A dog is man's best friend and that makes dog movies such a treat to watch for so many people. Over the years, dog movies have transversed the spectrum, from movies about loyal pets being there for their masters to movies about humans and their need for companions. Of course, along the way, there were also animated films about dogs and at least one movie where a dog was the complete opposite of a loyal companion.
From the most heartbreaking dog movie of all-time to a movie about what it is like to bring your pet back from the other side, the genre offers something for dog lovers everywhere. Here is a look at the 10 best dog movies of all-time.
10 MARLEY AND ME
Based on the bestselling novel by John Grogan, Marley and Me is a great dog movie that tells the story of a man and his lifelong relationship with his dog Marley. Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston star as John and Jenny Grogan, two reporters who get married and relocate to Florida. While Jenny is put into a great career spot, John is not.
When they decide to start a family, a friend suggests they get a dog first. That dog is a Lab named Marley. The dog proves to be impossible to train but John soon gets a chance to write a twice-weekly column and chooses to do it about his relationship with his troublesome pet, Marley. The book and movie are based on stories from those columns.
9 LADY AND THE TRAMP
In 1955, Disney released Lady and the Tramp as its 15th animated movie. The story focuses on a stray dog named Tramp and a pampered Cocker Spaniel named Lady who lives with a well-to-do family. When the two dogs meet, they start to develop a relationship and fall in love.
The movie also features a mean dog catcher and a mishmash of fellow dogs, including Peg the Pekingese and Bull the bulldog. In some interesting news, the new Disney+ platform has greenlit a live-action remake of the Disney animated dog movie with Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux voicing Lady and the Tramp.
8 101 DALMATIANS
A second animated dog movie from Disney Animation Studios is 101 Dalmatians. This was the 17th Disney Animated movie, coming just two films after Lady and the Tramp. In this case, the story follows a batch of Dalmatian puppies stolen by Cruella de Vil and the attempts of the puppy's parents Pongo and Perdita in rescuing them.
The movie hit theaters in 1961 and was a huge success for Disney, saving them from the financial hole that Sleeping Beauty put them in. The movie is also known for the villain of Cruella de Vil, who was named one of the greatest villains in cinema history.
Released in 1992, Beethoven was a live-action dog movie that starred a giant St. Bernard and his adventures with his human family. Charles Grodin and Bonnie Hunt starred as the human parents in this movie written by John Hughes (The Breakfast Club). Beethoven originally escaped from a pet store and the family took him in, and he ends up helping them overcome their problems.
This dog movie won the Genesis Award for Best Feature Film by the Humane Society of the United States. It was a huge success and there were five sequels and three more standalone movies in the franchise. There was even a cartoon based on the dog.
6 A DOG'S PURPOSE
Based on the novel by W. Bruce Cameron, A Dog's Purpose was a fantasy-styled film about a dog that was continuously reincarnated after each of its hosts died. The book was released in 2010 and the movie in 2017. The movie starts with a feral puppy who dies and then wakes up in a new dog's body -- a Lab that is taken in by a family.
After the dog grows old and dies, it returns over time as a German Shepherd who becomes a female police dog. He is then reborn later as a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, a Landseer, and finally a St. Bernard-Australian Shepherd mix.
5 OLD YELLER
Based on the 1956 novel by Fred Gipson, Old Yeller was released the next year and remains possibly the most depressing movie of all-time. Gipson, the book's author, also wrote the screenplay for the movie. The film took place in the 1860s when a young boy named Travis finds a dog and takes him in, naming him Old Yeller.
Old Yeller is not accepted by the entire family until it saves them from an attacking Black Bear. Travis, who was not totally enamored by the dog, falls in love with his new pet. This movie broke the hearts of dog lovers everywhere and has one of the most depressing endings of any family movie.
If Old Yeller is the most depressing movie for dog lovers, then Cujo is the movie that scares most people when they see a strange, stray dog. Based on the horror novel by Stephen King, Cujo is about a St. Bernard who was a caring dog until he was bitten by a rabid bat and became rabid himself as his brain began to dissolve.
The movie then focuses on a woman and her son who end up stranded at the gas station that Cujo is at when the dog finally loses it and becomes a rabid and unstoppable beast. The good news is that the end of the movie is much more optimistic than the end of the novel, written at a time where King was writing numerous downbeat endings.
3 TURNER & HOOCH
At one time, it seemed that Hollywood thought it would be fun to have movies with police dogs and made them in the form of buddy comedies. The two most popular ones were K9 (with James Belushi) and Turner & Hooch (with Tom Hanks). Of the two, Turner & Hooch remains the police dog movie that stands the test of time.
In this movie, Hanks is Scott Turner, a smart police investigator, who takes in the dog Hooch, a mastiff breed, which previously belonged to his friend who was killed by criminals. The dog then helps change Turner's life for the better.
Frankenweenie was a stop-motion animated film by Tim Burton. The movie was a black and white animated version of Frankenstein, with a young boy named Victor Frankenstein who lost his dog Sparky after he was hit by a car. Victor, who was a brilliant science student, is able to bring his dog back from the dead the same way that Frankenstein was created.
The movie then turns into a monster movie as other kids use the same technique to bring their pets back and some of them begin an attack on the town. The movie was a huge success, picking up an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Film in 2013.
1 BEST IN SHOW
Christopher Guest was the master of the mockumentary and in 2000, he brought a new movie to fans based on the popular dog shows that the world loves so much. The movie was Best in Show and featured most of Guest's crew of actors, including Eugene Levy, Jennifer Coolidge, Michael McKean and more.
The movie fakes a documentary following five dogs and their owners as they take part in the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show in Philadelphia. As with the best mockumentaries, Guest took events as they really happen at these events and surround them with larger-than-life characters to exaggerate the reactions to create one of the best dog movies of all-time.