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10 Great movies about dogs that you should watch

Writer: Casey Chong


Dennis Quaid in a scene from "A Dog's Purpose".

Eight years ago, Swedish director Lasse Hallstrom directed the contemporary dog-movie classic of "Hachi: A Dog's Tale". Now, he's back with another canine movie simply titled as "A Dog's Purpose". While we are waiting for the movie's arrival this 23 February, we have compiled our 10 great dog movies based on its year of release.

1. "Lassie Come Home" (1943)

A scene from "Lassie Come Home".

Lassie definitely needs no introduction. After all, she is the famous fictional female rough collie dog character who has appeared in a number of movies and of course, the long-running 1954 TV series. But speaking of movies, we have to go with "Lassie Come Home", the first and still the best in the series. Based on the 1940 novel of the same name, "Lassie Come Home" tells a touching story about the bond between a Yorkshire boy (Roddy McDowall) and his beloved rough collie, Lassie. A terrific boy-and-his-dog movie for the whole family, "Lassie Come Home" also starred a young Elizabeth Taylor, who would later became a major Hollywood star with acclaimed movies such as "Giant" (1956)", "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" (1958), "Cleopatra" (1963) and "Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?" (1966) under her credit.

2. "Lady And The Tramp" (1955)

The famous spaghetti-sharing scene in "Lady And The Tramp".

This animated Disney classic about a star-crossed love story between a well-groomed cocker spaniel, Lady (voiced by Barbara Luddy) and a street-smart stray mutt, Tramp (Larry Roberts) may have been six decades old. But who could forget the iconic spaghetti scene where the two canines share the same strand and end up with a kiss?

3. "Old Yeller" (1957)

A scene from "Old Yeller".

This 1957 classic is often regarded as one of the best movies about a boy and his beloved dog. The story, which centres on the bond between a young boy named Travis (Tommy Kirk) and his titular stray dog (actually a Labrador Retriever/Mastiff mix) in the post-Civil War Texas, is both heartwarming and tragic. The tearjerking finale is particularly memorable.

4. "One Hundred And One Dalmatians" (1961)
and "101 Dalmatians" (1996)

A scene from "One Hundred And One Dalmatians".

Disney sure knows its dogs, and here is one of the studio's best animated classics about a litter of Dalmatian puppies that end up being abducted by the evil Cruella De Vil (voiced by Betty Lou Gerson) because she wants to turn them into a fur coat. The animation is top-notch, while Betty Lou Gerson gives her best pitch-perfect voice as Cruella De Vil, one of the greatest Disney villainesses ever seen in cinematic history.


Glenn Close as Cruella De Vil in "101 Dalmatians".

Speaking of Cruella De Vil, the 1996 live-action remake is blessed with Glenn Close's tremendous performance. In fact, she is the reason that made this movie such a huge success at the box office. Of course, there are the cute Dalmatian dogs and puppies...

5. "Hachiko Monogatari" (1987) and "Hachi: A Dog's Tale" (2009)

A scene from "Hachiko Monogatari".

A true story about the boundless loyalty of an Akita dog named Hachiko to his university-professor owner, this heartfelt 1987 Japanese family drama is a powerful tearjerker that every dog lover (and moviegoer) should watch.


A scene from "Hachi: A Dog's Tale".

The Hollywood remake, re-titled as "Hachi: A Dog's Tale", is surprisingly a worthy successor to the great Japanese original. Like "Hachiko Monogatari", director Lasse Hallstrom hits all the right emotional buttons with this movie. Both Richard Gere and the titular dog deliver terrific owner-and-pet chemistry. And yes, this too will make you shed a tear.

6. "All Dogs Go To Heaven" (1989)

A scene from "All Dogs Go To Heaven".

Although "All Dogs Go To Heaven" initially received a mixed response upon its original release in 1989, this animated feature is best seen as an alternative to Disney's usual dog-centric offerings. Co-directed by Don Bluth (best known for "The Secret of NIMH", "An American Tail" and "The Land Before Time"), "All Dogs Go To Heaven" follows a resurrected dog, Charlie (voiced by Burt Reynolds) returning to Earth to seek revenge against his killer (Vic Tayback). Thanks to Bluth's previous experience working as a Disney animator, he shows great eyes for the animation with a rich and spectacular use of colour. But what makes "All Dogs Go To Heaven" particularly unique is its blunt subject matter that deals with death, violence and yes... Hell. It's not exactly the type of animated feature that screams "wholesome for every family", but still worth checking out.

7. "K-9" (1989)

James Belushi and the police dog, "Jerry Lee" in "K-9".

Mention a movie involving a cop and his dog, and "Turner & Hooch" quickly comes to mind. But instead, this time we're going with "K-9". A buddy action-comedy that centres on a San Diego police detective Michael Dooley (James Belushi) who teams up with a police dog nicknamed "Jerry Lee" to stop a drug dealer (Kevin Tighe). No stranger to playing maverick cop after collaborating with Arnold Schwarzenegger a year prior in "Red Heat", James Belushi is perfectly typecast for the role. Not to mention the successful chemistry he has with the police dog.

8. "Beethoven" (1992)

A scene from "Beethoven".

A huge box office hit, "Beethoven" is a classic family comedy about a St. Bernard who finds his way living with the Newton family (Charles Grodin and Bonnie Hunt). The dog is exceptionally good, while the human cast, particularly Charles Grodin of "Midnight Run" fame, delivers a worthwhile comedy performance. Thanks to its enormous success back in 1992, "Beethoven" has since spawned a number of (inferior) sequels and even an animated TV show.

9. "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey" (1993)

A scene from "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey".

A popular remake of Disney's "The Incredible Journey" (1963), "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey" revolves around two dogs (an American Bulldog and a Golden Retriever) and a Himalayan cat, as they all set on an epic journey to find their owners in San Francisco. The voice cast for the three pet animals including Don Ameche, Michael J. Fox and Sally Field are all spot-on. And as a family-friendly entertainment, "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey" has all the essential Disney ingredients that appeal to most kids and pet lovers alike.

10. "Eight Below" (2006)

Paul Walker in a scene from "Eight Below".

Outside of the "Fast & Furious" series, the late Paul Walker proved he can be a worthy actor in this remarkable Disney movie inspired by a true story. Veteran director Frank Marshall ("Alive", "Congo" and also best known for producing the "Indiana Jones" series) knows well how to craft an effective tale of survival and adventure with subtle emotional hooks. The sledge dogs here are equally praiseworthy.

"A Dog's Purpose" opens in cinemas nationwide on 23 February 2017.

Cinema Online, 19 February 2017

Related Movies:
A Dog's Purpose (23 Feb 2017)
Hachiko: A Dogs Story (21 Oct 2010)



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