A good movie usually has a hero or character you can root for. What’s even better is when that hero is a dog who saves the day! Having dogs in movies can uplift the protagonists as much as they do the audiences. Dogs can bring even the toughest of critics to tears.
With everything going on in the world, it’s a refreshing little break to curl up and have your heart strings plucked by man’s best friend. It can be a kid-meets-dog tale, a journey of survival and self discovery, or a story of a kind-hearted pup breaking down the walls of a cynical man.
Even though these movies have canines at their center, they also have tons of faces you've seen and loved countless times over the years, with real star power. So whether you’re in the mood to break out the tissues or looking for laughs of the canine kind, we have rounded up a few movies that have a little bit of everything. From old classics to Disney animation, here are 10 movies where a dog(s) is a central character.
Marley and Me (2008)
The famed tear-jerker (based on the best selling book) that proves how strong the relationship between dog and owner can be. That is, in addition to the chaos one small puppy can bring into the lives of two people trying to start a family.
Best in Show (2000)
This American mockumentary comedy film (co-written by Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy) follows five entrants in a prestigious dog show as they travel to the show and compete once there. Fun Fact: much of the dialogue was improvised in this laugh out loud comedy.
101 Dalmatians (1961 Animated, 1996 Remake)
Who would want to hurt puppies? Cruella de Vil (played by Glenn Close in the live-action remake), a villain so vile she got her own origin story, would. Dalmatian Pongo is tired of his bachelor-dog life. He spies lovely Perdita and maneuvers his master, Roger, into meeting Perdita's owner, Anita. The owners fall in love and marry, keeping Pongo and Perdita together too. After Perdita gives birth to a litter of 15 puppies, Anita's old school friend Cruella De Vil wants to buy them all. Roger declines her offer, so Cruella hires the criminal Badun brothers to steal them -- so she can have a fur coat.
A Dog’s Purpose (2017)
A devoted dog (Josh Gad) discovers the meaning of its own existence through the lives of the humans it teaches to laugh and love. Reincarnated as multiple canines over the course of five decades, the lovable pooch develops an unbreakable bond with a kindred spirit named Ethan (Bryce Gheisar). As the boy grows older and comes to a crossroad, the dog once again comes back into his life to remind him of his true self.
Turner and Hooch (1989)
Tom Hanks and a dog? What’s not to love? Det. Scott Turner (Hanks) is an uptight, by-the-book police officer who hopes to leave his sleepy California town and work in the big city. When his friend Amos Reed (John McIntire), the proprietor of a junkyard, is killed, Turner reluctantly inherits the man's dog. Realizing that the canine may be able to help him solve the murder case, Turner attempts to adjust to life with the big dog, resulting in much household destruction and unwelcome chaos.
As Good As It Gets (1997)
Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson) is an obsessive-compulsive writer of romantic fiction who's rude to everyone he meets, including his gay neighbor Simon (Greg Kinnear), but when he has to look after Simon's dog, he begins to soften and, if still not completely over his problems, finds he can conduct a relationship with the only waitress (Helen Hunt) at the local diner who'll serve him.
The Secret Life of Pets (2016)
In this animated film, Max is a spoiled terrier who enjoys a comfortable life in a New York City building until his owner adopts Duke, a giant and unruly canine. During their walk outside, they encounter a group of ferocious alley cats and wind up in a truck that's bound for the pound. Luckily, a rebellious bunny named Snowball swoops in to save the doggy duo from captivity. In exchange, Snowball demands that Max and Duke join his gang of abandoned pets on a mission against the humans who've done them wrong. Adventure unfolds!
Look Who’s Talking Now (1993)
In this sequel, the "Who" in Look Who's Talking Now are dogs. In a true romantic comedy sub-plot, the two lead dogs, a snobby poodle and a scrappy shelter mutt, played by Diane Keaton and Danny DeVito respectively, meet and take an instant dislike to each other. However, much as it is in an old Tracy-Hepburn movie, their relationship develops, with the best lines in the film delivered by the dogs via voice over. The main plot of course, involves the original Ubribacco family from the familiar trilogy, James and Molly, played by John Travolta and Kirstie Alley, and their now more-grown children, Julie and Mikey.
Homeward Bound (1993)
A movie so good, they made a sequel! Before the Seavers leave for a family vacation to San Francisco, they drop off their pets -- Chance (Michael J. Fox), an adventurous American bulldog; Shadow (Don Ameche), a wise golden retriever; and Sassy (Sally Field), a cautious cat -- at a friend's ranch. But when the animals start to worry that they've been left for good, the three embark together on a treacherous and thrilling journey to find their way back home through the California wilderness.
When the family of George Newton decides to adopt a cute St. Bernard puppy, the patriarch soon feels displaced by the dog. Before long, the adorable canine, dubbed Beethoven, has grown considerably, leading to household mishaps. While George's wife and kids dote on Beethoven, it takes time for him to see the pooch's finer qualities. However, Beethoven's life with the Newton family is jeopardized when a scheming vet tries to nab the dog for a deadly experiment. And don’t miss the second, third and fourth installments of this family saga.
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