Marley, Lassie, Beethoven und Bolt – The 24 Best Movies of all times with and about Dogs

the best films about dogs
Dog hero with paws: "Lassie, an adventurous journey" | © Warner Bros

Here you will find the 24 best films with and about dogs. The four-legged fur noses in our film list have a lot to offer! Our editorial team has compiled a list of her favourite films and insider tips for you.

Hollywood has already discovered dogs as movie stars in the silent movie era. Lassie with Liz Taylor was as legendary as Charlie Chaplin and his dogs. Decades before Commissioner Rex and the 101 Dalmatians, they became the darlings of the public. But Beethoven, Marley and Bolt have also written film history, as have Lady and the Tramp.

Here you will find the 24 best films about the loyal heroes with the wet nose. Absolutely worth seeing insider tips for dog fans such as the feature films “Frankenweenie” and the documentary “Pick of the Litter” should not be missing. Have fun!

Marley & I
The 24 best films of all times with and about dogs

Marley & Me
Film titleMarley & me / Marley & Me (2008)
director David Frankel
ActorsOwen wilson, jennifer aniston, eric dane
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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing

After their wedding, journalists John and Jennifer Grogan move to Florida. In an attempt to stop Jennifer’s biological clock, John gives her a puppy. Although the puppy Marley grows up to a 45 kilogram dog, he loses nothing of his energy and wildness. And it’s full of surprises.

Marley’s escapades give John plenty of material for his newspaper column. As John and Jennifer mature and have children of their own, Marley, who has long since become a member of the family, also grows older.

Bailey – A friend for life

Bailey - A friend for life
Film titleBailey – A friend for life / A Dog’s Purpose (2017)
director Lasse Hallström
ActorsJosh Gad, Dennis Quaid, Peggy Lipton
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In the 1950s, a wild young dog is born, wondering what the true meaning of life is. Two weeks later he is brought to the shelter. There he is to be put down. The young dog asks himself whether “fun” is really the meaning of life. His soul is reborn as a retriever puppy and reincarnated in 1961. He is found by two garbage men who plan to sell him. They lock the dog in their car to toast the idea in a restaurant. The dog is saved from heat stroke by a little boy named Ethan and his mother.

After they convince Ethan’s father, the dog gets to stay. He’s baptized Bailey. Bailey and Ethan find each other quickly. And both learn little by little what life is and what it means to be a dog.

1 Dalmatian
The 24 best films of all times with and about dogs

101 Dalmatians
Film title101 Dalmatians (1996)
director Stephen Herek
ActorsGlenn Close, Jeff Daniels, Joely Richardson
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After a wild chase in the busy streets of London, dog owner Roger and his Dalmatian Pongo end up in the famous St. James Park. There they meet the charming fashion designer Anita and her Dalmatian dog Perdita.

One thing leads to another. Roger and Anita are getting married. And Perdita is having babies too. But the joy is short-lived. Anita’s glamorous but terrible boss, Cruella DeVil, kidnaps the puppies. She wants to have the spotted fur of the dogs made into a luxurious coat for herself. But for this she needs more puppies – a total of 101 Dalmatians should be.

2 Dalmatians

102 Dalmatians / 102 Dalmations (2000)
Film title102 Dalmatians / 102 Dalmations (2000)
director Kevin Lima
ActorsGlenn Close, Gérard Depardieu, Ioan Gruffudd
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Cruella DeVil is released from prison. She is a new person, radiating kindness and compassion even for the four-legged companions in her environment. But it does not take long until Cruellas gets the desire for a coat made of dog fur again.

The French furrier Jean Pierre Le Pelt promises to supply her with the most extravagant black and white fur coat. No matter what it costs.

Atari’s journey
The 24 best films of all times with and about dogs

Atari's journey
Film titleAtari’s journey / Isle of Dogs (2018)
director Wes Anderson
Actors Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Edward Norton
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Because a flu virus transmitted by dogs is devastating the Japanese metropolis of Megasaki, its mayor Kobayashi orders that all dogs be banished to an island – a huge waste dump off the coast.

In order to find his beloved four-legged companion Spots, the boy Atari takes the courage on a dangerous rescue mission.

Frankenweenie
The 24 best films of all times with and about dogs

Frankenweenie (2012)
Film titleFrankenweenie (2012)
directorTim Burton
ActorsWinona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short
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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing

The bright boy Victor Frankenstein has no friend other than his dog Sparky. Victors is forced by his father to play baseball, as it is only then that he gets the permission to participate in a school competition at his school. During the game Sparky chases the ball – and is hit by a car.

