Family The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids  

Stan Holton
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13.3k votes 1k voters 127.2k views 74 items

List Rules Only 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, 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.'

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Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey 1993 Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey is a 1993 American remake of the 1963 film The Incredible Journey, which was based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Sheila Burnford. Directed ...more

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Babe 1995 Babe is a 1995 comedy-drama film, co-written and directed by Chris Noonan. It is an adaptation of Dick King-Smith's 1983 novel The Sheep-Pig, also known as Babe: The Gallant Pig in the USA, ...more

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101 Dalmatians 1996 101 Dalmatians is a 1996 family comedy film written and produced by John Hughes and directed by Stephen Herek. It is the second adaptation of Dodie Smith's 1956 novel The Hundred and One ...more

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The Adventures of Milo and Otis 1986 The Adventures of Milo and Otis is an Japanese adventure comedy-drama film about two animals, the titular characters, Milo and Otis. The original English version was released on June 27, 1986, ...more

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Stuart Little 1999 Stuart Little is a 1999 American family comedy film directed by Rob Minkoff. It is loosely based on the novel of the same name by E. B. White. It combines live action and computer animation. The ...more

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Beethoven 1992 Beethoven is a 1992 family comedy film, directed by Brian Levant and starring Charles Grodin as George Newton and Bonnie Hunt as Alice Newton. The film is the first in the Beethoven film series. ...more

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Cats & Dogs 2001 Cats & Dogs is a 2001 American-Australian action-comedy film, directed by Lawrence Guterman. The screenplay by John Requa and Glenn Ficarra centers on the relationships between cats and ...more

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Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco 1996 Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco is the 1996 sequel to the 1993 film Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. Directed by David R. Ellis, the film features the three animals from the ...more

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Old Yeller 1957 Old Yeller is a 1957 American family tragedy film produced by Walt Disney. It stars Tommy Kirk, Dorothy McGuire and Beverly Washburn. It is about a boy and a stray dog in post-Civil War Texas. ...more

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Dolphin Tale 2011 Dolphin Tale is a 2011 family drama film directed by Charles Martin Smith from a screenplay by Karen Janszen and Noam Dromi and a book of the same name. It stars Nathan Gamble, Harry Connick, ...more

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

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Eight Below is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
Mbbk6214 added Eight Below 2006 Eight Below is a 2006 American family drama adventure film directed by Frank Marshall and written by David DiGilio. It stars Paul Walker, Bruce Greenwood, Moon Bloodgood, and Jason Biggs. It was ...more

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The Jungle Book is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
Tom Islava added The Jungle Book The Jungle Book is a 2016 fantasy adventure film directed and co-produced by Jon Favreau. Based on Rudyard Kipling's eponymous collective works and inspired by Walt Disney's 1967 animated film ...more

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Free Willy 1993 Free Willy is a 1993 American family drama film that was released by Warner Bros. under its Family Entertainment label. The film stars Jason James Richter as a delinquent boy who becomes ...more

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Air Bud 1997 Air Bud is a 1997 American family comedy film that sparked the franchise centered on the real-life dog, Buddy, a Golden Retriever. The film was financially successful, grossing $4 million in its ...more

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102 Dalmatians is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
celia-yahccs added 102 Dalmatians 2000 102 Dalmatians is a 2000 family comedy film directed by Kevin Lima in his live action directorial debut and produced by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the sequel to the 1996 film 101 Dalmatians and ...more

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The Shaggy Dog [1959] 1959 The Shaggy Dog is a black-and-white 1959 Walt Disney film about Wilby Daniels, a teenage boy who by the power of an enchanted ring of the Borgias is transformed into the title character, a ...more

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Benji 1974 This tail-wagging tale begins as Benji visits his pals Cindy and Paul, whose father Paul Chapman, won't let them give the mutt a home.  But the shaggy stray changes his mind by saving the ...more

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Garfield: The Movie 2004 Garfield: The Movie, or simply Garfield, is a 2004 American live-action comedy film directed by Peter Hewitt based on the Jim Davis comic strip of the same name. It stars Breckin Meyer as Jon ...more

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Robin Hood is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
but chickens double d added Robin Hood 1973 Robin Hood is a 1973 American animated film produced by Walt Disney Productions which was first released in the United States on November 8, 1973. The 21st animated feature in the Walt Disney ...more

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Stuart Little 2 2002 Stuart Little 2 is a 2002 American live-action film, directed by Rob Minkoff and starring Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie and Jonathan Lipnicki and the voices of Michael J. Fox, Nathan Lane, Melanie ...more

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Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
but chickens double d added Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure 2001 Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure is a 2001 American animated direct-to-video sequel to the 1955 animated feature film Lady and the Tramp. The film centers on Lady and Tramp's only son, ...more

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Babe: Pig in the City 1998 Babe: Pig in the City is a 1998 Australian-American comedy-drama film and the sequel to the 1995 film Babe. It is co-written, produced and directed by George Miller, who co-wrote and produced ...more

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The Incredible Journey is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
but chickens double d added The Incredible Journey 1963 The Incredible Journey is a 1963 live-action Walt Disney film based on the novel, The Incredible Journey, by Sheila Burnford. Narrated by Rex Allen, the film follows the adventure of three pets, ...more

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Because of Winn-Dixie 2005 Because of Winn-Dixie is a 2005 American family comedy-drama film adapted from the book of the same name by Kate DiCamillo, written by Joan Singleton, produced by Trevor Albert and directed by ...more

