Weird Nature 24 Movie Sets That Have Killed Animals During Production  

Logan Rapp
1.3M views 24 items
We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, Ranker may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

Watching animals get hurt in movies is more gut-wrenching than watching back-to-back Nicholas Sparks movies. When an animal seems to be harmed in a movie, there's an unspoken rule that you have to watch the credits to make sure you see that American Humane Association stamp of "no animals were harmed." However, that hasn't always been the case. From cult classics to some of the most high-profile blockbusters of recent memory, some films have actually had animal casualties during production. 

Sometimes the deaths were unintentional or an accidental by-product of filming. Sometimes, however, these animals deaths were very, very intentional. It's obvious when an actor eats a live animal in front of the camera (and, yes, an actor actually did that). 

It often seems needless and primarily used for shock value because killing an animal almost always gets a strong reaction. We'd be worried if it didn't. With other stories, the result was simply tragic, where filmmakers did their best to secure the safety of animals but it just wasn't enough. This list catalogs a bunch of films where animals died on the filmmaker's watch. 

The Hobbit trilogy is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 24 Movie Sets That Have Killed Animals During Production
Photo:  Warner Bros. Pictures

According to The Hollywood Reporter, more than two dozen animals died due to unsafe housing conditions during the filming of The Hobbit movies. The American Humane Association said no animals were harmed during filming but pointed out that it doesn't keep track of the facilities where the animals are kept off-screen. 

However, director Peter Jackson released a statement saying the allegations are untrue. A representative for Jackson admitted some animals died, but mostly from natural causes.

​​​​​​Kill Count: 27 (allegedly)

Actors: Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Orlando Bloom, Aidan Turner, Sylvester McCoy, + more

Initial Release: 2012

Directed by: Peter Jackson

Also Ranked

#28 on The Best Movies Based on Books

#56 on The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

#24 on The Very Best Movie Franchises

#53 on Movies That Should Be Made Into Broadway Musicals

see more on The Hobbit trilogy
Snow Buddies is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 24 Movie Sets That Have Killed Animals During Production
Photo:  Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

In 2007, five golden retriever puppies died as a result of filming for Disney's Snow Buddies. Keystone Productions bought 28 dogs from a breeder in New York and shipped them to Canada. But after only a few days, 15 of the pups started were diagnosed with giardia and coccidia, a parasitic disease.

Six more puppies were treated for a contagious disease called parvovirus. Three dogs had to be euthanized for intestinal complications and two more died later. 

Kill Count: 3

Actors: Whoopi Goldberg, Kris Kristofferson, Molly Shannon, Jim Belushi, Dylan Sprouse, + more

Initial Release: 2008

Directed by: Robert Vince

Also Ranked

#89 on The Greatest Animal Movies Ever Made

see more on Snow Buddies
The Rules of the Game is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 24 Movie Sets That Have Killed Animals During Production
Photo:  The Gaumont Film Company

Animals were shot for sport in this French dramedy from 1939. One particularly brutal scene shows a rabbit in its death throes. 

Kill Count: Exact numbers unknown, but reported to be "in the hundreds." 

Actors: Jean Renoir, Marcel Dalio, Julien Carette, Nora Gregor, Gaston Modot, + more

Initial Release: 1939

Directed by: Jean Renoir

Also Ranked

#6 on The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces

see more on The Rules of the Game
Cockfighter is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 24 Movie Sets That Have Killed Animals During Production
Photo:  Anchor Bay

In adapting Charles Willeford's novel for the screen, director Monte Hellman staged actual, to-the-death cockfights. It got the film banned in the UK forever.

Kill Count: Unknown, but numerous.

Actors: Ed Begley, Jr., Harry Dean Stanton, Troy Donahue, Warren Oates, + more

Initial Release: 1974

Directed by: Monte Hellman

see more on Cockfighter