(Photo by Consolidated Pictures Group/courtesy Everett Collection)

80 Best Dog Movies, Ranked by Tomatometer

Dogs: Man’s best friend, movie’s most endangered hero. Seriously, how many times have we gone into a dog movie hoping we didn’t just get suckered into another one where the dog dies in the end? But some of those movies make up the classics. And some of those movies where the dog lives happily after ever, with a nice house and a bowl of kibble and a robust 401k, are also classics. And some dog movies ain’t so classic, but people love ’em anyways, so we’re including those, and all the other good boys and girls of canine cinema for our guide to the 80 Best Dog Movies, ranked by Tomatometer!

First, we’ve retrieved all the golden films of yesteryear, like Old Yeller, Lassie, and The Incredible Journey. Then we rescued those nearly forgotten from the kennels of history, including Wendy and Lucy, Sounder, and Megan Leavey. After that, we introduced them to the tearjerkers of today, such as Hachi: A Dog’s Tale and Marley and Me.

Because dogs can take on new dimensions of ferocity and cuteness in animation, there’s plenty to see here in this list. Take the Disney classics (The Fox and the Hound, Bolt). Add a little stop-motion (Isle of Dogs, Frankenweenie). And, of course, bring along the ones that can solve mysteries (Scooby-Doo), hold a job (Wallace, he of Gromit), and pilot their house (Snoopy, Come Home).

And we approached the dogs that could benefit from a little obedience school, like the ones in Cujo, White Dog, and its reverse friend White God. Also, because seekers of dog movies don’t necessarily mind some treacly sentiment the way critics do, we’re opening the doggie doors to some movies rated Rotten that audiences adore, like Balto and All Dogs Go to Heaven.

Finally, we took home some films that aren’t strictly known as dog movies (e.g. Umberto D, As Good As It Gets, I Am Legend) but whose (canine) stars play a significant role in the plot, and generate (human) character development.

Time to let all of them off the leash for the 80 Best Dog Movies, ranked by Tomatometer!

#80

The Stray (2017)
40%

#80
Adjusted Score: 31403%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Young Christian Davis finds a stray dog named Pluto and decides to bring it home to his parents and two... [More]
Directed By: Mitch Davis

#79
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Chloe (Drew Barrymore), a pampered Chihuahua from Beverly Hills, gets an unwelcome taste of the real world when she gets... [More]
Directed By: Raja Gosnell

#78

101 Dalmatians (1996)
41%

#78
Adjusted Score: 41648%
Critics Consensus: Neat performance from Glenn Close aside, 101 Dalmatians is a bland, pointless remake.
Synopsis: Fashion designer Anita and computer-game writer Roger meet, fall in love and marry along with their dalmatians Perdita and Pongo.... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Herek

#77
Adjusted Score: 50877%
Critics Consensus: Its heartstring-tugging overtures may be difficult for dog lovers to resist, but The Art of Racing in the Rain is sentimental and contrived.
Synopsis: Denny Swift is a Formula One race car driver who understands that the techniques needed on the racetrack can also... [More]
Directed By: Simon Curtis

#76

Zeus and Roxanne (1997)
44%

#76
Adjusted Score: 29606%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Children engineer a romance between their single parents (Steve Guttenberg, Kathleen Quinlan), while his dog and her dolphin bond.... [More]
Directed By: George Miller

#75
#75
Adjusted Score: 44730%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this animated feature, canine casino owner Charlie (Burt Reynolds) is killed by gambler Carface (Vic Tayback), but returns to... [More]
Directed By: Don Bluth

#74
Adjusted Score: 21933%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A mischievous puppy (Scott Wolf) joins a pack of strays when he leaves home to pursue a more exciting life.... [More]
Directed By: Darrell Rooney

#73

Air Bud (1997)
45%

#73
Adjusted Score: 45645%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Diffident in the wake of his father's death, high schooler Josh (Kevin Zegers) struggles to adapt to his new home... [More]
Directed By: Charles Martin Smith

#72

Hotel for Dogs (2009)
46%

#72
Adjusted Score: 50723%
Critics Consensus: Hotel for Dogs may appeal to children and dog lovers, but it's ultimately contrived, predictable, and simplistic.
Synopsis: After moving into a foster home that forbids pets, siblings Andi (Emma Roberts) and Bruce (Jake T. Austin) must quickly... [More]
Directed By: Thor Freudenthal

#71

Rock Dog (2016)
47%

#71
Adjusted Score: 50487%
Critics Consensus: Rock Dog is amiable enough, but its second-tier animation and uninspired story add up to a movie whose meager charms are likely to escape all but the youngest and least demanding viewers.
Synopsis: For the Tibetan mastiffs on Snow Mountain, a dog's life has a simple riff -- guard a peaceful village of... [More]
Directed By: Ash Brannon

#70
#70
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When a shipwreck separates the courageous dog Benji from his trainer (Frank Inn), the crafty canine must brave the dangers... [More]
Directed By: Joe Camp

