1.3k voters

The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids

Updated February 10, 2021 11.2k votes 1.3k voters 155.0k views79 items

List RulesOnly children's films that feature live animals. No movies that are only animated.

What are the best animal movies for kids? This list of great live animal movies for children includes some of the most classic, iconic movies in cinema history. Many of them, not surprisingly, rank among the best children's movies and films of all time, and several are Disney live action movies, as well. Which ones are your favorites, and which ones do you believe are the most appropriate for youngsters? Time to vote! And, by all means, if you know of an outstanding (live action) animal movie that's great for the kiddos and isn't on the list right now, add it!

Many of the greatest animal movies ever made are geared, at least in part, towards children. From the loveable, wonderful, Academy Award-winning 'Babe' to the adventures of one of the cinema's greatest pooches, Benji, live action animal movies have entertained generations of children over the decades.

Obviously, any list of the best animal movies for children must include the animals (perhaps the greatest dog movies?) From 'Beethoven' to 'Air Bud' and Disney's 'The Shaggy Dog,' these pooches gave their all with their outstanding performances, all of our entertainment.

But it isn't just the dogs who should get all the credit: Several films on this list are among the best cat movies and cat movies for kids, including 'That Darn Cat!' and the campy classic 'The Cat From Outer Space.' Cats and dogs share the screen too, in excellent kids animal movies like 'Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey,' 'The Adventures of Milo & Otis' and the aptly titled 'Cats & Dogs.' You might also like our list of dog movies for kids and Disney animal movies.

  • 1


    Babe is a 1995 comedy-drama film, co-written and directed by Chris Noonan. It is an adaptation...  more

    More Babe 

    #22 of 50 The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the '90s#86 of 277 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry

  • 2
    101 Dalmatians is a 1996 family comedy film written and produced by John Hughes and directed...  more

    More 101 Dalmatians 

    The Live Action 101 Dalmatians Is The Most Insane Fever Dream Of A Movie#219 of 376 The Best Movies Based On Books

  • 3
    Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey is a 1993 American remake of the 1963 film The...  more

    More Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey 

    #59 of 109 The Best Disney Live-Action Movies#28 of 59 The Best Disney Movies Starring Animals

  • 4
    Free Willy is a 1993 American family drama film that was released by Warner Bros. under its...  more

    More Free Willy 

    #12 of 18 18 Movies With 'Happy Endings' That Were Actually Unspeakably Tragic#5 of 12 Classic '90s Kids Movies You Forgot Are Actually Super Messed Up

  • 5
    Stuart Little is a 1999 American family comedy film directed by Rob Minkoff. It is loosely...  more

    More Stuart Little 

    #165 of 252 The Funniest '90s Movies#701 of 923 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films

  • 6

    The Jungle Book

    The Jungle Book is a 2016 fantasy adventure film directed and co-produced by Jon Favreau....  more


    #80 of 115 The Best Movies to Watch on Mushrooms#16 of 136 The Very Best Movies of 2016, Ranked

  • 7


    Lassie is a 1994 adventure family film directed by Daniel Petrie and featuring the fictional...  more

    More Lassie 

    #55 of 191 The Greatest Animal Movies Ever Made#13 of 109 The Greatest Dog Movies Of All Time

  • 8
    Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco is the 1996 sequel to the 1993 film Homeward Bound:...  more

    More Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco 

    #93 of 110 The Best Movies To Stream On Disney+#19 of 22 The Best Disney Movies Starring Cats

  • 9
    102 Dalmatians is a 2000 family comedy film directed by Kevin Lima in his live action...  more

    More 102 Dalmatians 

    #93 of 179 The Best G-Rated Family Movies#74 of 199 The Best G-Rated Children's Movies

  • 10
    Old Yeller is a 1957 American family tragedy film produced by Walt Disney. It stars Tommy...  more

    More Old Yeller 

    #68 of 96 The Best Film Adaptations Of Young Adult Novels#73 of 400 The Best Western Movies Ever Made

  • 11
    Dolphin Tale is a 2011 family drama film directed by Charles Martin Smith from a screenplay by...  more

    More Dolphin Tale 

    #296 of 425 The Best Feel-Good Movies#31 of 56 The Best Morgan Freeman Movies

  • 12
    Air Bud is a 1997 American family comedy film that sparked the franchise centered on the...  more

    More Air Bud 

    #420 of 440 Your Favorite Movies of the 1990s#131 of 152 The Most Inspirational Sports Movies

  • 13
    Because of Winn-Dixie is a 2005 American family comedy-drama film adapted from the book of the...  more

    More Because of Winn-Dixie 

    #89 of 244 The Best Movies For Kids#13 of 53 What's the Best Florida Movie of All Time?

  • 14
    Black Beauty is a 1994 film adaptation of Anna Sewell's novel by the same name directed by...  more
  • 15
    Cats & Dogs is a 2001 American-Australian action-comedy film, directed by Lawrence Guterman....  more

    More Cats & Dogs 

    #6 of 59 The Best Movies Released July 4th Weekend#61 of 78 The Best Alec Baldwin Movies

  • 16
    Babe: Pig in the City is a 1998 Australian-American comedy-drama film and the sequel to the...  more

    More Babe: Pig in the City 

    #1413 of 1,506 The Most Rewatchable Movies#10 of 21 The Most WTF Sequels Ever Made

  • 17
    A Dog's Way Home is a 2019 American family drama film directed by Charles Martin Smith, based...  more
  • 18
    Doctor Dolittle is a 1967 American musical film directed by Richard Fleischer and starring Rex...  more

    More Doctor Dolittle 

    'Doctor Dolittle' Was A Production Nightmare That Nearly Destroyed 20th Century Fox#261 of 1,195 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

  • 19
    Beethoven is a 1992 family comedy film, directed by Brian Levant and starring Charles Grodin...  more

    More Beethoven 

    18 Grim Facts About The Life Of Beethoven You Never Learned As A Kid#100 of 103 The Very Best Movie Franchises

  • 20
    The Adventures of Milo and Otis is an Japanese adventure comedy-drama film about two animals,...  more

    More The Adventures of Milo and Otis 

    #140 of 196 The Best Adventure Movies#7 of 40 The Funniest Movies About Animals

  • 21
    Dr. Dolittle is a 1998 American family comedy film starring Eddie Murphy as a doctor who...  more

    More Dr. Dolittle 

    #48 of 50 The 50 Highest Grossing '90s Movies, Ranked#111 of 666 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked

  • 22


    This tail-wagging tale begins as Benji visits his pals Cindy and Paul, whose father Paul...  more

    More Benji 

    #206 of 552 The Best '70s Movies#8 of 41 The Best Children's and Kids' Movies on Netflix

  • 23
    Stuart Little 2 is a 2002 American live-action film, directed by Rob Minkoff and starring...  more
  • 24
    The Shaggy Dog is a black-and-white 1959 Walt Disney film about Wilby Daniels, a teenage boy...  more

    More The Shaggy Dog [1959] 

    #224 of 440 The Best Fantasy Movies#76 of 140 The Best Classic Fantasy Movies, Ranked

  • 25


    Lassie is a 2005 British-American-French-Irish adventure comedy-drama family film based on...  more