20. BENJI (1974)
On the surface, Benji seems to be a film about a dog attempting to communicate with humans in order to save trapped children, à la Lassie. However, the movie received a great deal of praise for its ability to tell a story through the eyes of a dog, and the mixed-breed pup Higgins who played Benji became one of the most famous animal actors of all time. The film’s financial and critical success led to four more movies, all of which debuted in theaters.
19. BOLT (2008)
Starring John Travolta (Pulp Fiction) and singer Miley Cyrus and released by Walt Disney Studios, Bolt is the story of a dog who stars in a television show and believes the powers his character possess are actually real. When he thinks his friend has been kidnapped, he strikes out to rescue her, and he soon learns about his true abilities. Critics were overall positive when it came to the film, although it did not perform as well in the box office as other Disney releases, debuting at number 3 on its opening weekend. The film was nominated for an Oscar but lost to Pixar’s WALL-E.
18. ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN (1989)
All Dogs Go to Heaven is a classic animated film for any dog lover. Though it is often dark and pretty wild (what was up with that alligator anyway?), director Don Bluth is known for having helmed some of the most incredible and memorable children’s films of all time after leaving Disney (such as The Land Before Time and The Secret of NIMH). The film can be enjoyed by children and adults alike, and despite it receiving mixed reviews from critics and little box office success, Charlie B. Barkin is still an essential part of the dog film canon.