#69

The Shaggy D.A. (1976)
50%

#69
Adjusted Score: 19054%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When successful lawyer Wilby Daniels (Dean Jones) returns from vacation to find his home has been burglarized, he decides to... [More]
Directed By: Robert Stevenson

#68

A Dog's Journey (2019)
51%

#68
Adjusted Score: 54574%
Critics Consensus: A Dog's Journey is as sentimental as one might expect, but even cynical viewers may find their ability to resist shedding a tear stretched to the puppermost limit.
Synopsis: Bailey is living the good life on the Michigan farm of his boy, Ethan and Ethan's wife Hannah. He even... [More]
Directed By: Gail Mancuso

#67
Adjusted Score: 16087%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Scooby and friends investigate creepy goings-on and a mystery involving a famous horror writer in a small Massachusetts town.... [More]
Directed By: Jim Stenstrum

#66

Oliver & Company (1988)
50%

#66
Adjusted Score: 53473%
Critics Consensus: Predictable and stodgy, Oliver & Company isn't one of Disney's best, though its colorful cast of characters may be enough to entertain young viewers looking for a little adventure.
Synopsis: In this animated update of the classic "Oliver Twist" tale, Oliver (Joey Lawrence) is an orphaned kitten taken in by... [More]
Directed By: George Scribner

#65

Turner & Hooch (1989)
52%

#65
Adjusted Score: 52813%
Critics Consensus: Tom Hanks makes Turner and Hooch more entertaining than it might look on paper, but ultimately, this is still a deeply silly comedy about a cop and a canine.
Synopsis: Det. Scott Turner (Tom Hanks) is an uptight, by-the-book police officer who hopes to leave his sleepy California town and... [More]
Directed By: Roger Spottiswoode

#64
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A gigantic red dog (John Ritter) leaves home and becomes the main attraction at a traveling circus.... [More]
Directed By: Robert Ramirez

#63
Adjusted Score: 34711%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The Seaver family arrives at San Francisco International Airport to catch a flight to Canada. They check in their pets:... [More]
Directed By: David R. Ellis

#62

Balto (1995)

#62
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this animated feature, a deadly diphtheria epidemic strikes the remote town of Nome, Alaska. With the life-saving medicine located... [More]
Directed By: Simon Wells

#61

Cats & Dogs (2001)
53%

#61
Adjusted Score: 57293%
Critics Consensus: A great concept, but the movie fails to develop the characters and some of the jokes are hit-or-miss.
Synopsis: "Cats & Dogs" uncovers the truth about the high-tech, secret war being waged in neighborhoods everywhere that humans aren't even... [More]
Directed By: Lawrence Guterman

#60
#60
Adjusted Score: 58452%
Critics Consensus: An old-fashioned, if bland, adaptation of Kate DiCamillo's novel.
Synopsis: Abandoned by her mother years ago, Opal (AnnaSophia Robb), a 10-year-old girl, moves with her preacher father (Jeff Daniels) to... [More]
Directed By: Wayne Wang

#59
Adjusted Score: 30987%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: While sailing off the shore of British Columbia, John McCormick (Bruce Davison), his son, Angus (Jesse Bradford), and the boy's... [More]
Directed By: Phillip Borsos

#58

A Dog's Way Home (2019)
59%

#58
Adjusted Score: 63180%
Critics Consensus: A Dog's Way Home may not quite be a family-friendly animal drama fan's best friend, but this canine adventure is no less heartwarming for its familiarity.
Synopsis: As a puppy, Bella finds her way into the arms of Lucas, a young man who gives her a good... [More]
Directed By: Charles Martin Smith

#57

Benji (2018)
60%

#57
Adjusted Score: 38550%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A dog comes to the rescue and helps heal a broken family when a boy and his sister stumble into... [More]
Directed By: Brandon Camp

#56
Adjusted Score: 16087%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Transported into a video game, the gang must survive different levels of difficulty to solve a mystery.... [More]
Directed By: Jim Stenstrum

#55
#55
Adjusted Score: 69766%
Critics Consensus: The Secret Life of Pets 2 doesn't teach its animated stars any new narrative tricks -- but for fans of the original, this funny, energetic sequel should still satisfy.
Synopsis: Explore the emotional lives of pets and the deep bond between them and the families that love them as Max,... [More]
Directed By: Chris Renaud

#54

Cujo (1983)
62%

#54
Adjusted Score: 64445%
Critics Consensus: Cujo is artless work punctuated with moments of high canine gore and one wild Dee Wallace performance.
Synopsis: In this tale of a killer canine, man's best friend turns into his worst enemy. When sweet St. Bernard Cujo... [More]
Directed By: Lewis Teague

#53
#53
Adjusted Score: 76290%
Critics Consensus: It's undermined by distracting and unnecessary CGI, but this heartwarming Call of the Wild remains a classic story, affectionately retold.
Synopsis: Buck is a big-hearted dog whose blissful domestic life gets turned upside down when he is suddenly uprooted from his... [More]
Directed By: Chris Sanders

