Photo: MGM

Film Characters The Best Animal Performances in Film History  

Kel Varnsen
1.5k votes 199 voters 20.8k views

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

84 16
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The Wizard of Oz - Played by Toto the Dog

65 14
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Lassie, Courage of Lassie, Lassie Come Home - Played by Lassie the Dog

42 7
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Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey - Played by Ben the Dog

43 8
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Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco - Played by Rattler the Dog

43 13
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Benji, Benji: Off the Leash!, For the Love of Benji - Played by Benji the Dog

41 13
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Old Yeller - Played by Spike the Dog

46 18
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Beethoven, Beethoven's Big Break, Beethoven's 4th - Played by Beethoven the Dog

26 6
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Amy Boal added Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey - Played by Tiki the Cat

37 15
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Flipper - Played by Mitzi the Dolphin

34 13
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Air Bud films - Played by Buddy the Dog

28 11
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Einstein Back to the Future - Played by Tiger the Dog

23 7
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Willy Free Willy, Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home, Free Willy 3: The Rescue - Played by Keiko the Orca

27 11
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Winn-Dixie Because of Winn Dixie - Played by Lyco and Scott the Dogs

34 22
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Baxter Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy - Played by Peanut the Dog

23 13
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Winter Dolphin Tale - From Dolphin Tale
Played by Winter the Dolphin

24 14
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My Dog Skip - Played by Enzo the Dog

27 17
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Men in Black - Played by Mushu the Dog

27 17
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Hooch Turner and Hooch - Played by Beasley the Dog

19 10
Joey is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Animal Performances in Film History
LanaYoshii added Joey War Horse - Played by fourteen horses

20 11
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Andre Andre - Played by Cassie the Sea Lion

21 12
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Paulie Paulie - Played by Paulie the Parrot

19 11
Hachi is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Animal Performances in Film History
LanaYoshii added Hachi A Dog's Tale - Played by Chico, Layla, and Forrest (dogs)

8 2
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Keanu Keanu - Played by seven different kitten actors.

18 13
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Joey War Horse - Played by multiple Horses

6 2
Asta is listed (or ranked) 25 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

19 16
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Jerry Lee K-9 - Played by multiple Dogs

17 14
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Clyde Every Which Way But Loose - Played by Clyde the Orangutan

12 9
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

19 17
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Speck Pee-Wee's Big Adventure - Played by Speck the Dog

17 15
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Bruiser Woods Legally Blonde - Played by Bruiser the Dog

16 14
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Monkey Indiana Jones: The Raiders of the Lost Ark - Played by the Capuchin Monkey

16 18
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Bart The Great Outdoors - Played by Bart the Bear

0 0
Verdell is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Animal Performances in Film History
704792 added Verdell As Good as It Gets

13 15
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Dunston Checks In - Played by Sam the Orangutan

12 14
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Lou Cats and Dogs - Played by Lou the Dog

14 18
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Crystal The Hangover Part 2 - Played by Crystal the Monkey

7 10
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Jack The Artist - Played by Uggie the Jack Russell Terrier

13 17
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Puffy There's Something About Mary - Played by Puffy the Dog

4 7
Orca is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Animal Performances in Film History
punksnotdead added Orca Orca ('77)

10 15
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Arthur Beginners - Cosmo the Jack Russell Terrier

9 15
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Verdell As Good as it Gets - Played by Jill the Dog

9 15
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Chomps C.H.O.M.P.S. - Played by Chomps the Dog

2 7
Shelly Jack is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Animal Performances in Film History
Mila Miesner added Shelly Jack

6 15
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Dolce Young Adult - Played by Hummer the Dog

1 7
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Rocco The Drop

2 13
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Bleecker Gone Girl