Entertainment

The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids 

Stan Holton
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16.1k votes 1.2k voters 148.6k views 81 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 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.

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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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#145 of 493 The Funniest '90s Movies #41 of 97 The Greatest Movie Remakes of All Time

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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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#201 of 348 The Best Movies Based On Books #139 of 493 The Funniest '90s Moviesfeaturing The Live Action 101 Dalmatians Is The Most Insane Fever Dream Of A Movie

3
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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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#354 of 1,198 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #130 of 292 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Crylisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
A Dog's Way Home is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
2019
A Dog's Way Home is a 2019 American family drama film directed by Charles Martin Smith, based on the book by W. Bruce Cameron. A dog (Bryce Dallas Howard) embarks on a 400-mile journey home ...more
5
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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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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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#167 of 493 The Funniest '90s Movies #114 of 314 The Best Movies for Kids

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The Jungle Book is listed (or ranked) 7 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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#13 of 177 The Very Best Movies of 2016, Ranked #18 of 58 The Best Disney Movies Starring Animalslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
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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 Texas. It is based upon ...more

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#1,068 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #78 of 396 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #51 of 78 The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels

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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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#283 of 463 The Best Feel-Good Movies #35 of 57 The Best Morgan Freeman Movies

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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
11
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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
12
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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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#92 of 119 The Very Best Movie Franchises #100 of 493 The Funniest '90s Moviesfeaturing 18 Grim Facts About The Life Of Beethoven You Never Learned As A Kid

13
102 Dalmatians is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
celia-yahccs added
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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#146 of 179 The Best Movie Sequels Ever Made #9 of 24 The Best Live Action Remakes of Animated Films #73 of 100 The Highest-Grossing G Rated Movies Of All Time

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

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#33 of 179 The Greatest Animal Movies Ever Made #24 of 128 The Best Kids Movies Rated PG

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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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#118 of 243 Critically Acclaimed Movies That Kinda Suck #43 of 58 The Best Disney Movies Starring Animals

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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
17
Eight Below is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
Mbbk6214 added
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
18
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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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#29 of 140 The Best Disney Live-Action Movies #7 of 24 The Best Disney Movies Starring Dogs

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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 day ...more

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#120 of 241 The Most Inspirational Movies Ever #176 of 314 The Best Movies for Kids

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The Incredible Journey ... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
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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
21
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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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#197 of 314 The Best Movies for Kids #7 of 53 What's the Best Florida Movie of All Time?

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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. The film was based on the book Undercover Cat by Gordon and Mildred Gordon ...more

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#26 of 140 The Best Disney Live-Action Movies #216 of 314 The Best Movies for Kids

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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
24
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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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#1,306 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #115 of 179 The Best Movie Sequels Ever Made

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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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#43 of 179 The Greatest Animal Movies Ever Made #11 of 30 Movies Based On Books You Should Have Read In 6th Grade