#52

Iron Will (1994)
67%

#52
Adjusted Score: 66204%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: His father's demise leaves young Will Stoneman (Mackenzie Astin) and his mother struggling to save their farm from financial ruin.... [More]
Directed By: Charles Haid

#51

Marley & Me (2008)
63%

#51
Adjusted Score: 68332%
Critics Consensus: Pet owners should love it, but Marley and Me is only sporadically successful in wringing drama and laughs from its scenario.
Synopsis: Newlyweds John and Jenny Grogan (Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston) leave behind snowy Michigan and move to Florida, where they buy... [More]
Directed By: David Frankel

#50

White Fang (1991)

#50
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This adaptation of Jack London's wilderness tale focuses on young Jack Conroy (Ethan Hawke), who has arrived in Alaska to... [More]
Directed By: Randal Kleiser

#49

Dog Days (2018)
62%

#49
Adjusted Score: 65431%
Critics Consensus: Dog Days is frivolous but frothy, sporting a forgettable cast of human characters but a lovable troupe of pooches that ought to delight viewers looking for a gentle affirmation of humanity's bond with their furry friends.
Synopsis: Elizabeth is a charming anchorwoman who seeks advice from her dog's therapist. Tara is a spunky barista who dreams of... [More]
Directed By: Ken Marino

#48
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A college professor (Richard Gere) forms a lasting bond with a dog that he finds on a train platform.... [More]
Directed By: Lasse Hallström

#47
#47
Adjusted Score: 67464%
Critics Consensus: Lady and the Tramp's cute dogs and likable cast work well enough, but the live-action update lacks some of the magic that made the original 1955 film such a delight.
Synopsis: In this heartwarming romantic adventure, a timeless re-telling of the 1955 animated classic, Lady, an overachieving, pampered American Cocker Spaniel... [More]
Directed By: Charlie Bean

#46
#46
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this animation, Snitter (John Hurt) and Rowf (Christopher Benjamin) are two dogs trapped in a lab where they are... [More]
Directed By: Martin Rosen

#45
Adjusted Score: 15014%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A scrappy puppy tries to rescue his siblings after evil Cruella kidnaps them.... [More]
Directed By: Jim Kammerud, Brian Smith

#44

The Shaggy Dog (1959)
68%

#44
Adjusted Score: 69122%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The son of dog-hating former mailman Wilson Daniels (Fred MacMurray), young Wilby (Tommy Kirk) accidentally becomes a canine himself when... [More]
Directed By: Charles Barton

#43

I Am Legend (2007)
68%

#43
Adjusted Score: 78598%
Critics Consensus: I Am Legend overcomes questionable special effects and succeeds largely on the strength of Will Smith's mesmerizing performance.
Synopsis: Robert Neville (Will Smith), a brilliant scientist, is a survivor of a man-made plague that transforms humans into bloodthirsty mutants.... [More]
Directed By: Francis Lawrence

#42
#42
Adjusted Score: 70028%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Young Marty (Zachary Browne) adopts Shiloh, a beagle mistreated by its former owner, local hunter and town drunk Judd (Scott... [More]
Directed By: Sandy Tung

#41
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After his mother is killed, Tod the fox (Mickey Rooney) is taken in by the kindly Widow Tweed (Jeanette Nolan).... [More]

#40
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this sequel, the hero of the first film, Jack Conroy, passes the torch to adventure-seeker Henry Casey (Scott Bairstow)... [More]
Directed By: Ken Olin

#39

Eight Below (2006)

#39
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The frozen wasteland of Antarctica serves as the background for a tale about the bonds of friendship and loyalty. Three... [More]
Directed By: Frank Marshall

#38

Shiloh (1997)

#38
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Young Marty Preston (Blake Heron) wants to keep a beagle dog that followed him home. He even names him Shiloh.... [More]
Directed By: Dale Rosenbloom

#37

My Dog Skip (2000)

#37
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Who says best friends have to be human? Not Willie Morris (Frankie Muniz), who receives a talented terrier named Skip... [More]
Directed By: Jay Russell

#36
#36
Adjusted Score: 86695%
Critics Consensus: Fast-paced, funny, and blessed with a talented voice cast, The Secret Life of Pets offers a beautifully animated, cheerfully undemanding family-friendly diversion.
Synopsis: Max (Louis C.K.) is a spoiled terrier who enjoys a comfortable life in a New York building until his owner... [More]
Directed By: Chris Renaud

#35

Wiener-Dog (2016)
74%

#35
Adjusted Score: 80779%
Critics Consensus: For filmgoers predisposed to enjoy Todd Solondz' brand of black comedy, Wiener-Dog won't disappoint -- but those put off by previous works need not apply.
Synopsis: A cute dachshund puppy finds itself shuffled from one oddball owner to the next, including two couples, a veterinary nurse... [More]
Directed By: Todd Solondz

