Dogs are famously man’s best friends but they have also proven to be stars of the silver screen, as countless movies of every type of genre have been made about these beloved creatures. Because whether it’s a golden retriever, a Dalmatian, or a St. Bernard, there is no easier way to make a good movie great than adding a dog to the main cast. These 10 movies perfectly pay tribute to man’s best friend.
Old Yeller (1957)
The iconic man’s best friend film is mostly remembered for its absolutely devastating ending. And while watching Travis have to put Old Yeller down never gets any easier to watch, the entirety of the movie holds up more than 60 years after its initial release. The bond between Travis and Yeller is wonderful to watch, as the two would truly do anything for each other, including Yeller risking his own life to save Travis multiple times.
Marley & Me (2008)
Has any movie ever captured the often joyful, sometimes frustrating, and occasionally painful relationship between a dog and owner better than this 2008 film? Watching the entire Grogan family fall in love and grow with the titular yellow lab is touching and we dare you not to cry as John (Owen Wilson), the Grogan patriarch who is initially reluctant to welcome Marley into the family, says an extremely emotional goodbye to Marley before he takes permanent residence at a farm upstate.
Was this 1992 film conceived almost entirely based on the hit Chuck Berry song ‘Roll Over, Beethoven’? Most likely but that doesn’t take away from this fantastic family canine adventure. The film may not have been a hit with critics but it has become a favorite among dog-lovers, as it’s impossible not to enjoy watching this very good boy win over irascible workaholic father George (Charlies Grodin) while simultaneously uncovering the criminal schemes of Dr. Varnick, a sinister veterinarian who kidnaps and abuses pets for the sake of animal experimentation.
One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)
One of the often overlooked movies in the Disney canon, this classic film tells a delightful and exciting story of how Rodger and Anita met, fell and love, and end up raising more than 100 Dalmatians. Plus, One Hundred and One Dalmatians features one of the greatest villains in cinematic history, Cruella De Ville, who is so shockingly evil that she will stop at nothing to kidnap those adorable puppies in the hopes of having a collection of Dalmatian fur coats.
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)
When Chance (voiced by Michael J. Fox), a mischievous bulldog, Shadow (voiced by Don Ameche), a loyal and wise golden retriever, and Sassy (voiced by Sally Fields), a wise-talking Himalayan cat, are separated from their owners, they have to overcome their differences and travel countless miles to get back to their family. This movie is pretty weird and more than a bit cheesy but nearly every kid will absolutely love getting to watch three talking pets go on an epic adventure in order to get back to their family.
Lady & the Tramp (1955)
We’ve all seen the story of a high-class lady having her heart won by a decidedly low-class but charming guy but Lady & the Tramp was the first time the storyline was played out by dogs and watching a cocker spaniel and a stray mutt defy the odds and fall in love is heartwarming. After all, who can forget their adorable first kiss, which comes as a result of some Italian crooning and a delicious spaghetti dinner.
Air Bud (1997)
What happens when you discover your dog is secretly the second coming of Michael Jordan? For 12-year-old Josh Framm, it means exploiting his middle school basketball league’s rulebook (“Ain’t no rule that says a dog can’t play basketball”). This movie is absolutely absurd but that’s what makes it such a fun family film, as kids and adults can laugh along watching a golden retriever casually put a bunch of preteens to shame on the basketball court.
Best in Show (2000)
While the relationship between a dog and their owner is a sacred thing, that relationship takes a dark turn with the incredibly bizarre world of dog shows. Director Christopher Guest (This Is Spinal Tap) is the master of mockumentaries and while nobody will accuse him of making the most sentimental dog movie of all time, he may be responsible for the funniest.
Turner & Hooch (1989)
From Lethal Weapon to Hot Fuzz, everyone enjoys a good buddy cop movie and the beloved genre was taken to new heights when it featured Tom Hanks and a Dogue de Bordeaux. We could talk more about what makes this movie great but instead, we will repeat: Turner & Hooch stars Tom Hanks and a dog as a crime-solving duo. What else do you need to know?