Top 5 Movies with an Animal as the Main Character

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Some of the most beloved movies of all time feature animals as their main characters. Animals have starred in films since the heyday of movies, when Rin Tin Tin silently stole the hearts of movie-goers, solving crime and saving lives—way back in the 1920s. Since then, animals have dominated the screen, oftentimes outshining their human co-stars. Some may argue that “The Lion King” is the best movie starring an animal, but our focus is on those living and breathing animal actors who starred in movies that are instant, undeniable classics.

5 “Babe”

What’s cuter and more memorable than “Babe”? “Babe” has been critically acclaimed for its ability to make us both laugh and cry. Critics praised the film, as did the Academy Awards. In total, “Babe” was nominated for seven Oscars, including one for Best Picture. Although “Babe” didn’t take home the prize for Best Picture, the film did land an Oscar for Best Visual Effects that year. Overall, “Babe” delights audiences, because it’s a timeless tale of loyalty. It’s fun and quirky. In the U.S., “Babe” earned over $200 million at the box office. The comedy drama was filmed in Australia, where it also met widespread success. In Australia, “Babe” grossed over $36 million.

4 “Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey”

Another tear-jerker, “Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey” actually stars three animals. Chance, Shadow and Sassy are three pets who feel abandoned when they’re left behind after their family leaves for vacation. Sassy is a Himalayan cat, while Chance is an American Bulldog and Shadow is an older Golden Retriever. Each animal gives a thrilling performance, as they cross the Rocky Mountains in search of their family. The cast is chock-full of talented animals from bears to fish. Released in 1993, “Homeward Bound” is an instant classic.

3 “Benji”

The 1974 film “Benji” introduced audiences to the loveable mix-breed mutt who was always there to help. There have been many “Benji” sequels over the years, from various Christmas films to 2004’s “Benji: Off the Leash!” The original “Benji,” released in October of 1974, cost an estimated $500,000 to make and has grossed over $39 million. Benji isn’t just a popular movie star. He’s also the voice of shelter dogs everywhere. The first dog to ever play Benji was a rescue, and many of Benji’s films have been based around the idea that a lovable stray can do amazing things.

2 “Old Yeller”

No one forgets the first time he viewed “Old Yeller.” Old Yeller is a Blackmout Cur, a hunting and cattle dog, born and bred in the American South. This dog is loyal, fierce and awe-inspiring, so when a boy is forced to put him down, we can’t fight the tears that stream down our faces. At the box office, “Old Yeller” earned a whopping $8 million on its first domestic release. That’s no small feat for a film with a modest budget, released in 1957.

1 “Lassie Come Home”

Lassie Come Home” was based on the popular novel of the same name. The movie was so popular it resulted in six other MGM feature films through 1951. A couple years later and Lassie was the star of a hit television show. Lassie’s popularity cannot be denied, as the household name, Lassie, is still synonymous with female collies.

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