Dog movies can make you laugh and cry, in fact most are set on doing both in equal amounts. Some carry adventure stories, some spiritual messages, some good guys, some bad guys, love stories and stories of derring do.
The following films are some of our favourites of all time guaranteed to rip your doggy emotions apart! They all end happy though!
Lassie Come Home (1943)
A real tear jerker and now very old, although there was a 1996 remake. In a small Yorkshire village during the Great Depression, financial pressures cause the parents of young Joe Carraclough (Roddy McDowall) to sell his beloved dog, Lassie, to the Duke of Rudling (Nigel Bruce). After the duke takes the collie to his Scottish estate, his granddaughter (Elizabeth Taylor) recognizes that the dog misses her former owner and allows her to escape. Facing great dangers and small kindnesses on her lengthy journey, the faithful dog sets forth to rejoin her beloved family.
2. The Incredible Journey (1963)
Another one to make you blub…. An unlikely trio of pets — aging bull terrier Bodger, spry Labrador retriever Luath, and Siamese cat Tao — begin missing their owners after being dropped off for the summer with a friend of the family, John Longridge (Emile Genest), who lives across the country from them. Their loneliness becomes unbearable, however, when John leaves on an extended camping trip. The three animals resolve to find their way back home, no matter how difficult — and even if that means journeying over 250 miles.
3. Homeward Bound I (1993)
A remake of the 1963 “incredible journey” dog movie. Three pets (Chance, a young dog unfamiliar with the world; Shadow, an aging, wise dog; and Sassy, a snobby cat) are left behind when their family goes on vacation. Unsure of what happened, the animals set out on a quest to find their family. This journey across America is very dangerous and the animals risk never seeing their masters again. The group of pets travel across forested mountains and areas of wide-open countryside, while their family searches for them in the same areas.
4. White Fang (1991)
A dog’s loyalty is never questioned. This dog movie adaptat”ion of Jack London’s wilderness tale focuses on young Jack Conroy (Ethan Hawke), who has arrived in Alaska to search for a gold mine. When Jack encounters White Fang, a dog/wolf hybrid who has been cruelly treated by his owner, Beauty Smith (James Remar), he rescues the canine from the jaws of death during a fight with a fierce bulldog. Aided by his friend Alex Larson (Klaus Maria Brandauer), Jack nurses White Fang back to health, and the animal becomes a close companion to the men.
5. Homeward Bound II (1996)
The theme is quite familiar by now! This is the second in the more recent series. The Seaver family arrives at San Francisco International Airport to catch a flight to Canada. They check in their pets: Chance (Michael J. Fox), an American bulldog; Shadow (Ralph Waite), a golden retriever; and Sassy (Sally Field), a nervous cat. But the confused pets burst out of their carriers and escape to the city. There they fall in with a group of strays and struggle to avoid an overzealous dogcatcher. But when the trio tire of vagrancy, they set out to find their beloved owners.
6. Eight Below (2006)
The frozen wasteland of Antarctica serves as the background for a tale about the bonds of friendship and loyalty. Three members of a scientific expedition, Jerry Shepard (Paul Walker), his friend Cooper (Jason Biggs) and an American geologist (Bruce Greenwood), must leave their beloved sled dogs behind after a devastating accident and increasingly perilous weather conditions. Alone, the dogs struggle to survive the harsh Antarctic winter.
7. Old Yeller (released Christmas day 1957)
Not recommended if you are of a weak disposition. This dog movie is a really old film Based on the novel by Fred Gipson, Old Yeller is set in Texas in 1869. While his father is away on a cattle drive, 15-year-old Travis Coates (Tommy Kirk) takes over management of the family farm. Adopting a strictly business policy, Travis is irritated when younger brother, Arliss (Kevin Corcoran), adopts a frisky stray dog. But soon Travis is as fond of the dog as everyone else in the family; moreover, Old Yeller is an excellent watchdog. But while fighting off a mad wolf, Yeller is infected with rabies. Though Yeller seems unaffected at first, he eventually behaves so viciously that the disheartened Travis has no choice but to shoot the dog. A heart-to-heart talk between Travis and his returning father (Fess Parker), coupled with the adoption of a new pup, paves the way to an emotional but reasonably happy ending. Earning eight million dolalrs domestically on its first release, Old Yeller convinced Walt Disney to devote more and more time to live-action films and less time to animation — which at the time was a sagacious business move. In 1963, Disney released a lesser sequel to Old Yeller titled Savage Sam.
8. Iron Will (1994)
More about the son Will than his dog, the faithful dog and the spirit of the dogs father brings home the prize. His father’s demise leaves young Will Stoneman (Mackenzie Astin) and his mother struggling to save their farm from financial ruin. When options run out, Will registers for a marathon dogsled race, which touts a prize of $10,000, but is barred by race benefactor J.W. Harper (David Ogden Stiers), who believes Will is too young. However, a reporter (Kevin Spacey) with dubious motivations advocates on Will’s behalf. Soon enough, Will is back in the race, hoping to save his father’s legacy.