1.3k voters

The Best Live Action Animal Movies for Kids

Updated February 10, 2021 12.7k votes 1.3k voters 154.1k 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.

  • Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey1

    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
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  • Babe2



    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
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  • 101 Dalmatians3

    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
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  • A Dog's Way Home4

    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
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  • Stuart Little5

    ActorsHugh Laurie, Geena Davis, Michael J. Fox, Jennifer Tilly, Jeffrey Jones

    Directed byRob Minkoff

    Stuart Little is a 1999 American family comedy film directed by Rob Minkoff. It is loosely...  more
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  • The Jungle Book6

    The Jungle Book


    ActorsBill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong'o, Scarlett Johansson

    Directed byJon Favreau

    The Jungle Book is a 2016 fantasy adventure film directed and co-produced by Jon Favreau....  more
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  • The Adventures of Milo and Otis7

    ActorsDudley Moore, Shigeru Tsuyugushi

    Directed byMasanori Hata

    The Adventures of Milo and Otis is an Japanese adventure comedy-drama film about two animals,...  more
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  • Free Willy8

    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
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  • Beethoven9

    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
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  • Old Yeller10

    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
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  • Dolphin Tale11

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

    Directed byCharles Martin Smith

    Dolphin Tale is a 2011 family drama film directed by Charles Martin Smith from a screenplay by...  more
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  • Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco12

    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
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  • 102 Dalmatians13

    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
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  • Lassie14



    ActorsMichelle Williams, Helen Slater, Richard Farnsworth, Frederic Forrest, Jon Tenney

    Directed byDaniel Petrie

    Lassie is a 1994 adventure family film directed by Daniel Petrie and featuring the fictional...  more
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  • Benji15



    ActorsEdgar Buchanan, Frances Bavier, Peter Breck, Herb Vigran, Deborah Walley

    Directed byJoe Camp

    This tail-wagging tale begins as Benji visits his pals Cindy and Paul, whose father Paul...  more
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  • The Shaggy Dog [1959]16

    ActorsAnnette Funicello, Fred MacMurray, Jack Albertson, Strother Martin, Paul Frees

    Directed byCharles Barton

    The Shaggy Dog is a black-and-white 1959 Walt Disney film about Wilby Daniels, a teenage boy...  more
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  • Air Bud17

    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
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  • The Lion King18

    The Lion King


    ActorsDonald Glover, Beyoncé, James Earl Jones, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Billy Eichner

    Directed byJon Favreau

    The Lion King is a 2019 American live-action epic musical drama film directed by Jon Favreau,...  more
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  • The Incredible Journey19

    ActorsRex Allen, Jan Rubeš, John Drainie, Émile Genest, Eric Clavering

    Directed byFletcher Markle

    The Incredible Journey is a 1963 live-action Walt Disney film based on the novel, The...  more
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  • Cats & Dogs20

    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
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  • Because of Winn-Dixie21

    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
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  • Eight Below22

    ActorsPaul Walker, Moon Bloodgood, Jason Biggs, Bruce Greenwood, Wendy Crewson

    Directed byFrank Marshall

    Eight Below is a 2006 American family drama adventure film directed by Frank Marshall and...  more
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  • That Darn Cat!23

    That Darn Cat!


    ActorsRoddy McDowall, Hayley Mills, Elsa Lanchester, Dean Jones, Ed Wynn

    Directed byRobert Stevenson

    That Darn Cat! is a 1965 American Walt Disney Productions thriller comedy film starring Hayley...  more
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  • Babe: Pig in the City24

    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
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  • Doctor Dolittle25

    ActorsRichard Attenborough, Norm Macdonald, Rex Harrison, Samantha Eggar, Geoffrey Holder

    Directed byRichard Fleischer

    Doctor Dolittle is a 1967 American musical film directed by Richard Fleischer and starring Rex...  more
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