#34
#34
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Vic (Don Johnson) is a libidinous 18-year-old traversing the post-apocalyptic desert of 2024, in the company of his telepathic dog,... [More]
Directed By: L.Q. Jones

#33
Adjusted Score: 17934%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When their van breaks down in a remote desert town, Scooby and the gang find themselves surrounded by aliens.... [More]
Directed By: Jim Stenstrum

#32

White Fang (2018)
80%

#32
Adjusted Score: 51397%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A young boy befriends a half-breed wolf as he searches for his father, who has mysteriously gone missing during the... [More]
Directed By: Alexandre Espigares

#31
Adjusted Score: 77723%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A cat and a dog find perils and mates after straying from their farm in Japan. Narrated by Dudley Moore.... [More]
Directed By: Masanori Hata

#30

Alpha (2018)
80%

#30
Adjusted Score: 87539%
Critics Consensus: Well-acted and beautifully filmed, Alpha offers a canine-assisted epic adventure that blends rousing action with an extra helping of canine charm.
Synopsis: Young Keda tries to survive alone in the wilderness after he's left for dead during his first hunt with his... [More]
Directed By: Albert Hughes

#29

Baxter (1989)
89%

#29
Adjusted Score: 37915%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A bull terrier observes the behavior of an old lady, a young couple and a troubled boy and adapts his... [More]
Directed By: Jérôme Boivin

#28

Red Dog (2011)
83%

#28
Adjusted Score: 83695%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A dog unites a fractured community while searching for its master.... [More]
Directed By: Kriv Stenders

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 90391%
Critics Consensus: James L. Brooks and Jack Nicholson, doing what they do best, combine smart dialogue and flawless acting to squeeze fresh entertainment value out of the romantic-comedy genre.
Synopsis: Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson) is an obsessive-compulsive writer of romantic fiction who's rude to everyone he meets, including his gay... [More]
Directed By: James L. Brooks

#26

Wendy and Lucy (2008)
85%

#26
Adjusted Score: 92420%
Critics Consensus: Michelle Williams gives a heartbreaking performance in Wendy and Lucy, a timely portrait of loneliness and struggle.
Synopsis: Wendy (Michelle Williams), a near-penniless drifter, is traveling to Alaska in search of work, and her only companion is her... [More]
Directed By: Kelly Reichardt

#25
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Scooby (Scott Innes) and the rest of the Mystery, Inc., crew encounter creepy characters at a haunted house on a... [More]
Directed By: Jim Stenstrum

#24

Benji (1974)

#24
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Stray dog Benji doesn't need an owner, preferring to roam freely all over his friendly Texas town. He delights in... [More]
Directed By: Joe Camp

#23

Oddball (2015)
87%

#23
Adjusted Score: 86541%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A chicken farmer and his granddaughter train a dog to protect a penguin sanctuary from foxes.... [More]
Directed By: Stuart McDonald

#22
Adjusted Score: 88148%
Critics Consensus: Disney's remake of The Incredible Journey successfully replicates, and in some ways improves upon, the simple charms of the original, with its cross-country animal odyssey sure to delight kids.
Synopsis: Before the Seavers leave for a family vacation to San Francisco, they drop off their pets -- Chance (Michael J.... [More]
Directed By: Duwayne Dunham

#21

Megan Leavey (2017)
86%

#21
Adjusted Score: 92179%
Critics Consensus: Megan Leavey honors its real-life subjects with a sensitive, uplifting drama whose honest emotion more than makes up for its mild approach to the story.
Synopsis: The true life story of Megan Leavey, a young Marine corporal whose unique discipline and bond with a military combat... [More]

#20

Frankenweenie (2012)
87%

#20
Adjusted Score: 96555%
Critics Consensus: Frankenweenie is an energetic stop-motion horror movie spoof with lovingly crafted visuals and a heartfelt, oddball story.
Synopsis: Young Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) is a science nerd and outsider at school, but he does have one good friend:... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#19

Lassie (1994)
88%

#19
Adjusted Score: 87267%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: On their way to start a new life at a sheep farm in rural Virginia, the Turner family are halted... [More]
Directed By: Daniel Petrie

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 88064%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An unlikely trio of pets -- aging bull terrier Bodger, spry Labrador retriever Luath, and Siamese cat Tao -- begin... [More]
Directed By: Fletcher Markle

#17

White God (2014)
88%

#17
Adjusted Score: 92020%
Critics Consensus: White God isn't an easy watch, but its soaring ambition and powerful acting -- human and canine alike -- make it well worth the effort.
Synopsis: Failing in his efforts to find his beloved owner (Zsófia Psotta), an abandoned dog eventually joins a canine revolt against... [More]
Directed By: Kornél Mundruczó

#16

Sounder (1972)
90%

#16
Adjusted Score: 91612%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The Morgans, a family of poor black sharecroppers in the Depression-plagued South, struggle to find enough to eat despite the... [More]
Directed By: Martin Ritt

