Movies about Dogs

Friday, May 13, 2011 at 6:08 am

Canine Films

Also known as “man’s best friend,” dogs are always eager to display their affection with a wag of the tale and a playful lick of the face. Since people love their canine companions right back, it’s not surprising that a number of movies about dogs have been made over the years. Some feature pooches transformed into killing machines, while most deal with issues of life, love, and death. But whatever the case, you can rest assured that you’ll be reaching for the tissues during the closing moments of most of these movies.

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Cujo (1983) – After he’s bitten by a bat, a friendly St. Bernard goes on a rabies-induced killing spree in this film adapted from the best-selling novel by Stephen King. The scenes of a mother (Dee Wallace) and her son trapped inside a hit car while the slobbering Cujo tries to get in are among the film’s most terrifying moments.

White Fang (1991) – Based on the Jack London novel, this adventure film stars Ethan Hawke as a gold hunter in the Yukon who develops a special relationship with a wolfdog. Co-starring Seymour Cassel, Klaus Maria Brandauer, and James Remar.

Old Yeller (1957) – The heartbreaking tale of the friendship between a young boy and a mutt in Texas during the years following the Civil War. Based on the equally depressing and ultimately uplifting book by Fred Gipson. If you want to teach kids about death, this film is as good a place to start as any.

Amores perros (2000) – Detailing humanity’s cruelty towards animals and each other through three tales linked together by a car crash, this Mexican film from director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is difficult to watch in places. But it’s still a good movie, and the comparisons to Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction aren’t entirely undeserved. Starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Emilio Echevarria, and Goya Toledo.

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Lady and the Tramp (1955) – The 15th animated feature film from Walt Disney, this tale of an upper-class female Cocker Spaniel who finds love with a male mutt remains one of the best movies about dogs. The spaghetti scene is still one of the most-loved scenes in motion picture history.

Marley & Me (2008) – Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston get top billing, but it’s a lovable Labrador retriever who steals the show. Based on the book by John Grogan, this film is guaranteed to make you cry during the closing minutes. Co-starring Eric Dane, Kathleen Turner, and Alan Arkin.

Beethoven (1992) – Charles Grodin and Bonnie Hunt star as the heads of a family who take in a stray St. Bernard and learn the joys–and pitfalls–of owning a dog. Five sequels would follow, as well as an animated TV series.

The Shaggy Dog (1959) – In this classic starring Fred MacMurray, a teenage boy (Tommy Kirk) is transformed into an Old English sheepdog thanks to a magical ring. A number of sequel and remakes would follow. The first live-action comedy from Disney.

My Dog Skip (2000) – Based on the book by Willie Morris, this film revolves around a bullied 9-year-old (Frankie Muniz) and his relationship with a Jack Russell terrier named Skip. Co-starring Kevin Bacon, Luke Wilson, and Diane Lane.

101 Dalmatians (1996) – Based on the animated classic from Walt Disney, this live-action version features 101 real Dalmatians, plus Jeff Daniels as their owner, and Glenn Close as the villainous Cruella de Vil. None of the animals talk this time around, but it still adds up to good, clean fun for the entire family.

If you enjoy these movies about dogs, you’ll be happy to know that many others also exist. I suggest heading over to Amazon and doing a search, or you can sign up for a free trial membership with Netflix. The latter will enable you to stream movies to your PC or TV, or you can have hundreds of thousands of titles delivered right to your mailbox.

This entry was posted on Friday, May 13th, 2011 at 6:08 am and is filed under Good Movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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