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The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids

Updated August 28, 2020 12.4k votes 1.3k voters 153.2k views84 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.

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  • 1
    Homeward Bound: The Incredible is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids

    ActorsSally Field, Michael J. Fox, Frank Welker, Don Ameche, Jean Smart

    Directed byDuwayne Dunham

    Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey is a 1993 American remake of the 1963 film The... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 2
    101 Dalmatians is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids

    ActorsHugh Laurie, Glenn Close, Jeff Daniels, Joely Richardson, Frank Welker

    101 Dalmatians is a 1996 family comedy film written and produced by John Hughes and directed... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 3
    Babe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
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    Babe

    1995

    ActorsHugo Weaving, James Cromwell, Miriam Margolyes, Roscoe Lee Browne, Magda Szubanski

    Directed byChris Noonan

    Babe is a 1995 comedy-drama film, co-written and directed by Chris Noonan. It is an adaptation... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 4
    Free Willy is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
    183
    77

    ActorsDanielle Harris, Michael Madsen, Michael Ironside, Mykelti Williamson, Richard Riehle

    Directed bySimon Wincer

    Free Willy is a 1993 American family drama film that was released by Warner Bros. under its... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 5
    102 Dalmatians is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids

    ActorsGlenn Close, Ioan Gruffudd, Gérard Depardieu, Eric Idle, Ian Richardson

    Directed byKevin Lima

    102 Dalmatians is a 2000 family comedy film directed by Kevin Lima in his live action... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 6
    The Jungle Book is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
    137
    36

    The Jungle Book

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

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  • 7
    Stuart Little is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
    199
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    ActorsHugh Laurie, Geena Davis, Michael J. Fox, Jennifer Tilly, Jeffrey Jones

    Directed byRob Minkoff

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  • 8
    Homeward Bound II: Lost in San is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids

    ActorsSally Field, Michael J. Fox, Carla Gugino, Tommy Lasorda, Sinbad

    Directed byDavid R. Ellis

    Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco is the 1996 sequel to the 1993 film Homeward Bound:... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 9
    Air Bud is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
    154
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    ActorsMark Jackson, Kevin Zegers, Michael Jeter, Wendy Makkena, Bill Cobbs

    Directed byCharles Martin Smith

    Air Bud is a 1997 American family comedy film that sparked the franchise centered on the... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 10
    My Dog Skip is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
    144
    66

    ActorsDiane Lane, Kevin Bacon, Frankie Muniz, Harry Connick, Jr.

    Directed byJay Russell

    My Dog Skip is a 2000 film, directed by Jay Russell. It is based on the autobiographical book... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 11
    Old Yeller is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
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    ActorsChuck Connors, Fess Parker, Dorothy McGuire, Tommy Kirk, Kevin Corcoran

    Directed byRobert Stevenson

    Old Yeller is a 1957 American family tragedy film produced by Walt Disney. It stars Tommy... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 12
    Dolphin Tale is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
    169
    69

    ActorsMorgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Kris Kristofferson, Harry Connick, Jr.

    Directed byCharles Martin Smith

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  • 13
    Garfield: The Movie is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids

    ActorsJennifer Love Hewitt, Bill Murray, Debra Messing, Nick Cannon, Jimmy Kimmel

    Directed byPeter Hewitt

    Garfield: The Movie, or simply Garfield, is a 2004 American live-action comedy film directed... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 14
    Babe: Pig in the City is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids

    ActorsNaomi Watts, Mickey Rooney, Hugo Weaving, James Cromwell, Steven Wright

    Directed byGeorge Miller

    Babe: Pig in the City is a 1998 Australian-American comedy-drama film and the sequel to the... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 15
    Cats & Dogs is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
    183
    105

    ActorsAlec Baldwin, Susan Sarandon, Jeff Goldblum, Charlton Heston, Tobey Maguire

    Directed byLawrence Guterman

    Cats & Dogs is a 2001 American-Australian action-comedy film, directed by Lawrence Guterman.... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 16
    Because of Winn-Dixie is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids

    ActorsElle Fanning, AnnaSophia Robb, Jeff Daniels, Dave Matthews, Eva Marie Saint

    Directed byWayne Wang

    Because of Winn-Dixie is a 2005 American family comedy-drama film adapted from the book of the... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 17
    Black Beauty is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
    117
    62

    ActorsSean Bean, Alan Cumming, Peter Cook, David Thewlis, Peter Davison

    Directed byCaroline Thompson

    Black Beauty is a 1994 film adaptation of Anna Sewell's novel by the same name directed by... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 18
    A Dog's Way Home is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids

    ActorsAshley Judd, Edward James Olmos, Alexandra Shipp, Wes Studi, Chris Bauer

    Directed byCharles Martin Smith

    A Dog's Way Home is a 2019 American family drama film directed by Charles Martin Smith, based... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 19
    Beethoven is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
    184
    78

    ActorsJoseph Gordon-Levitt, David Duchovny, Patricia Heaton, Stanley Tucci, Oliver Platt

    Directed byBrian Levant

    Beethoven is a 1992 family comedy film, directed by Brian Levant and starring Charles Grodin... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 20
    Lassie is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
    82
    45

    Lassie

    2005

    ActorsPeter O'Toole, Peter Dinklage, Samantha Morton, Kelly Macdonald, Edward Fox

    Directed byCharles Sturridge

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  • 21
    Air Buddies is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids
    87
    58

    ActorsAbigail Breslin, Michael Clarke Duncan, Molly Shannon, Don Knotts, Wallace Shawn

    Directed byRobert Vince

    Here's the delightful tale of teamwork and adventure your whole family will love! Air Bud is... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 22
    The Adventures of Milo and Oti is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids

    ActorsDudley Moore, Shigeru Tsuyugushi

    Directed byMasanori Hata

    The Adventures of Milo and Otis is an Japanese adventure comedy-drama film about two animals,... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 23
    The Chronicles of Narnia: The  is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids

    ActorsLiam Neeson, Tilda Swinton, James McAvoy, Ray Winstone, Anna Popplewell

    Directed byAndrew Adamson

    The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a 2005 fantasy adventure... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 24
    Stuart Little 2 is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids

    ActorsHugh Laurie, Geena Davis, Michael J. Fox, James Woods, Melanie Griffith

    Directed byRob Minkoff

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  • 25
    Lassie Come Home is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids

    ActorsElizabeth Taylor, Roddy McDowall, Elsa Lanchester, Alan Napier, Edmund Gwenn

    Directed byFred M. Wilcox

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