#15

Bolt (2008)
89%

#15
Adjusted Score: 96468%
Critics Consensus: Bolt is a pleasant animated comedy that overcomes the story's familiarity with strong visuals and likable characters.
Synopsis: The days of canine superstar Bolt (John Travolta) are filled with danger and intrigue ... until the cameras stop rolling.... [More]

#14

Togo (2019)
92%

#14
Adjusted Score: 93557%
Critics Consensus: An endearing and exciting underdog story that benefits greatly from its stars (canine and human alike), Togo is a timeless tale, well-told.
Synopsis: "Togo" is the true story set in the winter of 1925 of champion dogsled trainer Leonhard Seppala and his lead... [More]
Directed By: Ericson Core

#13

My Dog Tulip (2009)
90%

#13
Adjusted Score: 91585%
Critics Consensus: A beautifully animated diversion, My Dog Tulip is as comforting and delightful as cuddling with your own canine companion.
Synopsis: Despite a lack of affinity for dogs, a confirmed bachelor (Christopher Plummer) adopts an Alsatian and forms a close bond... [More]

#12

Isle of Dogs (2018)
90%

#12
Adjusted Score: 111583%
Critics Consensus: The beautifully stop-motion animated Isle of Dogs finds Wes Anderson at his detail-oriented best while telling one of the director's most winsomely charming stories.
Synopsis: When, by executive decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island,... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#11

White Dog (1982)
93%

#11
Adjusted Score: 92419%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An animal-trainer (Paul Winfield) tries to deprogram an actress's (Kristy McNichol) found dog, trained for racial attacks.... [More]
Directed By: Samuel Fuller

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 92742%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Charlie Brown's (Chad Webber) beloved dog Snoopy (Bill Melendez) receives a letter from his original owner, Lila (Johanna Baer), who... [More]
Directed By: Bill Melendez

#9

Lassie (2005)
93%

#9
Adjusted Score: 94336%
Critics Consensus: A beautifully-made retelling of the classic collie tale, one need not be a dog-lover to fall for Lassie.
Synopsis: Young Joe Carraclough (Jonathan Mason) and his family (Samantha Morton, John Lynch) love their faithful collie, Lassie. However, when Joe's... [More]
Directed By: Charles Sturridge

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 98046%
Critics Consensus: A nostalgic charmer, Lady and the Tramp's token sweetness is mighty but the songs and richly colored animation are technically superb and make for a memorable experience.
Synopsis: This Disney animated classic follows a pampered cocker spaniel named Lady (Barbara Luddy) whose comfortable life slips away once her... [More]

#7

Lassie Come Home (1943)
94%

#7
Adjusted Score: 94702%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In a small Yorkshire village during the Great Depression, financial pressures cause the parents of young Joe Carraclough (Roddy McDowall)... [More]
Directed By: Fred M. Wilcox

#6

Best in Show (2000)
93%

#6
Adjusted Score: 97831%
Critics Consensus: A fine example of writer-director-star Christopher Guest's gift for improv comedy, Best in Show boasts an appealingly quirky premise and a brilliantly talented cast.
Synopsis: The tension is palpable, the excitement is mounting and the heady scent of competition is in the air as hundreds... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Guest

#5
Adjusted Score: 102223%
Critics Consensus: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a subtly touching and wonderfully eccentric adventure featuring Wallace and Gromit.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Steve Box

#4

Heart of a Dog (2015)
96%

#4
Adjusted Score: 99982%
Critics Consensus: Of a piece with much of director Laurie Anderson's idiosyncratic output, Heart of a Dog delves into weighty themes with lyrical, haunting grace.
Synopsis: Musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson reflects on the deaths of her husband Lou Reed, her mother and her beloved... [More]
Directed By: Laurie Anderson

#3

Umberto D (1952)
97%

#3
Adjusted Score: 100133%
Critics Consensus: Anchored by Carlo Battisti's moving performance as Umberto D, Vittorio de Sica's deeply empathetic character study is a bracing glimpse into the lives of the downtrodden.
Synopsis: When elderly pensioner Umberto Domenico Ferrari (Carlo Battisti) returns to his boarding house from a protest calling for a hike... [More]
Directed By: Vittorio De Sica

#2
Adjusted Score: 102959%
Critics Consensus: With plenty of pooches and a memorable villain (Cruella De Vil), this is one of Disney's most enduring, entertaining animated films.
Synopsis: In a Disney animation classic, Dalmatian Pongo is tired of his bachelor-dog life. He spies lovely Perdita and maneuvers his... [More]

#1

Old Yeller (1957)
100%

#1
Adjusted Score: 101989%
Critics Consensus: Old Yeller is an exemplary coming of age tale, packing an emotional wallop through smart pacing and a keen understanding of the elemental bonding between humanity and their furry best friends.
Synopsis: While Jim Coates (Fess Parker) is off on a cattle drive, his wife, Katie (Dorothy McGuire), and sons, Travis (Tommy... [More]
Directed By: Robert Stevenson

(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection)

In Wes Anderson movies, dogs usually get the short end of the whimsy stick. The rampage began in The Royal Tenenbaums, when the family beagle is crushed by a car driven by Owen Wilson on mescaline. Since then, dogs are routinely killed, poisoned, and abandoned. As if to repent, Anderson is releasing a new stop-motion adventure all about dogs…who are crushed, killed, poisoned, and abandoned. But, hey, it’s called Isle of Dogs, a pun when said aloud about how much Anderson loves man’s best friend. Sure, dude.

