pooch named Higgins) is as brave and resourceful as they come, especially when a couple of neighborhood children are kidnapped and in need of rescuing. And what about that romantic subplot: Benji falling for a pampered pup from the good side of the tracks. Director Joe Camp earned himself a profitable franchise with Benji and its several sequels, but it was this first film and the debut of a new canine icon that stirs pleasant memories.