Whether they're getting bouts of the zoomies out of the blue or nodding off atop their favorite toy without warning, dogs are plenty entertaining in real life. But when you put pups on the silver screen, with an army of handlers and trainers working with them, they become gifted actors, able to emote on command. As a result, there's nothing quite like a movie about man's best friend when you're looking to have a few laughs and maybe even shed some tears. No matter what kind of entertainment you're in the mood for, the best dog movies of all time are all but guaranteed to deliver.
While a canine has never won an Academy Award, they have played leading roles in a whole host of wonderful films, both animated and live-action. Some of them are made for families, like Clifford The Big Red Dog and Beethoven, and others are great for grown-ups, including As Good As It Gets and Megan Leavey. So the next time you have a movie night scheduled, honor your furry BFF by watching one of these fan-favorite flicks that are certain to get tails waggin'. Just be sure to invite your dog—even if they try to steal all the popcorn.
What do you get when you pair superstar hunk Channing Tatum with a beautiful Belgian Malinois? A rollicking comedy about two ex-Army Rangers, one human and one canine, on the road to attend a fellow soldier's funeral.
2. Marley and Me
Starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson, this dramedy is based on the best-selling book about "the world's worst dog." Is it us, or is someone cutting onions in here?
3. A Dog's Purpose
Three-time Academy Award-nominated director and screenwriter Lasse Hallström helmed this effort about a reincarnated canine who teaches his human family the true meaning of life over the course of 50 years.
4. A Dog's Journey
The sequel to A Dog's Purpose, this sweet tear-jerker offers more tails (sorry, we couldn't resist) of the pooch who lives many lives, helping his people through every one of them.
5. 101 Dalmatians
Whether you prefer the live-action version with Glenn Close chewing up the scenery as Cruella de Vil, or the beloved 1961 animated original, this story of a villain who wants to make a coat crafted of puppy fur is fun for the whole fam.
6. Old Yeller
Here's a coming-of-age story about a boy and his dog that will leave nary a dry eye in the house. Keep a box of tissues (a big one!) close by for the gut-wrenching ending.
7. Best in Show
After Old Yeller, you're going to need some laughs. Best in Show, a heavily-improvised comedy by Christopher Guest, will provide them. Set in the competitive world of dog shows, it stars greats like Catherine O'Hara, Eugene Levy, and Jennifer Coolidge.
8. Clifford The Big Red Dog
Based on the children's books by the same name, this long-awaited dog movie stars the titular hound who grows to enormous proportions thanks to one little girl's love.
9. A Dog's Way Home
A family adventure film, A Dog's Way Home follows a pup (voiced by Jurassic World's Bryce Dallas Howard) as she travels 400 miles to find her family.
10. Lassie Come Home
Would any dog movie list be complete without Lassie? Incarnations of the classic yarn about a collie and her boy have ranged from a '40s film series and a '50s television show to a 1994 and 2005 remake. We like the first movie the best, in which Lassie must make her way home from Scotland to Yorkshire.
11. As Good As It Gets
Sure, leads Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt both won Oscars for their performances in this charming, offbeat comedy, but we all know the real star of the show is the Brussels Griffon who helps humanize Nicholson's character.
12. The Secret Life of Pets
Speaking of charming, there isn't a movie about dogs much more so than The Secret Life of Pets. This computer-animated comedy details what happens when we leave the critters we live with at home alone.
13. Isle of Dogs
Plenty quirky (as all Wes Anderson films are) and with beautifully-rendered stop-motion animation, this comedy is set in a futuristic Japan, where the dogs are exiled to "Trash Island." Will they be freed and able to return home? The cracking cast features notables like Bill Murray and Bryan Cranston.
14. The Call of the Wild
Based on Jack London's cherished 1903 book by the same name, The Call of the Wild details the adventures of a dog named Buck after he is stolen from his home and sent to the Yukon. This movie stars a grizzly Harrison Ford as the outdoorsman who befriends Buck.
15. Lady and the Tramp
This sentimental animated favorite pairs a spoiled cocker spaniel named Lady with an adorable stray named Tramp for a musical romance that's wonderful for the young and young-at-heart. It features not only the iconic scene where the dogs eat two ends of the same spaghetti strand, leading to a kiss, but also legendary chanteuse Peggy Lee in multiple roles.
16. Because of Winn-Dixie
Set in a Florida town filled with colorful characters, this heart-warming family film concerns a lonely young girl who makes friends and changes lives thanks to the scruffy Berger Picard she adopts. Based on the popular novel by the same name, it stars Jeff Daniels, Cicely Tyson, and musician Dave Matthews.
17. Megan Leavey
Megan Leavey recounts the gripping story of a Marine corporal and her military working dog who together to save multiple lives during their two deployments in Iraq. This moving film is based on a true story.
18. The Art of Racing in the Rain
This dramedy about a Formula One race car driver and his family's tragedies and triumphs is narrated by a golden retriever named Enzo, who is voiced by Kevin Costner. When a movie begins with the dog dying, you know you're in for an emotional roller coaster.
19. Hachi: A Dog's Tale
Helmed by A Dog's Purpose director Lasse Hallström (who must really love pups), this film tells the true story of a loyal dog, his owner, and a friendship that transcends even death. An adaptation of a 1987 Japanese film, it stars Richard Gere and Joan Allen.
20. Turner and Hooch
Back before Tom Hanks was a two-time Best Actor Oscar-winner, he made this funny, touching film about a cop and the slobbering dog (a massive French mastiff) he inherits from a murdered friend. Together, they attempt to track down the killer.
21. Dog Days
This ensemble rom-com revolves around a group of Los Angeles natives and the adorable canine companions that populate their lives, bringing them together in surprising ways.
22. Think Like a Dog
When a kid genius' science project goes sideways, he finds himself able to communicate telepathically with his furry best friend. A whimsical family sci-fi comedy, Think Like a Dog stars Josh Duhamel and Megan Fox.
23. The Adventures of Milo and Otis
Originally a Japanese live-action film reworked for American audiences, The Adventures of Milo and Otis follows a kitten and a pug on their many escapades, both together and apart. Best of all, no tears will be shed during this one!
24. Beverly Hills Chihuahua
This hilarious romp about a pampered chihuahua dog-napped in Mexico and sent to a dog fight was a major hit, spawning two sequels.
Another canine comedy with a plot set around a dog-napping, this film was penned by John Hughes (writing under a pseudonym). In it, a family adopts a St. Bernard puppy, with spirited hijinks inevitably ensuing.
There's a reason this film about a scraggly-but-sweet mutt was a cultural sensation, with four sequels and a 2018 remake following its release. It's well-made, family-friendly, and features loveable doggies and an engaging plot that allows them to save the day in a suitably satisfying fashion.
27. Show Dogs
Take Best in Show and splice it with Turner and Hooch and you've more or less got Show Dogs. It's a fun film about a human FBI agent and a canine cop trying to catch the bad guys by going undercover at a dog show.
28. Eight Below
An intense adventure drama, this film follows eight sled dogs and their harrowing fight to survive after they are left behind at an abandoned Antarctic research base.
Unconventional filmmaker Tim Burton directed this stop-motion animated remake of his 1984 short by the same name. Masterfully mixing horror, comedy, and sci-fi, the parody of Frankenstein about a bull terrier snared a Best Animated Feature Oscar nomination.
This entertaining animated movie concerns a Hollywood dog named Bolt who thinks that he really is gifted with the superpowers he has on his show. It features John Travolta as the titular character, plus Miley Cyrus as his owner.
All of these dog movies (and more!) are available on Amazon Prime Video. You can sign up for a membership here.
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