‘Turner & Hooch’: How Does the 1989 Tom Hanks Movie End?
On July 21, 2021, Disney+ premiered its Turner & Hooch reboot, introducing the cop-canine duo to a new generation of dog lovers. In the first episode, Scott Turner Jr. (played by Josh Peck) inherits his father’s beloved dog, Hooch. However, this chaotic pup is not the same Hooch from the 1989 Tom Hanks film.
What became of Scott Turner and his four-legged partner? Here’s what happened at the end of the original Turner & Hooch.
[Spoiler alert: The following story contains spoilers for 1989’s Turner & Hooch.]
Does Hooch die at the end of ‘Turner & Hooch’?
Turner & Hooch follows the story of an uptight detective named Scott Turner (Hanks) and his French Mastiff. In the beginning, Scott can never see himself owning a dog, especially one who likes to get messy. However, when his close friend Amos (John McIntire) is murdered, he takes in Amos’ loyal pup to see if Hooch can help solve the crime. As it turns out, dogs are much smarter than Scott ever knew.
At first, Scott struggles to navigate his new life as the owner of a strong and destructive dog, but he finds help from a local vet named Dr. Emily Carson (Mare Winningham). He grows to love Hooch once he learns that he and the dog both need companionship.
Not only does Hooch help Scott find Amos’ murderer, but he also helps uncover an elaborate money-laundering scheme involving the police chief. During an intense shootout, Hooch saves Scott’s life, but he gets shot in the process.
Scott rushes Hooch to Dr. Carson, but it’s too late. Hooch dies, leaving Scott devastated. After a heartbreaking goodbye, Turner & Hooch fast-forwards some months later. Scott and Dr. Carson are now married and taking care of a litter of puppies. The most rambunctious of the litter, of course, is a French Mastiff.
‘Turner & Hooch’ almost had a different ending
Turner & Hooch‘s ending became controversial, as many fans believed Hooch should have lived. One of the film’s writers, Daniel Petrie Jr, told Den of Geek in 2015 that the filmmakers all voted to have Hooch die. However, that wasn’t the only option they considered. Petrie explained Turner & Hooch did have an alternative ending where the dog survived.
“Although we felt that the ending that’s there is the more emotionally satisfying one, we’re not completely irresponsible. We had a version where that didn’t happen and one where there was a miraculous recovery. We tested the films back to back,” he told the publication. “Two houses of identical size, in a multiplex, starting half an hour apart. So we could go in, see one ending, listen to one focus group, go in, see the other ending, see that focus group. It was fascinating.”
In the end, Petrie said the group who watched Hooch’s death had a more “passionate” response. Some disliked the ending, while others enjoyed seeing Hooch’s legacy continue with the puppy. Either way, Petrie said the filmmakers received the response they were looking for.
“It provoked this passionate response. The other screening? None of that. It was all positive but muted,” he added.
Tom Hanks said he regrets letting Hooch die
Even Hanks thought Hooch’s death was the right move. However, in an interview with BBC Radio 5, he admitted that he regretted the decision, according to Mental Floss.
“It was a Disney movie, and when we were putting it together, I stood up at a table and pounded my fist and said, in the grand Disney tradition of Old Yeller, ‘Hooch must die…’ and so they killed Hooch,” he explained. “We killed Hooch, and we never should have. We should have, I guess, kept that doggy alive, so we wouldn’t have made the children cry.”