Victor remembers the lessons in school about the effects of electricity. He successfully reanimates Sparky with the help of a lightning bolt. Then he hides Sparky in the attic. But his classmate Edgar discovers the dog. He blackmails Victor to teach him how to bring the dead back to life. Soon Victor’s envious schoolmates bring more and more dead creatures to life. But soon they lose control. This is the hour of Victor and Sparky.

Hachiko – A wonderful friendship

Hachiko - A wonderful friendship / Hachi: A Dog's Tale (2009)
Film titleHachiko – A wonderful friendship / Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009)
directorLasse Hallström
Actors Richard Gere, Joan Allen, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
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The music professor Parker Wilson finds an Akita puppy at a railway station. He’s taking the dog home. His jealous wife Cate makes Parker first swear that he will not keep the puppy. But when it is clear that no one will claim him, she agrees to keep the dog that her daughter Andy and her fiancé Michael have loved from the first moment they met.

Parker’s Japanese friend Ken suggests to name the puppy Hachi(ko). He is surprised when Parker teaches his dog to retrieve. Something akitas don’t normally do. Hachi makes it a habit to wait for Parker at the station every evening. One day, Parker dies of a heart attack dying. His dog Hachi refuses to accept this. He continues to wait at the station every day for his master to return.

Belle and Sebastian
The 24 best films of all times with and about dogs

Belle and Sebastian / Belle et Sébastien (2013)
Film titleBelle and Sebastian / Belle et Sébastien (2013)
director Nicolas Vanier
Actors Félix Bossuet, Tchéky Karyo, Margaux Chatelier
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In 1943, the orphan Sébastien lived with his grandfather in a small village in the French Alps. His grandfather César is a shepherd, his aunt Angélina a baker. Sébastien misses his mother. He believes she has travelled to America and is waiting to receive a watch with a compass as a gift from her.

When more and more dead sheep are found on the Alps, César and the other inhabitants believe that a stray dog is tearing the animals. They decide to find the animal and kill it. But it’s Sébastien who finds the dog. He gives the bitch the name Belle and they become friends. But the animal is still regarded by the inhabitants as a beast that tears sheep.

Pick of the Litter

Pick of the Litter (2018)
Film titlePick of the Litter (2018)
directorDon Hardy, Dana Nachman
ActorsMatt Fowler
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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing

The documentary “Pick of the Litter” follows a litter of puppies in the USA from birth on their way to becoming a licensed guide dog for the blind. But the ultimate dog career poses many challenges for both man and dog.

This film accompanies the puppies and young dogs through their two-year training.

Quill
The 24 best films of all times with and about dogs

Quill (2004)
Film titleQuill (2004)
directorYôichi Sai
ActorsKaoru Kobayashi, Kippei Shina, Teruyuki Kagawa
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The Labrador puppy Quill is sent to Isamu and Mitsuko Nii. The couple trains guide dogs as volunteers. As he grows into an adult dog, Quill is taken to a guide dog school by the friendly but determined trainer Satoru Tawada. Although Quill is a little slower than the other dogs in the school, he himself seems to have an unusual “empathy” and a remarkable patience with his trainers.

The trainer Tawade decides that Quill would be the ideal guide dog for Mitsuru Watanabe. Mr. Wanatabe is a lonely and bad-tempered middle-aged man – and not at all enthusiastic about his daughter’s idea of being led by a dog.

dog days

Dog Days (2018)
Film titleDog Days (2018)
director Ken Marino
Actors Nina Dobrev, Vanessa Hudgens, Adam Pally
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Los Angeles, California, is the red thread that connects the life and destiny of man and dog in five different ways:

Elizabeth is a famous newscaster of a morning show on television. Tara works as a waitress in a café and spends her days talking to her superficial and dog walking friend Daisy. Grace and Kurt are a couple who are nervous about the arrival of their first adopted child Amelia. Dax is a teenager in the body of an adult and leader of the up-and-coming rock band Frunk. Walter is an aging and lonely widower who has lost his pet.

A dog named Beethoven

Beethoven (1992)
Film titleBeethoven (1992)
director Brian Levant
Actors Charles Grodin, Bonnie Hunt, Dean Jones
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Beethoven, an adorable puppy, accidentally ends up in the unsuspecting Newton family. There he grows up to become an 83 kilogram, drooling, disaster-prone St. Bernard dog.