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That Darn Cat! 1965 That Darn Cat! is a 1965 American Walt Disney Productions thriller comedy film starring Hayley Mills and Dean Jones in a story about bank robbers, a kidnapping and a mischievous cat. The film ...more

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Dinosaur is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
but chickens double d added Dinosaur 2000 Dinosaur is a 2000 American live-action/computer-animated science fiction adventure film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation with The Secret Lab, and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It ...more

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Lassie is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
celia-yahccs added Lassie 2005 Lassie is a 2005 British-American-French-Irish adventure comedy-drama family film based on Eric Knight's 1940 novel Lassie Come-Home about the profound bond between Joe Carraclough and his rough ...more

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Black Beauty 1994 Black Beauty is a 1994 film adaptation of Anna Sewell's novel by the same name directed by Caroline Thompson in her directorial debut. The film stars Andrew Knott, Sean Bean and David Thewlis. ...more

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Hotel for Dogs 2009 Hotel for Dogs is a 2009 American family comedy film based on the 1971 Lois Duncan novel of the same name. The film, directed by Thor Freudenthal and adapted by Jeff Lowell, Bob Schooley, and ...more

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Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2008 Beverly Hills Chihuahua is a 2008 American adventure comedy film produced by Walt Disney Pictures, the first in the Beverly Hills Chihuaha series. It is directed by Raja Gosnell and was released ...more

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Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Ki... is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
vijayboeing747 added Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore 2010 Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore is a 2010 family action comedy film, directed by Brad Peyton. The film stars Chris O'Donnell and Jack McBrayer. The film also stars the voices of ...more

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Marmaduke 2010 Marmaduke is a summer 2010 comedy film based upon long-running comic strip of the same name which features misadventures of Marmaduke, the loveable great dane dog and the family he lives with. ...more

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Dr. Dolittle 1998 Dr. Dolittle is a 1998 American family comedy film starring Eddie Murphy as a doctor who discovers that he has the ability to talk to animals. The film was inspired by the series of children's ...more

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Firehouse Dog 2007 Firehouse Dog is a 2007 American family film produced by Regency Enterprises and distributed by 20th Century Fox. Directed by Todd Holland, it stars Josh Hutcherson, Bruce Greenwood, Dash Mihok, ...more

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The Shaggy Dog 2006 The Shaggy Dog is a 2006 comedy film by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the second remake of the 1959 film of the same name, which was first remade as a television film in 1994. Both the 1959 and ...more

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Doctor Dolittle is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
Doctor Dolittle 1967 Doctor Dolittle is a 1967 American musical film directed by Richard Fleischer and starring Rex Harrison, Samantha Eggar, Anthony Newley and Richard Attenborough. It was adapted by Leslie ...more

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Flicka 2006 Flicka is a 2006 film loosely based on the 1941 children's novel My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara. The film is directed by Michael Mayer. The novel has previously been made into a film in 1943, ...more

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Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 2011 Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 is a 2010 comedy film directed by Alex Zamm.

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Air Buddies is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
Air Buddies 2006 Here's the delightful tale of teamwork and adventure your whole family will love! Air Bud is the proud father of five adorable puppies -- the hip-hoppin' B-Dawg, lovely RoseBud, mellow Bud-Dha, ...more

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Beethoven's 2nd 1993 Beethoven's 2nd is a 1993 family film directed by Rod Daniel, and the first sequel to the 1992 film, Beethoven. It starred Charles Grodin, Bonnie Hunt, and Debi Mazar. It is the second of eight ...more

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Good Boy! is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
nellyrose2010 added Good Boy! 2003 Good Boy! is a 2003 comedy film, directed by John Robert Hoffman and produced by Jim Henson Pictures, released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and starring 7 talking dogs. The film stars Liam Aiken as ...more

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For the Love of Benji 1977 Benji’s family is en route to a vacation in Greece when a fellow passenger “borrows” Benji for just long enough to tattoo a mysterious message on his paw.  Separated from the family in ...more

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Lassie Come Home is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
celia-yahccs added Lassie Come Home 1943 Lassie Come Home is a 1943 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Technicolor feature film starring Roddy McDowall and canine actor, Pal, in a story about the profound bond between Yorkshire boy Joe Carraclough ...more

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Secretariat 2010 Secretariat is a 2010 biographical sports drama film produced and released by Walt Disney Pictures and directed by Randall Wallace. The film chronicles the life of thoroughbred race horse ...more

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The Shaggy D.A. 1976 The Shaggy D.A. is a 1976 film sequel to 1959's The Shaggy Dog produced by Walt Disney Productions. It was directed by Robert Stevenson and written by Don Tait, based on the original film and ...more

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Santa Buddies 2009 Santa Buddies is a 2009 direct to video film. It is the fourth installment of the Air Buddies spin-off series as well as the ninth film in the Air Bud franchise. It was released on November 2,

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The Cat from Outer Space 1978 The Cat from Outer Space is a 1978 American comic science fiction film, starring Ronnie Schell, Ken Berry, Sandy Duncan, Harry Morgan, Roddy McDowall and McLean Stevenson. Produced by Walt ...more

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Air Bud: Golden Receiver 1998 Air Bud: Golden Receiver is the 1998 sequel to Air Bud. The film was shot in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It is also the last of the Air Bud films to be released theatrically. Outside ...more

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Hachi: A Dog's Tale 2009 Hachi: A Dog's Tale is a 2009 drama film. Based on the true story of a faithful Akita Inu, the titular Hachikō, it is directed by Lasse Hallström, written by Stephen P. Lindsey,Kaneto ...more