The Underdog, Perseverance, and a Furry Friend

I saw Arthur the King in the theater with my son and husband with tickets that our family bought and paid for. I do this as a service to the Christian community. In this Arthur the King Christian Movie Review & Parent Guide, I give you the information you need before viewing this movie with your children.

Who doesn’t love a good movie about an underdog? Especially when the underdog is a dog. While this film takes you on an adventure to see sights and sounds with a heartwarming blend of faith, adventure, and an unexpected furry friendship, ‘Arthur the King’ brings to the screen a “based on a true story” tale that promises to tug at the heartstrings of viewers. 

At the core of this narrative, we find Mark Wahlberg, who plays Michael Light. He steps into the shoes of an adventure racer, navigating not only the rough terrains of a grueling endeavor but also the challenges of forming an unbreakable bond with a stray dog that unexpectedly becomes part of his journey.

Additionally, Simu Liu and Nathalie Emmanuel add depth and dynamics to the unbelievable underdog story, whose portrayals add layers of emotional and moral complexity to the screenplay by director Simon Cellan Jones. 

This movie intricately weaves the realms of high-stakes races with the innate desire for companionship and redemption, making ‘Arthur the King a compelling watch for dog lovers, adventure aficionados, and anyone in need of a story about last chances and new beginnings.

Key Takeaways:

  • ‘Arthur the King’ is a heartwarming narrative blending faith, adventure, and a stray dog’s companionship.
  • The film stars Mark Wahlberg, Simu Liu, and Nathalie Emmanuel, directed by Simon Cellan Jones.
  • It compellingly portrays the interplay between high-stakes races and the bonds of companionship and redemption.
Arthur the King movie poster. Stars Mark Wahlberg as Michael Light

Arthur the King Christian Movie Review

Studio Synopsis:

Over the course of ten days and 435 miles, an unbreakable bond is forged between pro adventure racer Michael Light (Mark Wahlberg) and a scrappy street dog companion dubbed Arthur. Based on an incredible true story, ARTHUR THE KING follows Light, desperate for one last chance to win, as he convinces a sponsor to back him and a team of athletes (Simu Liu, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Ali Suliman) for the Adventure Racing World Championship in the Dominican Republic. As the team is pushed to their outer limits of endurance in the race, Arthur redefines what victory, loyalty and friendship truly mean.

My Synopsis:

Arthur the King is based on the true story of Swedish racer Mikael Lindnord and a dog he names King Arthur. In the movie, the key player’s name is changed to Michael Light, and he claims he is not a dog person. Light, who has never come in first place, has been giving a last shot at winning the Adventure Racing World Championship in the Dominican Republic. He puts together a team, and with only weeks to train for the 435-mile journey, they seem to be the underdogs.

When the race begins, they are befriended by a mangy dog who looks like his days are numbered. However, Arthur’s determination helps propel the team toward what looks like a victory. 

Arthur the King Christian Review – What Parents Want to Know


While this movie could have easily had a PG rating, it was rated PG-13 for foul language. Of course, it has one obligatory f-word that most PG-13 movies include.

Other instances of language include b-tch, multiple d-mn, d-ck, multiple uses of a-s and s-it, a-hole, and h-ll. Furthermore, there are multiple instances of taking God’s name in vain, and Jesus’ name was used. Someone refers to a man’s “testicles” – “you have church bells for nuts.”


While there is virtually no physical violence, there is a tense sequence that involves a broken zip line. Additionally, early in the movie dogs chase Arthur and are shown growling.

One character vomits and is dehydrated during the race. Another character is shown limping.

Spiritual Content:

Light and his family sit around a table and hold hands. They are not shown praying, but rather as if they are ready to pray.

A person comments about the dog having “wings.” And the team realizes that there is no way that the dog could have crossed the jungle and caught up to the team. They don’t use the word “miracle,” but the implication is there.

Other Content:

Arthur is a dog that is not well. Often, he is seen limping and with multiple wounds. Additionally, someone comments that he smells like rotting flesh. 

Much of the area where Arthur lives and roams looks run down and in bad shape.

One character has a bad knee and is shown taking what looks to be Advil or some other pain reliever. 

This film shows the adverse effects of social media, even on adults. Michael looks at an Instagram post from his last race where he is stuck in the mud and keeps reliving that moment. He doesn’t want to be remembered for that mistake. 

In a discussion with Chik, Michael shares that he has financed part of the race with his own money. Chik questions the sanity of Michael’s wife, “I always thought she was the smart one,” and Michael responds, “She married me.”

There is a scene towards the end of the movie that seems to be the end of the road for Arthur. Michael struggles with the decision to euthanize Arthur but eventually decides to fight to get him home to the United States, where he can get better care.

2 men in a yellow canoe paddling with a dog in the middle of the canoe. Simu Liu as Leo and Mark Wahlberg as Michael in Arthur the King.
Simu Liu as Leo and Mark Wahlberg as Michael in Arthur The King. Photo Credit: Carlos Rodriguez

Positive Content:

While the team wants to win at all costs, including risking their own life and health, they willingly go back to save Arthur. 