When a veterinarian makes Beethoven the target of an unspeakable animal experiment, family man George becomes the only hope for the whole family.

Lassie: An adventurous journey
The 24 best films of all times with and about dogs

Lassie: An adventurous journey
Film titleLassie: An adventurous journey (2020)
director Hanno Olderdissen
Actors Sebastian Bezzel, Anna Maria Mühe, Nico Marischka
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Little Florian lives with his family and his bitch Lassie in a small Bavarian (!) village. However, the dog is a thorn in the side of the landlady. Which is why she’s threatening to expel you.

Therefore Florian’s father brings Lassie to his former boss, who takes the Collie bitch together with his granddaughter Priscilla on a business trip to a North Sea island. That’s where Lassie runs away. The dog makes the arduous journey back home while Florian and Priscilla search for her.

Lady and Tramp
The 24 best films of all times with and about dogs

Lady and Tramp (1955)
Film titleLady and Tramp (1955)
director Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson
Actors Barbara Luddy, Larry Roberts, Peggy Lee
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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing

Lady is a cocker spaniel with pedigree. The life of Lady takes a turn with the imminent arrival of a baby in the household. The dog lady doesn’t really know what a baby is or means, but she is taught a lesson about it by her two friends from the neighborhood: Jock, a real Scottish terrier, and Trusty, a hunting dog who doesn’t realize that he has lost his sense of smell.

The arrival of the baby has an even greater impact on Lady’s dog life when Aunt Sarah comes to babysit with her two mischievous Siamese cats. To get rid of baby and cats, Lady turns to Tramp, a wild mongrel she once met. Tramp lives a carefree life on the “wrong side of the tracks”. In his pack he is considered one of the most resourceful dogs, who always manages to escape the dogcatcher.

Pets

Pets (2016)
Film titlePets / The Secret Life of Pets (2016)
director Chris Renaud, Yarrow Cheney
Actors Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart
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Jack Russell Terrier Max lives with his owner Katie in an apartment in Manhattan. While she is at work during the day, he hangs around the building with other pets: tabby cat Chloe, pug Mel, dachshund Buddy and budgie Sweet Pea.

One day, Katie adopts a mongrel Duke from the shelter. Max is jealous. Angry about Max’s attitude towards him, Duke tries to dump Max in an alley. But both are attacked by cats. In the resulting adventure Max and Duke become real friends.

Pets 2
The 24 best films of all times with and about dogs

Pets 2 (2019)
Film titlePets 2 / The Secret Life of Pets (2019)
directorChris Renaud, Jonathan del Val
Actors Patton Oswalt, Kevin Hart, Harrison Ford
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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing

Max’s beloved owner Katie brings home a new “animal” one day: a screaming little creature that people call a baby.

But when a shy bond between baby and dog unexpectedly forms, Max is overwhelmed by the concern for the safety of the defenseless child. At the same time, Snowball, the heroic bunny, and Daisy, the vivacious Shih Tzu, decide to join forces to rescue a white tiger cub from the clutches of a ruthless circus owner.

Bolt: A dog for all cases
The 24 best films of all times with and about dogs

Bolt: A dog for all cases (2008)
Film titleBolt: A dog for all cases (2008)
directorByron Howard, Chris Williams
ActorsJohn Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Susie Essman
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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing

Bolt tells the story of a dog who plays a superhero dog in a successful TV show. Bot has difficulty realizing that he only has real superpowers on TV. And when he is accidentally shipped from Hollywood to New York City, he does indeed need supernatural abilities. Or capable friends. He finds it in an old cat and an overweight hamster.

Cap and Capper – Two friends on eight paws
The 24 best films of all times with and about dogs

Cap and Capper - Two friends on eight paws (1981)
Film titleCap and Capper – Two friends on eight paws (1981)
directorTed Berman, Richard Rich
ActorsMickey Rooney, Kurt Russell, Pearl Bailey
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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing

The orphaned fox cub Tod is raised by a childless widow happy, semi-wild pet in the country. Vixen Death even befriends the puppy Copper, the puppy and apprentice of Hunting Dog Chief, who is kept in the dark by his neighbour.

As they grow up, Copper goes to hunting training, from which he returns as a routine prey hunter. Soon he should experience his first real hunt and show everyone what he can do. This exactly when death is released from the widow in the wilderness.