Seriously, though, Isle of Dogs is a terrific tribute to the purity and loyal spirit of dogs, one that also can’t help take a few potshots at cats . The cats versus dogs debate has been raging since time immemorial, but today we’re going to solve it like true 21st century people: by throwing up a bunch of numbers on your screen! We’ve taken the 20 highest-rated dog movies, and the 20 highest-rated cat movies, and averaged out a Tomatometer for each list. The animal has to be the main crux of the plot, and movies where the dogs and cats share top billing are not included — so no Incredible Journeys or Milos & Otiseses.

20 Best Dog Movies
Old Yeller: 100%
101 Dalmatians: 98%
Heart of a Dog: 96%
Lassie Come Home: 94%
Best in Show: 94%
Lassie (2006): 93%
Snoopy, Come Home:92%
White Dog: 92%
Lady and the Tramp: 90%
My Dog Tulip: 90%
Bolt: 89%
White God: 89%
Lassie (1994): 88%
Frankenweenie: 87%
Benji: 86%
Wendy and Lucy: 85%
A Boy and His Dog: 75%
My Dog Skip: 73%
Eight Below: 72%
White Fang 2: Myth of the White Wolf: 71%
AVERAGE: 88%

20 Best Cat Movies
Kedi: 98%
Born Free: 94%
The Rabbi’s Cat: 94%
That Darn Cat!: 93%
Duma: 93%
The Lion King: 92%
The Cat Returns: 90%
Harry and Tonto: 88%
The Black Cat: 87%
Puss in Boots: 84%
A Cat in Paris: 82%
Two Brothers: 78%
Keanu: 78%
A Street Cat Named Bob: 76%
The Lion King 1 1/2: 76%
The Cat from Outer Space: 75%
Disneynature African Cats: 71%
Roar: 70%
The Aristocats: 67%
Cat’s Eye: 67%
AVERAGE: 82%

The Tomatometer speaks (or barks, in this case): Dog movies get the edge over cats! But why stop there? Continue on as we break down the stats even further.


RUFF SKETCHES & FE-LINE DRAWING

Buena Vista Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

Animated dog movies: 101 Dalmatians, Snoopy, Come Home, Lady and the Tramp, My Dog Tulip, Bolt, Frankenweenie
Average Tomatometer: 91%

Animated cat movies: The Rabbi’s Cat, The Lion King, The Cat Returns, Puss in Boots, A Cat in Paris, The Lion King 1 1/2, The Aristocats
Average Tomatometer: 84%

With a little imagination, you can draw a line from the earliest cave drawings to Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back. Since the beginning, we’ve observed and studied animals around us, for re-creation on whatever canvas available. So it’s no surprise that cartoons, our updated cave art, are synonymous with talking animals, and that a significant portion of the top 20 cats and dog movies are animated. For our canine pals, the average Tomatometer for the seven animated movies is 91%. For our kitty compatriots, the T-meter for the six animated movies equals 84%, thanks to Walt Disney (The Lion King), Studio Ghibli (The Cat Returns), and Dreamworks (Puss in Boots). Why has Pixar not made the effort? Are they secretly running some anti-cat ring from their basement dungeon in Emeryville? Look into it, people.


DOGS & CATS LIVING TOGETHER, MASS HYSTERIA

Oscilloscope/courtesy Everett Collection

Dog documentaries: Heart of a Dog
Tomatometer: 96%

Cat documentaries: Kedi, African Cats
Tomatometer: 88%

Two documentaries pop up on the cat list: Kedi, an endearing look at strays in Instanbul, and African Cats, featuring cheetahs and lions in Kenya. From the streets to the tundra to your apartment, cats remain in our eyes independent, mysterious, and almost otherwordly. Probably why we make more documentaries about them than dogs. Dog movies revolve around their connection with humans, good fodder for tugging at the heart strings in narrative films. And the only dog documentary here, Heart of a Dog, is indeed about a dog’s bond with its master, artist Laurie Anderson. It’s 96% on the Tomatometer, while the two cat documentaries average 88%.


