Film Favorites That Star Cute Animals

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures
February 16th, 2014

Some of the greatest movies of all time are centered around dogs, cats, horses, pigs and even killer whales. From the doghouse and the barnyard to the ocean and beyond, animal movies are guaranteed to be filled with adorable moments that warm the heart. Here are eight film favorites that star animals.


milo-otis-image.jpgPhoto Credit: Columbia Pictures
"The Adventures of Milo and Otis"

A family favorite since its release in 1989, "The Adventures of Milo and Otis" is the adorable story of a young pug and an orange tabby, an adventurous pair who become fast friends. When the kitten, Milo, accidentally drifts off in the river, Otis sets off on his own journey to track her down. The movie's directors shot more than 40 hours of film in a four-year period and then edited the footage to tell the sweet story. Audiences loved the sentimental tale, and it won several awards.



babe-image.jpgPhoto Credit: Universal Pictures

"Babe" is the 1995 story of a young piglet that takes special care to befriend all the animals on his farm. His friend Fly, a sheepdog, helps Babe to realize his dream of becoming a successful sheepherder. The film's directors used a combination of real and animatronic animals to complete the movie's scenes, and a hit was born. Grossing more than $254 million at the box office, "Babe" was nominated for seven Academy Awards and even won a Golden Globe. A highly anticipated sequel, "Babe: Pig in the City," followed in 1998.



black-beauty-image.jpgPhoto Credit: Warner Bros.

"Black Beauty"

Based on the 1877 novel by Anna Sewell, "Black Beauty" is a story that has been told many times in film. The 1994 version directed by Caroline Thompson is the autobiographical tale of a black stallion who details the trials and tribulations of his life. While the film received mixed reviews and performed poorly at the box office, many viewers still love the movie's gorgeous imagery and beautiful soundtrack.



winn-dixie-image.jpgPhoto Credit: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

"Because of Winn-Dixie"
This sweet family film was released in 2005 and stars Jeff Daniels, AnnaSophia Robb, Cicely Tyson, Dave Matthews and an adorable Picardy Shepherd as Winn-Dixie. When a 10-year-old girl and her preacher father move to a new town, she adopts a dog that helps her build friendships and renews the relationship with her father. The film grossed over $33 million at the box office, and audiences loved its endearing story.



air-bud-image.jpgPhoto Credit: Buena Vista Pictures

"Air Bud"
The 1997 family comedy focuses on two of America's favorite subjects: dogs and basketball.  As a 12-year-old boy heals emotionally after his father's tragic death, his family moves to a new town where he is too timid to try out for the school's basketball team. When he befriends a dog that has unbelievable basketball abilities, he gains the courage to try out for the team. The film grossed more than $24 million and has spurned several sequel films.



old-yeller-movie.jpgPhoto Credit: Buena Vista Pictures

"Old Yeller"
An American classic, "Old Yeller" is the 1957 book-based film that was produced by Walt Disney and directed by Robert Stevenson. When a young boy encounters a stray dog, the two soon form an unbreakable bond. After Yeller gets bitten by a rabid wolf in an attempt to protect the boy's family, the young boy must learn the sad facts of life and death. The classic tear-jerker received high praises from critics and earned more than $2 million after its 1965 re-release.



beethoven-image.jpgPhoto Credit: Universal Pictures

The 1992 family comedy stars Charles Grodin, Bonnie Hunt, Stanley Tucci and a slobbering St. Bernard. Despite their father's protest, three children fall in love with a puppy who grows into a large dog and is wanted by an evil veterinarian for experimentation purposes. The fun film grossed more than $147 million, and critics loved the entertainment value. "Beethoven" spawned six sequels between 1993 and 2011.



free-willy-image.jpgPhoto Credit: Warner Bros.

"Free Willy"
While all other films on this list feature four-legged friends, "Free Willy" is the tale of a boy's bond with a killer whale. The 1993 family drama tells the story of a troubled 12-year-old boy who finds himself in the home of a foster family. While working at an amusement park, the boy encounters Willy, an orca whale that was separated from its family. As the boy teaches Willy tricks, he vows to return the whale to its family and builds a relationship with his foster parents in the process. "Free Willy" grossed $153 million worldwide and was well-received by audiences.

While animated animal films are well-loved, movies that star real animal actors are special. These eight favorites that star animals make great choices for those looking for movies to please the entire family.