Shiloh
The 24 best films of all times with and about dogs

Shiloh (1996)
Film titleShiloh (1996)
directorDale Rosenbloom
ActorsBlake Heron, Michael Moriarty, Scott Wilson
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A battered beagle runs away from its owner. In the street he meets young Marty and follows him home. The boy calls the dog Shiloh. But his father does not let the boy keep the dog because it belongs to Judd Travers, a local hunter.

After Shiloh is abused again, he runs away and returns to Marty. Judd builds a secret home for the dog in an old shed and hides him from his family. But his secret is discovered when one night a stray animal attacks Shiloh.

My dog Skip

My Dog Skip / My Dog Skip (2000)
Film titleMy Dog Skip / My Dog Skip (2000)
director Jay Russell
ActorsFrankie Muniz, Kevin Bacon, Diane Lane
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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing

Willie Morris is the only son of the rough war veteran Jack Morris, who lost his leg in Spain, and the housewife and lovable mother Ellen Morris. Willie is harassed by his schoolmates. His only friend is his older neighbour Dink Jenkins, a baseball player and idol of the city. When Dink goes to Europe to fight in the Second World War, Willie is alone again.

But on his ninth birthday, Ellen gives her son a dog, despite the father’s protest. Willie gives the skipper the name “Skip.” Skip helps Willie make friends and get closer to the girl he has fallen in love with.

Beverly Hills Chihuahua
The 24 best films of all times with and about dogs

Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008)
Film titleBeverly Hills Chihuahua (2008)
director Raja Gosnell
ActorsDrew Barrymore, George Lopez, Piper Perabo
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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing

Chloe, a diamond-studded, heavily coddled Beverly Hills Chihuahua, is looked after by her owner’s niece, Rachel, when her owner leaves for one of her fashion shows in Europe. Rachel enjoys her aunt’s prosperous home, but can’t resist a weekend trip to Mexico with her friends. In her pocket with her: Chloe.

Chloe gets lost in Mexico pretty fast. She gets thrown into a dogfighting ring where she meets Delgado. After saving her and himself, Delgado agrees to help her get home. The two dogs begin their journey across Mexico back to Beverly Hills.

Show Dogs
The 24 best films of all times with and about dogs

Show Dogs (2018)
Film titleShow Dogs (2018)
director Raja Gosnell
Actors Will Arnett, Ludacris, Natasha Lyonne
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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing

In a world where humans and talking animals exist, a macho but lonely Rottweiler police dog named Max is ordered to stop a band of animal smugglers on the occasion of a prestigious dog show with his human partner Frank. This uses the dog show as a camouflage.

When Max finds out that the criminals are planning to sell Ling-Li, a baby giant panda, at the dog show in Las Vegas, he is forced to give everything.

Red Dog – a hero on four paws
The 24 best films of all times with and about dogs

Red Dog - A hero on four paws (2011)
Film titleRed Dog – A hero on four paws (2011)
director Kriv Stenders
ActorsJosh Lucas, Rachael Taylor, Rohan Nichol
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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing

“Red Dog – a hero on four paws” is the story of a legendary, lovable red dog, who roams the outback in search of his original master and finds his way into the hearts of all people he meets. Like “Hachiko – A Wonderful Friendship” the movie is based on a true story.

Max: Best friend. Hero. Savior.
The 24 best films of all times with and about dogs

Max: Best friend. Hero. Savior. (2015)
Film titleMax: Best friend. Hero. Savior. (2015)
directorBoaz Yakin
ActorsThomas Haden Church, Josh Wiggins, Luke Small Tank
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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing

When Justin’s older brother, Kyle, is killed in Afghanistan, Justin cannot believe that his brother is really dead. Kyle just left him something: Max, a perfectly trained military dog. But after he lost his master Kyle, Max is traumatized. He is sent back to America, where the only person where Justin is waiting for him

At first Justin has no interest in taking care of his late brother’s dog, which got into trouble. However, the two learn to trust each other, which helps the four-legged veteran to become his heroic self again. The couple begins to unravel the mystery of what really happened to Kyle.

Where can I buy/stream these films?

We recommend the following platforms for watching the movies in this article (click on the logo to open the link)

Filmpuls receives neither a commission nor any other monetary benefit for your purchase/click.

amazon prime video
Amazon Prime

Apple TV Plus
Apple TV Plus

Google Play
Google Play

disney-plus
Disney +

sky-ticket
sky TICKET

network cinema
Network cinema

maxdome
maxdome

Netflix
Netflix

MUBI
Mubi

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Under the designation Editorial Staff Filmpulse, articles appear that are created or edited jointly by several members of the editorial staff.

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