The Best Animal Performances in Film History

The best animal performances in film history includes some of the greatest cinematic achievements by dogs, cats, monkeys, dolphins and even bears. These animals provide great supporting roles in major motion pictures. Whether they're acting heroically or just providing some much-needed comic relief, animals in movies always add a little extra something on the big screen. Be sure to vote for your favorite animal performances in film history -- and vote down those animals whose performances you feel lacked a certain...humanity.

From Einstein in 'Back to the Future' to Uggie from 'The Artist,' dogs definitely lead the pack (so to speak) when it comes to great animal movie performances. These four-legged thespians are highly trained professionals who can steal entire films away from the humans. They can make us laugh (Crystal the Monkey from 'Hangover II') and cry (Old Yeller, we're talking to you). Hats off to the dogs of cinema, and their wonderful trainers!

It's not fair or right to exclude other brilliant animal movie performers, either. Monkeys and orangutans are also on this list. Who can forget Clyde from 'Every Which Way But Loose,' or Crystal from 'The Hangover Part II?'

In case you're wondering, I've only included movies that feature actual live animals. This, unfortunately, disqualifies the Gopher from 'Caddyshack.' Sorry, Mr. Gopher. It also disqualifies animated movies like Disney's '101 Dalmatians' and 'Lady and the Tramp.' Enjoy this list and be amazed - animals have been a huge part of some of the best movies ever made, including the best dog movies ever.
 

Ranked by
  • Toto
    1
    74 votes
    The Wizard of Oz
    Played by Toto the Dog
  • Lassie
    2
    59 votes
    Lassie, Courage of Lassie, Lassie Come Home
    Played by Lassie the Dog
  • Shadow
    3
    36 votes
    Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey
    Played by Ben the Dog
  • Chance
    4
    37 votes
    Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco
    Played by Rattler the Dog
  • Benji
    5
    39 votes
    Benji, Benji: Off the Leash!, For the Love of Benji
    Played by Benji the Dog
  • Old Yeller
    6
    41 votes
    Old Yeller
    Played by Spike the Dog