So Many Good Boys (And Girls)
Dogs are simply wonderful. They make fantastic friends, protectors, and are an all-around great addition to any family. Historically, they are the first creature to be domesticated so they literally have been by humankind’s side almost as long as humankind as we know it has existed! There are many films that feature dogs as either the star/stars or in some important capacity that illustrates why they are so awesome, but we’ve got a top 10 list that (in no specific order) discusses our favorite flicks with our beloved canines. Let’s dive into it!
10. Lady and the Tramp
The first entry on this list is also the oldest as, “Lady and the Tramp,” actually came out way back in 1955. Focused on a fancy dog (the Lady) and one who is homeless and rougher around the edges (the Tramp), the movie serves as a metaphor for how love knows no class or societal prestige. While some elements of the original movie have not aged exactly the best (it’s a half-century old, after all), there is a hybrid CGI/live-action version that came out in 2019 with the launch of Disney+ that is quite charming as well. Whether you watch the older original movie or the remake, it is a sweet love story that happens to be about two adorable dogs!
9. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey
To be fair, there is the 1961 film simply titled, “The Incredible Journey,” which the much-more known, “Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey,” draws from. That said, so many people literally just know this movie as, “Homeward Bound,” it without a doubt is the version that especially struck a chord with viewers. This movie focuses on two dogs (and yes, a cat) who find themselves separated from their families and have to go on a dangerous trek to return to their loved ones. Between a mountain lion, porcupine, and other obstacles, they face a lot! That said, the film ends happily with everyone reunited with their loved ones.
8. All Dogs Go to Heaven
A fun cartoon full of singing and featuring a dog named Charlie B. Barkin played by none other than Burt Reynolds who goes back to Earth from Heaven after being betrayed by another dog named Carface Carruthers, to help his friend, Itchy Itchiford (voiced by Dom DeLuise). Barkin also meets an orphan girl named Anne-Marie and learns a lot about friendship and kindness from her while trying to avenge his own untimely end. The movie is a musical cartoon, but can be surprisingly dark in some of its subject matter (to get to heaven a dog has to die, after all), so while it is a good time for most families, those with much younger children might want to err on the side of caution when it comes to showing this movie lest their kids get scared.
7. Marley and Me
This 2008 dramedy (that’s comedy-drama) stars Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, and a very cute golden lab named Marley. The movie chronicles a number of years in the family’s life from when Marley is a precious puppy all the way to when he’s much older and (spoiler alert for families that don’t want to deal with death) passes away. Wilson and Aniston both are incredibly charming talents and Marley (to be honest, the 22 dogs who play him) is a total hoot as well. With a number of scenes covering the joys and trying moments of having a dog, anyone who has had one as a pet will find themselves relating to at least one scene in, “Marley and Me.”
6. 101 Dalmatians
There is the classic animated version of, “101 Dalmations,” but for our money, nothing beats watching the amazing Glenn Close go up against the gaggle of dogs in the 1996 remake of the 1961 cartoon. The movie is mostly a straightforward retelling of the Disney original, but having living and breathing dalmatians just adds so much extra charm and Glenn Close absolutely astounds as the horrific Curella de Vil. You can’t really make a villain who wants to turn dogs into clothes seem human or relatable, and Close knows this and goes all-in on being an over-the-top monster. Between the sweet spotted puppies and insanely evil Close there is much to recommend of this particular take on the franchise!
5. Turner and Hooch
A buddy-cop movie where one of the cops is Tom Hanks and the other crime-solver is an adorably massive Dogue De Bordeaux? No wonder, “Turner and Hooch,” is a fan-favorite! In this movie, Tom Hank and the big dog figure out the murder of his former partner on the force, but before you think this is a serious crime drama, be aware plenty of hilarity happens too thanks to just how big Hooch is and the mischief he loves to cause. Another warning/spoiler alert to parents watching this with their kids who maybe want to avoid some tears–Hooch does die saving the day. That said, a bunch of puppies Hooch managed to Father are there to help make sure Tom Hank’s character isn’t without a loving pet in the future.
4. Hotel for Dogs
Viewers will find that this 2009 movie doesn’t just have tons of dogs, it has a really solid human cast too. We’re talking Academy-award winner Don Cheadle, Lisa Kudrow of, “Friends,” fame, and Emma Roberts before she really blew up in popularity thanks to, “American Horror Story,” among other roles. The dogs still manage to get plenty of screen time too, so don’t worry! The movie itself is about two orphaned siblings who take in stray dogs at a vacant hotel, hence the movie’s name. Many of the dogs have memorable personalities and while at times there is some drama in the movie (at one point the ersatz hotel is shut down), everything ends well with an official, “Hotel for Dogs,” opening at the end of the flick with the kids getting adopted too. Everyone loves a happy ending!
3. DC Superpets
This recent animated film does not just feature dogs, but has a wide variety of animals who gain superpowers and have to save the Justice League. That said, dogs are clearly a big focal point, with Superman’s famous dog Krypto, being a bit of a leader for the group. “DC Superpets,” is a movie that appeals to dog lovers, those who enjoy comic-books, and fans of super-flicks. This is a superb movie for many demographics and that is probably why it got such glowing reviews and did quite well at the box office! It is out now on DVD and streaming, so you no longer have to go to the theater or wait to be able to enjoy DC Superpets with your fellow hero-fanatics!
A beloved family classic, “Beethoven,” follows the titular dog as he escapes being kidnapped by animal thieves and ends up with a family whose problems he helps solve in various clever ways (including saving one child from almost drowning). Also, Beethoven ends up exposing an unethical veterinarian which stops a bunch of other innocent dogs from being put down. With a mix of great physical humor featuring the adorable Saint Bernard and a heart-touching story, there’s a reason this has been such a popular movie for decades!
1. Air Bud
“Air Bud,” spawned an unlikely franchise. This movie had multiple sequels with a variety of sports and even spin-off flicks with puppies who in one movie actually become superheroes. Before all of that, however, is the first, “Air Bud,” movie which compared to later films is a surprisingly concise story about a young boy dealing with the death of his Father and finding emotional support through a golden retriever named Bud. That the dog can play basketball is just the icing on some metaphorical cake! While the later movies got pretty silly (one feature’s Air Bud’s puppies delivering presents for Santa), the original is a classic.
Honorable Mention: Puppy Dog Pals and Paw Patrol
“Puppy Dog Pals,” and, “Paw Patrol,” are in fact television shows, but they have had some direct-to-DVD special episode movies and both feature adorable animated dogs that go on adventures. Children absolutely love these shows and if you have little ones the odds are quite good you’ve heard of Bingo and Rolly or the many members of the Paw Patrol. It just goes to show whether dogs are real/live-action, CGI, or animated, there are tons of great ones for adults and kids alike to enjoy viewing the adventures of!
Dogs Are Clearly Stupendous!
Each of those movies shows–in a variety of ways–how wonderful it is to have a dog as a part of your family. Should you be interested in supporting an upcoming indie film that features dogs you can do so by checking out, “When I Was a Human,” via the Film Independent Fiscal Sponsorship Program! ***You can find it at this link***!
David Bitterbaum is the longtime writer of The Newest Rant where he discusses how he loves all of popular culture, except for the stuff he hates. He often rambles about everything from movies, to music, television, and often comic-books. He lives in Saint Louis with his extremely patient wife and son.