Seven great movies starring canines—oh, and humans, too.
If you were a dog-loving kid, you probably had a favorite movie about man’s best friend that you’d watch over and over. Back in the 1950s and ‘60s, dog movies were all the rage. Even today, feature films about dogs are still winners at the box office.
Here’s a look at some of the most well known classic canine films, along with a glance at a few more recent releases, including one from this summer.
One of the most famous of all dog films, “Old Yeller” was released by Walt Disney in 1957 and tells the story of a boy and his faithful yellow Lab; it’s based on the 1956 book of the same name by Fred Gipson. The bond between the two is powerful, and every dog person can relate to how much little Arliss loves Old Yeller. The end is a tearjerker, however, and many adults are still traumatized by having watched the film as children. Even though this film is billed as family entertainment, if you have kids, watch this classic without them.
Lady & The Tramp
Another Disney film, released in 1955, “Lady & the Tramp” is a heart-warming animated film adored by adults and kids alike. It tells the story of the well-bred Lady—a Cocker Spaniel—and a mixed-breed named Tramp. The two fall in love and have some hair-raising adventures.
A 1962 Disney film that Irish Setter fans will love, “Big Red” is the story of a show dog’s search for his true identity as a hunting dog. The movie features some cute scenes between Red and his friend, an orphaned boy named Rene.
Two versions of this film have been made, both by Disney. The original, released in 1961, is an animated classic that tells the tale of 101 Dalmatian puppies and their kidnapping by a dog-hating villainess named Cruella DeVille. In 1996, Disney released a live action version of the film that starred Glenn Close and was a big success at the box office.
Marley & Me
Based on the book by John Grogan, “Marley & Me” was released in 2008 by Fox Pictures, and is the true story of a troublemaking yellow Lab who wins over the hearts of the family who adopts him. The movie has the inevitable sad ending, so keep the tissues handy.
Hachi: A Dog’s Tale
This 2009 film by Sony Pictures stars Richard Gere, and is about the bond that forms between a college professor and the Akita he rescues. The film was remade from a Japanese language version in 1987. Billed as a true story, “Hachi” will tug at your heartstrings.
The most recent theatrically released film about a dog is “Max.” A 2015 Warner Brothers picture, “Max” tells the story of a war dog who comes back from Afghanistan struggling with the traumas he endured in battle. The U.S. Marine who handled him during the war is killed, and Max must learn to adapt to normal life with the Marine’s family. The story is heartwarming, and sheds light on the difficult life of dogs who serve in war
About the Author: Audrey Pavia is an award-winning freelance writer and author of “The Labrador Retriever Handbook.” She is a former staff editor of Dog Fancy, Dog World and The AKC Gazette magazines. To learn more about her work, visit www.audreypavia.com and hollywoodhoofbeats.net