Relive those childhood memories or see what all the fuss is about with our list of the 10 best dog movies of all time!
When you think of movie stars, you typically consider those with two legs. But animals have long been part of movie magic.
Just think about beloved characters like Donkey and Puss in Boots of Shrek fame; or Baloo, Bagheera and Kaa of The Jungle Book. Then there’s Finding Nemo, Ice Age, A Bug’s Life, Winnie the Pooh, Happy Feet and The Lion King.
But not all movies with animals in starring roles are animated: there’s Free Willy, Flipper, Black Beauty and Storm Boy. Even Jaws – and, arguably, Jurassic Park – have animals as the real stars.
Unsurprisingly, as “man’s best friend”, dogs have made plenty of on-screen appearances. And in doing so, have found a place forever in our hearts. (Even though, as these dog facts show, none have ever won an Oscar…yet).
Here is our take on the best dog films of all time. If you haven’t seen them before, curling up with your pup to watch them is your mission this weekend! And if you have, maybe it’s time to go back and fall in love with them all over again…
#10: Turner and Hooch (1989)
Unsurprisingly, there has to be a movie where a dog helps the police solve crime among the best dog movies of all time. And that movie is Turner & Hooch.
It centres on Tom Hanks’ character of police investigator Scott Turner and French Mastiff (or Dogue de Bordeaux, as the breed is formally known) Hooch, played by Beasley the Dog. There’s plenty of action in this murder mystery, although it’s not without tear-jerker moments.
Probably best to watch this one after the kids/grandkids have gone to bed!
#9: The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1986)
Anyone who has seen this movie never forgets the heart-warming tale of an unbreakable friendship between a ginger tabby kitten named Milo and a pug puppy named Otis.
Fans may be surprised to learn that it was originally a Japanese film. It was subsequently dubbed in English before being re-released in 1989.
It’s a tender mixture of drama and comedy that the whole family will love.
#8: 101 Dalmatians (1961)
Whoever said the best dog movies couldn’t be animated?! This Disney classic features – you guessed it – the spots and dots of a growing family of Dalmatians. These bundles of joy are trying to escape the clutches of an evil villainess aptly named Cruella De Vil (who is, incidentally, a brilliant Halloween costume character if you’re up for a challenge!).
But if animated movies aren’t quite your thing, Glenn Close makes a fabulous Cruella De Vil in the 1996 live action adaptation.
#7: Legally Blonde 2 (2003)
Yes, it’s totally silly and predictable and repeats many of the laughs from the first film. But at its heart, Legally Blonde 2 is about the unshakeable bond that people of all walks of life have with their dogs. Even hard-line conservative politicians!
Elle Woods and her chihuahua Brewster are determined to find his mum in time for her wedding. That search takes them all the way to the US Congress attempting to ban animal testing in the process. Snaps!
#6: Babe (1995)
Ok, so the main character is a pig, not a dog. But this “Sheep Pig” is so wonderfully canine-like that we’re making him an honorary dog! It’s a quirky story of a pig who befriends both the dogs and sheep on a working farm and tries to find his place in the world that doesn’t involve getting turned into bacon.
Babe was also filmed right here in Australia (in the NSW Southern Highlands) and features the likes of Magda Szubanski and James Cromwell, as well as the voice talents of Hugo Weaving and Miriam Margolyes.
A feel-good flick that’s sure to appeal to animal lovers everywhere.
#5: A Goofy Movie (1995)
Technically, yes, beloved Disney character Goofy is a dog! And in this animated movie, he’s also the father of an angsty teenager trying to find his place in the world while being totally embarrassed by his dad’s every move.
With all the madness that only Goofy (or perhaps Mr Bean) can muster, it’s something of a coming-of-age story that has heaps of laughs for young and old alike. (P.S. I *may* have laughed way too hard watching the above trailer again!)
#4: Beethoven (1992)
A quirky name, a lot of slobber, plenty of mayhem and one big furry dog. This 90s classic has it all!
Every dog owner can relate to the chaos that seems to follow this beautiful St Bernard wherever he goes – albeit on a much smaller scale. But the chaos makes him just that much more loveable and earns his place among the best dog movies of all time.
(There’s also a sequel, called Beethoven’s 2nd, which has a particularly memorable scene of him demolishing half a house!)
#3: Cats & Dogs (2001)
When it has dogs (and cats) in the title, it must be a good movie!
This family comedy takes the war between humans’ most popular companions to new heights, with an attempt to take over the world by an evil genius with the completely unthreatening name of Mr. Tinkles.
There were a couple of sequels made, but the original is where the real magic is. It includes some big-name stars too, including Jeff Goldblum as the hapless dad as well as the voice talents of Alec Baldwin, Susan Sarandon, Sean Hayes and Tobey Maguire.
#2: Lady and The Tramp (1955)
One of Disney’s classic animated movies, Lady and The Tramp is something of a doggy version of Cinderella, with the gender roles reversed: She is a posh, well-bred Cocker Spaniel from a good home, and he is a rough yet misunderstood mongrel living on the streets. Yet despite their differences, they work together to fall head-over-paws in love.
The supporting character of Jock the Scottish Terrier is totally adorable too. You can’t really call yourself a dog lover until you’ve seen this movie!
And the #1 best dog movie of all time: Marley & Me (2008)
Honest, relatable, funny and painfully raw, the true story of Marley the Labrador and his human family lays bare just how ingrained our dogs are in our family life. And how, in hindsight, we always seem to look back on even the baddest of behaviour with a smile on our face.
The movie Marley & Me is based on the book of the same name and is one of the rare instances where a movie actually does the book justice. (Having said that, the book has some great additional escapades and goes into more detail than a film ever could!).
Just as they do in life, this dog and his adventures will make you laugh, grimace, sigh and cry – making it our top choice among the best dog movies ever made. Prepare to be thoroughly dogged!