When 5-year-old Dot finds herself lost in the Australian bush, a red kangaroo who has lost her joey (baby kangaroo), promises to help Dot find her way home. In the process, the kangaroo introduces Dot to a number of other animals, teaching her a greater appreciation for nature.
- Barbara Frawley as Dot
- Joan Bruce as the Kangaroo and Dot's Mother
- Spike Milligan as Mr. Platypus
- June Salter as Mrs. Platypus
- Ross Higgins as Willie Wagtail
- Ron Haddrick as Dot's Father
- Lola Brooks
- Peter Gwynne
- Richard Meikle
Yoram and Sandra Gross wanted to make an Australian animated feature for the world market. They read a series of books before deciding on Dot and the Kangaroo. Two thirds of the budget was provided by the Australian Film Commission.
The movie backdrop was filmed on location in and around Jenolan Caves and the Warragamba Dam Catchment Area of the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, Australia. Although the film uses many of the same elements as other animated children's musicals involving animals, such as many of the Disney classics from the United States, the film is essentially Australian in its use of icons and accents. It also references Indigenous Australian culture in some scenes which depict animation of cave paintings and aboriginal dancing.
The movie featured an original soundtrack including several lyrical melodies composed by Bob Young, John Palmer, and Marion Von Alderstein, while Bob Young provided additional lyrics, and they were recorded by Maurie Wilmore.
- Lyrics by John Palmer
- Quark Ducks
- The Bunyip
- Platypus Duet
- Click-ity Click
- In the Kangaroo Pouch
- Lyrics by Marion Von Alderstein
- I'm a Frog
The film was a success, being screened around the world and returning its cost within three years. It allowed Yoram Gross to enlarge his production company and market his family films in the United States. Additionally, the film's use of animation set against photographic backgrounds established the style for many of his later films.
In the 1980s, the first seven films were released on VHS in the United States, the first one by Magnetic Video, the next two by CBS/Fox Video and the next four by Family Home Entertainment. A DVD version of the film was released on October 30, 2001 by Hen's Tooth Video. In Australia there is a complete series DVD set of all the Dot films. They also were released on DVD on Digiview Entertainment. One of them is the first film which was released in 2005 by Digiview Productions and re-released in 2006 by Digiview Entertainment. The first film was also treated as a public domain film in the United States, though it remains copyrighted.
The Yoram Gross Studios followed up the first film with another eight movies between 1981 and 1994. The theme behind all of the films in the Dot series is the negative impact of humanity on animal life in nature. The sequels are as follows: