As the saying goes, Dogs are “Man’s Best Friend”. And it’s really easy to see why. They’re loyal to a T, loving, protective, energetic, fun, and just plain adorable. They really are pretty much anything you want from a friend. In a lot of movies, you see a lot of dogs playing an important role in the story, mostly in the action/adventure genre as the protagonist’s faithful companion, but there have been movies solely revolving around our canine friends, and some are portrayed as the hero or Main character. So, not your typical dog post, but I think it’s high time that we take a moment to appreciate our canine friends, cast by real dogs or created using Artificial Intelligence (technology used to simulate human interaction – widely used to help simulate a live chat for websites) and go through some of the most notorious 4 four legged heroes ever to grace us on TV.
Bolt – Bolt (2008)
Bolt is a Disney animated movie released in 2008, revolving around the antics of an adorable White Swiss Shepherd named Bolt. Initially, Bolt is depicted as a special, crime-fighting hero with superpowers that allow him to shoot lasers from his eyes. However we soon learn that this is all fictional even in the movie, as Bolt is actually a movie star alongside his owner and best friend Penny, however Bolt is unaware that his powers are nothing more than a story plot. As the movie progresses we see Bolt struggle to come to terms with the reality that his superpowers were never real, and when a cliffhanger episode of the show makes Bolt truly believe that Penny has been kidnapped, he escapes the set in his search for his beloved Penny. Throughout the rest of the movie we see Bolt get to grips with who he is, and thanks to some other pet friends he makes in the real world, he ends up becoming a hero and saving Penny and the cast members after all.
Frank – Men in Black Series (1997)
This is a bit of a strange one, as Frank is actually an Alien, but he adopts the looks of a Pug. A fast talking, smart-aleck who loves karaoke, Frank was a side character in the first Men in Black Instalment, which saw the two Main protagonists Agent K and Agent J (Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones) save the world from an Alien race of giant ‘bug like’ creatures, Frank eventually had a larger role in the second instalment and became Agent F respectively. A larger than life character, Frank remains a beloved character for all of us Men In Black fans, owing to his back and forth banter with Agent J, and his love for Gloria Gaynor songs.
Slink – Toy Story Series (1995)
Slinky Dog, AKA Slink, is a Sausage Dog toy with a spring as his main body, in the Toy Story franchise. Toy story revolves around the adventures of Andy’s toys, the main characters being Woody, Buzz, Hamm, Mr Potato Head, Rex, Bo Peep and Slink. Slink is a loveable character from the get go, and really shows that faithfulness and loyalty we’ve come to associate with dogs – and would gladly follow Woody and the rest of his friends to the end of the earth if asked.
Tramp – Lady and The Tramp (1955)
Everyone loves to root for an underdog, and this film is the literal embodiment of exactly that. Another timeless Disney favourite that shows us to never judge a book by its cover, and that love really does prevail. It’s hard not to love the street wise, roguish charm of the tramp, and Lady sees that too. A feel good movie for sure, for all ages .
Pongo and Perdita – 101 Dalmatians (1961)
This list is not intentionally made up of Disney classics, but it’s not hard to see why it would be – Disney just knows how to represent dogs! And you can’t have a list of iconic dogs in movies without our favourite black and white duo – the very two responsible for the 101 dalmatians. Even if you haven’t seen the film, everyone is familiar with the story of the dalmatians as they try to keep themselves, and their century of children from the clutches of the notorious Cruella Deville.
Charlie B Barkin – All Dogs Go To Heaven (1989)
All Dogs go to heaven is an interesting twist on your typical mobster story. Enter our main character Charlie B Barkin, street smart, fast talking con artist who is known for being something along the lines of an Al Capone – if Al Capone were a dog. Charlie and his business partner Carface were owners of the local Casino Riverboat, until Carface decided he no longer wanted to share the wealth with Charlie, and eventually plotted his death. Charlie arrives in heaven, and is warned that he has lived very recklessly and has done no good deeds, however “All dogs go to Heaven”, so he’ll be allowed to pass.
Charlie declines and steals a magic golden pockwatch that rewinds time to before he passed away, so that he can go back to Earth to plan his revenge against his former associate. It’s now that he meets a young Orphan girl with the ability to speak to animals, and together they form an unlikely friendship, and the young orphan slowly shows Charlie what it means to care for another, and to show acts of heroism and selflessness to save those precious to him. A possibly lesser known movie than some of the other entries on here, but a poignant one nonetheless, and one that really tugs on the heartstrings of watchers.
Sam – I am Legend (2007)
I am Legend is an horror/apocalypse movie that follows the story of Robert Neville, a scientist who appears to be the sole survivor of a plague that hit New York, and tries to find a cure, and any survivors, alongside his faithful German Shepherd Samantha. Though she is not the main protagonist, and sadly passes away in this movie, it’s important to note the effect that she had not only on Robert, but on all the viewers too. As his only friend in a lonely world, Sam quite literally risked life and limb to protect her best friend, and had most of us in tears whilst watching this.
Marley – Marley and Me (2008)
Marley and me is potentially one of the most emotionally demanding dog films in the world, and was well deserving for its box office achievements. This movie absolutely screams out to dog lovers, and even if you’re not one at the beginning, you may well become one by the end. It follows the life of Marley, a mischievous yet loving labrador retriever who gets adopted by a couple (Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson) who decide that they want to bring home a puppy before they consider parenthood. As you’d expect, they soon find out that it’s not all as easy as it seems, but for all the broken furniture and neurotic behaviour, they realise that a dog is one of the most loyal friends in life. Be prepared for many tears to be shed, be they laughter or sadness.
Scooby Doo -Scooby Doo (2002)
We can’t have a dog list, without including the iconic Scooby Doo to the ranks! This loveable, cowardly goofball captured everyone’s hearts back when Scooby Doo was just a cartoon show, so it was really only a matter of when, not if, a movie was to be made. Following the usual format for Scooby, with a typical ‘man in a mask’ villain, the first Scooby doo movie was widely received, and the producers really did well putting together the appropriate cast for the movie. Scooby Doo is a timeless memory that will forever stay in the hearts of anyone growing up in the 90’s.
Copper – The Fox and The Hound (1981)
The Fox and the Hound is another entry here that may be lesser known, but for those who have watched, will understand how touching this movie is. This movie follows the main character Copper, a hound dog owned by a local farmer who forms an unlikely friendship as a puppy with a fox cub named Todd. Copper is incredibly cute as a puppy and the two together are just so wholesome together. As the movie progresses we see the two grow up, and as the norm dictates that the two should be natural enemies, we’re shown the struggles the two face in trying to maintain their friendship as Copper’s owner insists his instincts are to hunt down foxes, and with mating season just around the corner, that’s exactly what happens.
We see a chase ensue, and Copper’s mentor gets injured, and Copper blames Todd for the incident, vowing to take revenge on him. The movie comes to a climax when Copper and his farmer get injured fighting off a bear whilst searching for Todd, only for Todd to come to their rescue and buy them enough time to escape. When the choice to finish off an injured Todd presents itself to Copper, he remembers the friendship they shared,and chooses to let him go. This movie is another real tear jerker, and definitely worth watching.