Without Family – The 1970 animated film

Without Family – The 1970 animated film

If there's one thing animated cinema does well, it's channeling the energy of human emotion through characters and plots that transcend cultural barriers. “Without Family,” directed by Yūgo Serikawa in 1970, is an often overlooked classic that deserves a second look.

An Adaptation of a French Novel

Based on the novel of the same name by Hector Malot, the film tells the story of Remigio, a child raised in France by an adoptive family. Accompanied by his St. Bernard dog Capi and other pets, Remigio travels through towns and cities in an attempt to find his mother. The film offers a sentimental touch to a child's odyssey in search of belonging.

Plot: A Journey of Hope and Renunciation

Remigio lives an apparently normal life with the Barberin couple until he is sold to Vitali, an old wandering artist. Together, they form a performance troupe with Vitali's animals, facing dangers such as hungry wolves and the harsh winter. Despite the difficulties, Remigio's hope of finding his mother does not waver.

A series of traumatic events brings Remigio into the hands of a wealthy benefactress, Mrs. Milligan. When the secret of Remigio's past is revealed, a trip to Paris becomes crucial. But reaching the mother isn't that easy, especially when there's family intrigue involved.

Distribution and Inheritance

Originally released in Japanese theaters in 1970, “Senza Famiglia” gained a new audience thanks to its super 8 release in Italy in the 70s. Since then, the film has been re-released on several formats, including VHS, Divx and DVD, keeping its legacy alive.

Why It's Worth Watching Again

“Without Family” is a milestone in the world of animation, combining Japanese culture and French narrative into a single, immersive cinematic experience. Remigio's story is steeped in emotion and drama, offering a lens through which we can explore universal themes such as family, belonging, and resilience.

If you are passionate about animated films and want a break from the more commercial titles, we invite you to discover or rediscover "Senza famiglia". This forgotten film, with its gripping narrative and emotional depth, deserves a place in the annal of great animated works.


The story of "Without Family" is an adventurous and moving tale that follows the vicissitudes of Remigio, a young boy raised in a small French town by an adoptive family. When the family can no longer afford to support him, Remigio is given to Vitali, a traveling artist, with whom he travels across France performing in street shows with a group of trained animals.

Dramatic events follow one another when, during a winter night, some of the group's animals are attacked by a pack of wolves, causing the death of two dogs and the falling ill of a monkey. Vitali decides to break his vow to never sing again and successfully performs in public, but is later arrested for singing without permission.

Meanwhile, Remigio and his dog Capi attract the attention of the wealthy Mrs. Milligan, who would like to adopt them. However, Remigio remains faithful to Vitali and refuses the offer. Shortly afterwards, Vitali dies, leaving Remigio and Capi alone.

The story takes an unexpected turn when Mrs. Milligan recognizes Remigio as the son who had been kidnapped from her years earlier. The culprit of the kidnapping is Giacomo Milligan, her brother-in-law, who wanted to inherit the entire family fortune. Remigio and Capi are taken to Paris and locked in a tower by Giacomo, who tells them the truth about their origins.

They manage to escape thanks to the help of their parrot Peppe, and after a frantic race they manage to reach the boat their real family is on, just before it sets sail. In the end, Remigio is reunited with his mother, and decides to return to his adoptive family to help them in times of economic difficulty, thus paying his debt of gratitude.

This tale is an intricate web of adventure, loyalty and the search for family identity. With dramatic elements and touching moments, “Without Family” offers a variety of emotional themes that resonate with viewers of all ages.

Film sheet

Original title: ちびっ子レミと名犬カピ (Chibikko Remi to Meiken Kapi)
Original language: Japanese
Country of Production: Japan
Year: 1970
Report: 2,35:1
Gender: Entrainment
Directed by: Yugo Serikawa
Subject: Hector Malot
Film script: Shoji Segawa
Executive producer: Hiroshi Okawa
Production House: Toei Animation
Music: Chūji Kinoshita
Art Director: Norio and Tomoo Fukumoto
Animators: Akira Daikubara (animation director), Akihiro Ogawa, Masao Kita, Satoru Maruyama, Tatsuji Kino, Yasuji Mori, Yoshinari Oda

Original voice actors

  • Frankie Sakai: Kapi
  • Yukari Asai: Rémi
  • Akiko Hirai / Akiko Tsuboi: Doormat
  • Chiharu Kuri: Joli-Cœur
  • Etsuko Ichihara: Bilblanc
  • Fuyumi Shiraishi: Béatrice
  • Haruko Mabuchi: Mrs. Milligan
  • Hiroshi Ohtake: cat
  • Kazueda Takahashi: Pepper
  • Kenji Utsumi: James Milligan
  • Masao Mishima: Vitalis
  • Reiko Katsura as Lise Milligan
  • Sachiko Chijimatsu: Sweet
  • Yasuo Tomita: Jérôme Barberin

Italian voice actors

  • Ferruccio Amendola: Leaders
  • Loris Loddi: Remigio
  • Ennio Balbo: Fernando
  • Fiorella Betti: Mrs Milligan
  • Francesca Fossi: Lisa Milligan
  • Gino Baghetti: Vitali
  • Isa Di Marzio: Belcuore
  • Mauro Gravina: Doormat
  • Micaela Carmosino: Mimosa
  • Miranda Bonansea Garavaglia: Mamma Barberin
  • Sergio Tedesco: Giacomo Milligan