Air Bud is a 1997 American family comedy film that sparked the franchise centered on the real-life dog, Buddy, a Golden Retriever. The film's title is a wordplay on "Air Jordan", a nickname of basketball superstar Michael Jordan. It is the first film to be distributed together by longtime animation rivals Walt Disney Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures, albeit in different territories (Disney handled US distribution, while Warner handled international distribution).
The original film was financially successful, grossing US$4 million in its opening weekend and totaling US$23 million for its final run, against an estimated $3 million budget.
- Ain't no rules says a dog can't play basketball.
- [on the phone with an agent] Oh, wait, the Oprah woman... Oprah, you know, the Oprah woman, she likes dogs? I'd LOVE to do Jay Leno! [puts a can on a stack of other cans and the stack collapses. Snively notices Josh releasing Buddy from the chain] Hey! Get back here with my dog! [hangs the phone and runs after Josh and Buddy]
- [on the phone] No, no, I don't want my dog doing beer commercials.
- By the powers invested in me, I award custody of the dog to Josh Framm! [bangs his gavel] Case closed, thank God!
- [just after Josh did a light quick kiss, on her forehead, as he was about to leave the house] What's with Josh?
[courtcase of Snively vs. Framm just started and Timberwolves coach Arthur Chaney just walked into the courtroom, unexpectedly]
- Arthur Chaney: Why not let the dog choose, your honor? They say a dog is man's best friend. If that's the case, shouldn't the dog be able to choose who he wants to be friends with?
- Judge Cranfield: Who are you, Barnum or Bailey?
- Arthur Chaney: Arthur Chaney, your honor.
- Judge Cranfield: Mr. Chaney, do your reali... [stammers in shock] Arthur Chaney? New York Knicks, '56? Huh, I was at that Celtics game where you did the turn-around jumper, at the buzzer. [light chuckle] I spilled beer all over my wife.
[light laughter in the courtroom]
- Bailiff: Your honor?
- Judge Cranfield: What? Oh, yes, yes, yes. [clears his throat Bangs Gavel. Buddy barks] Mr. Chaney.
- Arthur Chaney: Well, I've been thinking. This dog is what, three, four years old. That makes him an adult, in our years. I say let Buddy decide.
[court members murmur]
- Judge Cranfield: Mr. Chaney, during my 40 years on the bench, I have heard a lot of lamebrain cockamanie proposals. But this one I like.
- Josh Framm: [a day or two after Principal Pepper fired Coach Barker; knocks on her office door] Mrs. Pepper?
- Principal Pepper: Mm-hmm.
- Josh Framm: Um, have you found a basketball coach yet?
- Principal Pepper: Mm-hmm. Yes, Larry's father volunteered. Just until we find a new P.E. teacher.
- Josh Framm: [starts to leave, but then goes back to her door] Okay.
- Principal Pepper: Mm-hmm.
- Josh Framm: [opens her door, the second time] Would it be weird, if I make a suggestion?
- Jackie Framm: [just after lightly hitting Buddy's cage, and opening it, in the street] Is everyone okay?
- Andrea Framm: [in the car seat] No.
- Referee #1: Does he dribble?
- Arthur Chaney: No, but he might drool a little bit.
- Musical Band Teacher (cameo): [Josh is trying to play a trombone] No, no, no. Don't blow so hard. [Josh blows his trombone softer] Okay, blow a little harder. [Josh then blows the trombone's slide completely out; it falls to the ground, then other classmates and band members laugh at him]
- Judge Cranfield: Next case: Snively vs. Framm. This one of your high-profile divorce cases?
- Bailiff: No, sir. Custody.
- Judge Cranfield: Oh, custody. [then sees Buddy, unchained, in his courtroom] Holy Toledo! What is that dog doing in the courtroom?
- Bailiff: That's the uh, "child", sir.
- Judge Cranfield: That's a pretty ugly kid.
[courtroom attendants laugh at his remark]
- Bailiff: It's a dog.
- Judge Cranfield: What?
- Bailiff: The case is about custody of a dog.
- Judge Cranfield: All right, I'll take it, but we have to do this seriously. I will not have my courtroom turned into some kind of circus. [Norman Snively walks into the courtroom, dressed as a clown, shocking Judge Cranfield] Who the hell are you?
- Norman Snively: Mr. Norman F. Snively. I'm the plaintiff.
- Judge Cranfield: You look like an idiot!
- Norman Snively: Why, thank you, sir.
- Josh Framm: [starts looking for Buddy after he wakes up Christmas morning] Buddy. [not seeing him under the bed where he expected] Buddy? [leaps out of bed alarmed by not finding him] Buddy!
- Jackie Framm: [Josh runs downstairs, finds Buddy, beside Jackie, with a Christmas ribbon on his forehead] Merry Christmas, Josh!
- Josh Framm: Buddy! [hugs Buddy, extra heavily, causing Buddy to whine] Thank you, Mom. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!
[after Josh's 3-point field-goal, leading the Timberwolves to victory over Warriors]
- Jackie Framm: That's my son!
- Air Buddy as Buddy
- Kevin Zegers as Josh Framm
- Michael Jeter as Norman Snively
- Wendy Makkena as Mrs. Jackie Framm
- Bill Cobbs as Coach Arthur Chaney
- Eric Christmas as Judge Cranfield
- Jonas Fredrico as Julius Aster
- Nicola Cavendish as Principal Pepper
- Brendan Fletcher as Larry Willingham
- Norman Browning as Mr. Buck Willingham
- James Manley as Professor Plum
- Stephen E. Miller as Coach Joe Barker
- Shayn Solberg as Tom Stewart
- Jasebel and Kati Mather as Andrea Framm
- Snazin Smith as Nurse (uncredited)
- Frank Welker as Animals' vocal effects (uncredited)