Recently Variety a slideshow titled “The Best Movie Dogs of All Time“. It was prompted by the release of the movie “Dog Days” and features twenty of the best appearances by dogs in movies through the years.
I will save you a ton of clicking and put the top 10 here, but following that I will list a few recent movies that I feel should have made the cut.
10. Buddy in “Air Bud” (1997)
9. Beethoven (1992)
8. Arthur from “Beginners” (2010)
7. The Beast in “The Sandlot” (1993)
6. Old Yeller (1957)
5. Flealick from “Babe: Pig In The City” (1998)
4. Marley in “Marley and Me” (2008)
3. Toto in “The Wizard of Oz” (1939)
2. Lassie in “Lassie Come Home” (1943)
1. “Benji” (1974)
I would like to add a few movies to this list to make it a little more current.
Bailey (Bailey, Bailey) from A Dogs Purpose (2017). While this wasn’t reviewed well by the Rotten Tomatoes critics, it definitely tugged at the heartstrings of the audience. In parts it was a hard movie to watch as it deals with the passing of “Bailey” several times as he comes back in a new incarnation, but because it was handled in a tasteful way, we were able to connect to the main storyline. Even though Bailey is played by several dogs, the ‘spirit of Bailey’ narrates the movie and brings us along on this journey.
Max from Max (2015) is another recent movie where the dog takes center stage. IMDB describes the movie as “A Malinois dog that helped American Marines in Afghanistan returns to the United States and is adopted by his handler’s family after suffering a traumatic experience.” Not only did it resonate with audiences, but provided the foundation for a sequel.
Because of the bond humans have with dogs in real life, it is no surprise that we can connect with canine-led stories in the movies. While a lot of movies are based on conjecture (us creating a story based on what we want to see rather than what dogs actually may be thinking or doing), they are inspirational and bring out the hope in all of us.
One agency that certifies that “No Animals Were Harmed” in the filming of these movies is the American Human Association, through their Humane Hollywood initiative. When you see their logo and the “No Animals Were Harmed” tagline in the credits of the movie you just enjoyed, you can know that the animals shown in the movie were treated fairly and safely during their time on and off set.