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.
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 Rankedsee more on The Hobbit trilogy
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 Vincesee more on Snow Buddies
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 Rankedsee more on The Rules of the Game
Kill Count: Unknown, but numerous.
Actors: Ed Begley, Jr., Harry Dean Stanton, Troy Donahue, Warren Oates, + more
Initial Release: 1974
Directed by: Monte Hellmansee more on Cockfighter