Old Yeller, perhaps one of the biggest tear jerker movies of all time, is a well loved classic adapted from the 1956 novel. This is the story about a family in the antebellum south. The father is away trying to earn money. Old Yeller is a stray dog who befriends the family and even defends them from a rabid wolf. This movie is popular among adults and children alike. This is the first movie that focused on the love between a boy and his dog, and it spurned many other films and books with a similar theme.
Homeward Bound: the Incredible Journey is a great family movie. This 1993 film is a remake of the lesser known 1963 film The Incredible Journey. Homeward Bound is about the journey of two dogs and a cat as they make their way home. The animal personalities rule the film. Chance, the American Bulldog, is a scrappy wanderer who tries to put out an air of not needing anyone. Shadow, the loyal and older Golden Retriever is a caring soul who watches out for the other two animals. Sassy, the long haired cat, is a prissy, pampered pet who longs to return to the comforts of home. Together these three have funny adventures as well as heart rending ones in their journey to find their loved ones. This movie helped to establish the idea of animals having individual personalities as many pet owners will attest to.
Marley and Me, the newest film on this list, is guaranteed to be a classic. Based upon the book by John Grogan, this film depicts the lovable but worst dog ever, Marley. Marley gets into disaster after disaster from tearing his home apart to shaking in his boots at every thunderstorm that rolls across Florida. Marely and Me depicts the life of Marely from puppyhood up to old age and the journey he has with his family along the way. The love for a dog that never seems to do the right thing is one that many pet owners will connect with.
Best in Show, the 2000 mockumentary about contestants in a dog show, is a hilarious look into the world of dogs and their owners. This movie is more about the people who love their dogs than about the dogs, but dog owners everywhere will love it anyway. There are five dogs featured in the film: a Norwich terrier, a Bloodhound, a Weimaraner, a Shih-Tzu, and a Poodle. These dogs represent pretty common entrants into dog shows. Their owners back stories, however, are what really brings personality to the film from the over-obsessive yuppy pet parents to the Weimaraner to the quirky owners of the Norwich terrier.
Benji, a classic dog movie from the 1970's, is a great one for anyone who has ever adopted a stray, mixed dog. This movie includes as a great mystery as Benji works to save two children who have been kidnapped. This film is guaranteed to be loved by the whole family as much as Benji, the stray dog, is loved by so many people in his town. Benji was such a popular dog character that his character was reprised for additional films all the way up to 2004, thirty years after the first Benji film debuted.