KILL YOUR (ANIMAL) DARLINGS


Movies where the dog dies:
Old Yeller, White Dog, My Dog Tulip, My Dog Skip, Eight Below
Average Tomatometer: 86%

Movies where the cat dies: The Lion King, Harry & Tonto, The Black Cat
Average Tomatometer: 88%

Some people refuse to watch movies knowing the dog is going to die. But how does canine death affect the Tomatometer? Movies where a dog is killed (on-screen or off) average 86%, two percentage points down from the top 20’s 88%. But when the cat dies, the average Tomatometer actually goes up, also to a healthy 88%. What happened to the stereotype of film critics being cat people? Or is this all some twisted projection of resentment upon their own pets? You be the judge.


BITING THE HAND

Criterion Collection

Movies where the dog bites someone: White God, 101 Dalmatians, White Dog, A Boy and His Dog, White Fang 2
Average Tomatometer: 85%

Movies where the cat scratches someone: Two Brothers, Puss in Boots, Roar, Cat’s Eye
Average Tomatometer: 75%

Enough about killing your pets. What happens when feral instinct rears its furry head and cats and dogs attack people? With dogs, critics seem pretty okay with it: the average Tomatometer only drops to 85%, and frankly, some of the people deserve it, like the burglars in 101 Dalmatians. And we’re including Blood from A Boy and His Dog; he doesn’t bite anybody, but he does help himself to some human delicacies, if you catch our post-apocalyptic drift. Meanwhile, critics are no fans of cat scratch fever: the average rating drops to 75% in movies where cats go on the offense. Keep those claws in your paws, kittens.

Masterminds, a heist comedy based on a 1997 North Carolina robbery directed by Napoleon Dynamite‘s Jared Hess, has seen multiple reported release dates come and go over the past year, having been stuck in limbo after production company Relativity Media went belly-up. But in the annals of delayed movie history, a year is a mere blip. In this week’s gallery, here are 24 movies that sat on the shelf for years after completion (or relatively close thereof).

More of this summer’s films come to DVD this week, led by the extras-packed fantasy The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. If bullet-bending is more your style, you’ll want to pick up Timur Bekmambetov’s super-charged actioner, Wanted; for raunchy, man-child laughs check out Will Ferrell’s Step Brothers. And if your leanings are a tad more sophisticated, see the latest from the revamped Criterion Collection and a special set from the greatest cinematic romance of all time: Casablanca.

1. Wanted Limited Edition Collector’s Gift Set — 73%

If the prospect of watching the director of Russia’s impressive sci-fi films Night Watch and Day Watch make his Hollywood debut wasn’t enough to make you watch Wanted, perhaps it was the idea of seeing Angelina Jolie as a tattooed, deadly assassin; either way, Timur Bekmambetov’s bullet-bending action film exceeded expectations in theaters last summer and, accordingly, will be looking for a place on your DVD shelf this week.

Adapted from Mark Millar’s comics of the same name, Wanted follows the young, bookish Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) as he learns from a mysterious woman named Fox (Jolie) that his father belonged to a secret society of assassins and he’s next in line to join. Packed with visually-stunning set pieces and silly-but-fun action, Wanted won over critics; Universal Home Entertainment aims to do the same with fans by offering a plethora of bonus features on its 2-Disc DVD (a cast and character guide, plus featurettes on the film’s stunts, special effects, graphic novel roots, and more) as well as picture-in-picture interviews, trivia, and extra angles on its Blu-ray release. In another unique BD-Live feature, record and share your own commentary track during key scenes from the film.

Below, watch an exclusive behind-the-scenes clip from the Wanted DVD in which the film’s visual effects team explains how they created the impressive train sequence — entirely in CG.

Next: Return to Narnia with Prince Caspian

2. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian — 66%

The Pevensie kids get get geared up for battle in this sequel to Disney’s popular Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, although at 66 percent on the Tomatometer critics found Prince Caspian slightly less thrilling than its predecessor. With more action, a smidge of romance, and a new, dreamy hero (the Orlando Bloom-ish Ben Barnes), Prince Caspian still serves up the same level of high-class effects that distinguished this franchise from the get-go — and more importantly, the folks who put together this DVD release have collected tons of behind-the-scenes goodies for fans.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian arrives this week on DVD in one of the most complete, fan-pleasing packages of the year; pick up the three-disc release for a commentary track by director Andrew Adamson and his young cast, bloopers, deleted scenes, and a host of featurettes on topics like the sets, production, concept art, and CGI-enhanced animals of Narnia. A digital copy of the film is also included.

Meanwhile, Blu-ray owners will find that Disney has put the format’s capabilities to good use, resulting in a truly immersive experience. In addition to all of the above standard edition features, the Blu-ray title includes BD-Live functionality and the specially-designed “Circle-Vision,” an interactive tour of the Prince Caspian sets with trivia, behind-the-scenes video, and more to be discovered.

Next: Will Ferrell’s Step Brothers shenanigans

3. Step Brothers — 54%

Will Ferrell + John C. Reilly = Comic gold, right? According to the Tomatometer, maybe not. With a theoretically hilarious premise, Step Brothers could have been another instant Ferrell classic, a la Ron Burgundy; instead, it fell a few shades below fresh.