Furthermore, Michael’s daughter paints his nails pink. He brings the pink nail polish with him on the race.

A woman is shown lying in bed with her daughter. Her leg is out of the covers. Some women are shown in sports bras. Additionally, Michael is shown without a shirt on.

An Odd Fellow: The Stray Dog at the Heart of the Tale

In the heart of ‘Arthur the King,’ a stray dog unexpectedly becomes more than just a companion; he emerges as a pivotal character that profoundly transforms the lives he touches. As a scrappy street dog companion to the team of athletes, this odd fellow from the streets of Santo Domingo encapsulates themes of loyalty, bravery, and the essence of giving second chances. The bond formed between the racers, especially Michael and the dog, showcases the power of love and resilience against all odds. 

The stray dog, blending seamlessly into the narrative, becomes a beacon of hope and courage, encouraging us to see beyond our challenges and to embrace the unlikely heroes among us. Additionally, through this partnership, we are reminded of the incredible capacity of animals to change human lives, reinforcing that sometimes, it’s the most unexpected encounters that lead us to discover our own greatness.

Teachable Moments in Arthur the King

In one very touching scene, the Light racing team is asked what their why is. We have already heard Michaels why earlier in the film, but one other member of the team mentions her cancer-stricken father. Moreover, talk about your why with your children. Why do you homeschool? Why do you believe Jesus is the son of God? And why do you work hard to provide for your family?

For example, why do I pay out of pocket to do movie reviews? I was traumatized by several movies as a young child, and I want to prevent other children from experiencing that trauma.

Additional discussions can include legacy. In one scene, a statement is made: “Your real legacy is waiting at home.” What does legacy mean?

Discuss extreme sports with your child and the dangers of extreme sports. Many of these sports carry real hazards. Additionally, sometimes children watch something and try it at home. Also, make sure your children understand that they cannot attempt to do these things on their own, and they need adults present to attempt certain activities. 

A scrappy looking mutt dog sits on a muddy path in a forest. Arthur the King
Arthur The King. Photo Credit: Carlos Rodriguez

Arthur the King Christian Review – My Viewing Recommendations

While this is an inspiring film about a man and a dog on a journey of self-discovery, it easily could have been a PG film that the whole family could have enjoyed. It is a cross between Homeward Bound and The Amazing Race. However, with the inclusion of excessive foul language, I do not recommend this movie for those under the age of 12. While you may argue that children already hear that language on the bus and in school, I will counter-argue and say that you are their guide, and what you put before them carries even more weight than what the world gives them.

In ‘Arthur the King,’ we are presented with a tale that transcends the mere cinematic experience, touching upon the profound layers of emotional depth and moral messaging inherent in the bond between humans and animals. It’s more than just a movie; it’s a call to reflect on the significant role animals play in our lives, urging us to consider the impact of our actions on these loyal beings.

The narrative beautifully concludes, affirming the film’s capacity to leave an indelible mark on its audience, igniting a flame of awareness and compassion that resonates long after the credits roll.

While the Rotten Tomatoes critic score is only at 47%, the audience score is 94%. Will this film win “Best Picture?” No! But it does win at feel-good entertainment.

Men riding bicycles along a jungle path
Ali Suliman as Chik and Mark Wahlberg as Michael in Arthur The King. Photo Credit: Carlos Rodriguez

About the Movie:

Rating: PG-13 for some strong language

Release Date: March 15, 2024

Runtime: 1 hour, 47 minutes

Genre: Adventure

Studio: eOne, Tucker Tooley Entertainment, Mark Canton Productions, Municipal Pictures

Directed by Simon Cellan Jones

Screenplay by: Michael Brandt

Based on the book Arthur: The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home by Mikael Lindnord

Produced by: Tucker Tooley, Mark Canton, Courtney Solomon, Tessa Tooley, Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson

Edited by: Gary D. Roach

Music by: Kevin Matley

Distributed by: Lionsgate

The Cast of Arthur the King

Mitchel Light played by Mark Wahlberg

Helen played by Juliet Rylance

Ruby played by Cece Valentina

Leo played by Simu Liu

Olivia played by Nathalie Emmanuel

Chil played by Ali Sullivan

Bear Grylls played by himself

Charlie played by Paul Guilfoyle

Decker played by Rob Collins

John played by Alain Ilongwe

Santiago played by Roger Wasserman

Hugo played by Oscar Best

Frequently Asked Questions:

Where Can I watch King Arthur? 

The new Mark Wahlberg movie was released into theaters on March 15, 2024. In fact, this dog movie can be seen in theaters across the United States. 

Is Arthur the Dog still alive? 

No. Arthur died in 2020.

Who is Michael Light? 

While Michael Light is based on the true story of Mikael Lindnord, his name was changed to Americanize the story.

Are there end-credit scenes?

There are not typical end-credit scenes but stick around during the end-credits to see photos of the real Mikael and footage of the dog named Arthur. Additionally, there are photos of Mikael’s family including Michael’s wife Helena.

Arthur the King Christian Movie Review

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