Dr. Dolittle is a 1998 American fantasy comedy film directed by Betty Thomas, written by Larry Levin and Nat Mauldin, and starring Eddie Murphy in the titular role. The film was inspired by the series of children's stories of the same name by Hugh Lofting, but used no material from any of the novels; the main connection is the name and a doctor who can speak to animals, although the pushmi-pullyu, a much-loved feature of the books, notably makes a very brief appearance in a couple of scenes.
The first novel had originally been filmed in 1967 as a musical under the same title, a closer (albeit still very loose) adaptation of the book. The earlier film was a box office bomb, but still remains a cult classic and a two-time Academy Award-winner. Although the 1998 film was rated PG-13 by the MPAA, it was marketed as a family film.
The 1998 film was a box office success, despite mixed reviews from critics. The film's success generated four sequels; Dr. Dolittle 2, Dr. Dolittle 3, Tail to the Chief, and Million Dollar Mutts, the latter three being direct-to-video.