In Step Brothers, two immature, overindulged man-children (Ferrell and Reilly) are forced to room together when their parents marry; their initial hatred for each other leads naturally to shenanigans, until a family crisis forces them to band together. Upon its theatrical release, at least one pair of prosthetic genitals made a brief appearance. We recommend picking up the 2-disc Unrated DVD for even raunchier offerings, a music video entitled “Boats ‘n Hoes,” making-of featurettes, deleted scenes, and a commentary track by Ferrell, Reilly, director Adam McKay, and NBA star-cum-filmmaker Baron Davis. Go Boom Dizzle.

Next: The X-Files: I Want(ed) To Believe

4. The X-Files: I Want To Believe — 32%

Let’s just call it The X-Files: I Want(ed) to Believe. The long-awaited return of FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully had X-Files fans excited, agitated, and — most importantly — hopeful that the once-great franchise could be revived after nine seasons on the air and one decent 1998 feature film. Sadly, those hopes went the way of the Chupacabra, and the result was a standalone, non legacy film that more closely resembled a Sci Fi Channel creature feature than any episode of the X-Files. The Single-Disc DVD contains special features only a fan will love, including concept art, a commentary track, comments on “green” film production, and for some reason, a music video by co-star and rapper Xzibit.

Next: Sam Fuller’s White Dog and the new and improved Criterion Collection

5. Criterion Collection: White Dog – 83%

Director Sam Fuller (The Naked Kiss) was no stranger to controversy; this week, the folks at the Criterion Collection release one of the most controversial films of his career. Adapted loosely from a nonfiction book by French writer Romain Gary based on an experience he shared with his then-wife, actress Jean Seberg, White Dog explores the nature and reality of American race relations with a story of a young woman (Kristy McNichol) who takes in a stray dog that’s already been well trained — trained to attack black people, that is. An animal trainer (Paul Winfield) attempts to re-train the dog as a personal challenge, with dangerous results.

The film, completed in 1981, was shelved by Paramount Pictures on the advice of the NAACP and has never been officially released on home video until now. In grand Criterion fashion, a host of hard-to-find extras accompany the newly-restored film, including production photos, video interviews with producer Jon Davison, co-writer Curtis Hanson, and Fuller’s widow Christa Lang-Fuller, essays by critics J. Hoberman and Armond White, and a “rare 1982 interview in which Fuller interviews the canine star of the film.”

And while we’re on the subject, check out the new and improved Criterion website, where you can read Hoberman’s White Dog essay and join the Beta version of The Auteurs, a new “online movie theater” and social networking site.

Next: A kinder, gentler Metalocalypse: Season Two

6. Metalocalypse: Season Two

Season Two of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim staple Metalocalypse comes to DVD this week, with all 18 episodes of metal-rocking goodness included. Watch as Skwisgaar, William Murderface, Nathan Explosion, Pickles the Drummer and Toki Wartooth continue their streak of world domination as the world’s most powerful and violent metal band, designing their own clothing line, experimenting with Amazonian hallucinogens, and encountering more rampant death and destruction as they attempt to record their new studio album.

Next: The perfect movie lover’s holiday gift: Casablanca The Ultimate Collector’s Edition

7. Casablanca: Ultimate Collector’s Edition — 98%

One of the greatest films ever made is re-released this week in an Ultimate Collector’s Edition perfect for your favorite movie lover this holiday season: Casablanca. A classic tale for movie lovers (and lovers of all kinds), the 1942 war drama took home Oscars for Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Picture and comes housed in a beautiful box that packs in not only movie memorabilia but collectible items and special features related to the Golden Era of Hollywood.

In addition to production-related extras like outtakes, deleted scenes, and galleries, the set includes an audio commentary by Roger Ebert and an introduction by Lauren Bacall and her 1988 TCM tribute to her late husband, Casablanca star Humphrey Bogart — and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. An audio accompaniment includes alternate takes of the film’s most iconic songs, including “As Time Goes By,” while the set’s many collectible items include a replica of Victor Lazlo’s Letter of Transit, internal studio memos, and branded luggage tags.

Next: The wild and crazy fourth season of Saturday Night Live

8. Saturday Night Live: The Complete Fourth Season

Relive the magical early days of Saturday Night Live with Season Four, out this week on DVD. The 1978-1979 season includes the last regular appearances of cast members John Belushi and Dan Akroyd, with plenty of laughs from the likes of Gilda Radner and Bill Murray and the debut of Father Guido Sarducci. Also witness the comic chops of special hosts Milton Berle, Kate Jackson, Monty Python’s Michael Palin, Carrie Fisher, Walter Matthau, Steve Martin, Gary Busey and Margot Kidder, with musical guests like Devo, The Rolling Stones, The Grateful Dead, Van Morrison, Kate Bush, and the Talking Heads.

Until next week, happy renting!

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