Photo: MGM

film The Best Animal Performances in Film History  

Kel Varnsen
1.4k votes 174 voters 20.2k views 45 items Embed

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.

list ordered by

1
78 13
Ranker Video
Toto The Wizard of Oz - Played by Toto the Dog

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2
61 14
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Lassie Lassie, Courage of Lassie, Lassie Come Home - Played by Lassie the Dog

3
40 7
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Shadow Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey - Played by Ben the Dog

4
39 8
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Chance Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco - Played by Rattler the Dog

5
39 13
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Old Yeller Old Yeller - Played by Spike the Dog

6
45 18
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Beethoven Beethoven, Beethoven's Big Break, Beethoven's 4th - Played by Beethoven the Dog

7
37 13
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Benji Benji, Benji: Off the Leash!, For the Love of Benji - Played by Benji the Dog

8
24 5
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Amy Boal added Sassy Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey - Played by Tiki the Cat

9
35 15
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Flipper Flipper - Played by Mitzi the Dolphin

10
22 6
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Willy Free Willy, Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home, Free Willy 3: The Rescue - Played by Keiko the Orca

11
30 13
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Buddy Air Bud films - Played by Buddy the Dog

12
26 11
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Einstein Back to the Future - Played by Tiger the Dog

13
23 10
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Winn-Dixie Because of Winn Dixie - Played by Lyco and Scott the Dogs

14
34 20
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Baxter Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy - Played by Peanut the Dog

15
27 15
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Frank Men in Black - Played by Mushu the Dog

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16
26 15
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Hooch Turner and Hooch - Played by Beasley the Dog

17
23 13
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Skip My Dog Skip - Played by Enzo the Dog

18
16 7
Joey is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Animal Performances in Film History
LanaYoshii added Joey War Horse - Played by fourteen horses

19
19 10
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Paulie Paulie - Played by Paulie the Parrot

20
18 10
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Andre Andre - Played by Cassie the Sea Lion

21
21 13
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Winter Dolphin Tale - From Dolphin Tale Played by Winter the Dolphin

22
17 10
Hachi is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Animal Performances in Film History
LanaYoshii added Hachi Hachi A Dog's Tale - Played by  Chico, Layla, and Forrest (dogs)

23
7 1
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Keanu Keanu - Played by seven different kitten actors.

24
18 12
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Joey War Horse - Played by multiple Horses

25
19 14
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Jerry Lee K-9 - Played by multiple Dogs

26
17 13
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Clyde Every Which Way But Loose - Played by Clyde the Orangutan

27
17 13
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Bruiser Woods Legally Blonde - Played by Bruiser the Dog

28
11 8
The Black is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Animal Performances in Film History
LanaYoshii added The Black The Black Stallion - Played by Cass Ole and Fae Jur

29
18 16
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Speck Pee-Wee's Big Adventure - Played by Speck the Dog

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30
15 13
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Monkey Indiana Jones: The Raiders of the Lost Ark - Played by the Capuchin Monkey

31
4 2
Asta is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Animal Performances in Film History
ColdPizzaNY added Asta The Thin Man, After the Thin Man - Played by Skippy the fox terrier

32
12 12
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Lou Cats and Dogs - Played by Lou the Dog

33
15 16
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Bart The Great Outdoors - Played by Bart the Bear

34
14 16
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Crystal The Hangover Part 2 - Played by Crystal the Monkey

35
4 5
Orca is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Animal Performances in Film History
punksnotdead added Orca Orca ('77)

36
12 14
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Dunston Dunston Checks In - Played by Sam the Orangutan

37
13 16
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Puffy There's Something About Mary - Played by Puffy the Dog

38
2 5
Shelly Jack is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Animal Performances in Film History
Mila Miesner added Shelly Jack

39
9 14
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Arthur Beginners - Cosmo the Jack Russell Terrier

40
8 13
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Verdell As Good as it Gets - Played by Jill the Dog

41
5 10
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Jack The Artist - Played by Uggie the Jack Russell Terrier

42
1 6
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Rocco The Drop

43
8 15
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Chomps C.H.O.M.P.S. - Played by Chomps the Dog

44
6 14
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Dolce Young Adult - Played by Hummer the Dog

45
2 11
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Bleecker Gone Girl