Dogs on Film

Oddball and the Penguins
Oddball and the Penguins

The relationship between humans and dogs has long been a staple of the silver screen, with ‘man's best friend' sometimes charged with saving the day and sometimes being the ultimate comic relief. Exploring how caring for and befriending an animal can boost anyone's self-confidence and give them an escape from a world they may not feel in control of, this list explores the special relationship between humans and their canine companions and the history they share on the big screen.

You can also check out our Children and Dogs-themed podcast suitable for primary clubs.

The Cave Of The Yellow Dog

CertU

Age group7–11

Duration89 mins

The Cave Of The Yellow Dog(2005)

A touching story played out against beautiful Mongolian scenery, as a young girl befriends a stray dog, setting off a troubling series of events.

A beautiful insight into the nomadic way of life centring on a young girl forming a bond with a dog that her father worries may be a threat to the sheep that they rely on. A film that highlights how a dog can become an important member of any family unit.

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Oddball and the Penguins

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration96 mins

Oddball and the Penguins(2015)

Charming adventure about an eccentric farmer and his wayward dog who come up with a plan to help protect their town’s endangered penguins.

With Libby being so attached to her grandfather’s out-of-control but sweet-natured sheepdog, this film largely revolves around her desperation to find a way to get him out of trouble so he won’t be taken away by the dog-hating animal control officer. A story about finding your place in the world seen through the eyes of a pet.

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Belle et Sébastien (Belle & Sebastian)

CertPG

Age group11–16

Duration96 mins

Belle et Sébastien (Belle & Sebastian)(2013)

An epic tale of the friendship between a boy and a dog.

Based on a French novel, this film follows a boy who befriends ‘the beast’ (a dog that his townsfolk are afraid of) and concentrates on the lengths that friends will go to in order to protect each other, showcasing the noble and protective nature of a dog and its owner.

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Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration74 mins

Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie(2015)

Much-loved Charlie Brown attempts to navigate school life and falls in love with the new girl as Snoopy embarks upon an adventure of his own.

We witness one of fiction's greatest examples of a kid and his dog in this nostalgic exploration of the trials and tribulations of the insecure and accident-prone Charlie Brown. His pet dog Snoopy (who has an adventurous internal life) often pushes Charlie into situations that are out of his comfort zone.

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Frankenweenie

CertPG

Age group7–16

Duration83 mins

Frankenweenie(2012)

When Victor loses his beloved pet, he conducts an experiment to bring him back to life. When he succeeds, things escalate beyond Victor's control.

Losing a pet of any kind is a difficult thing for anyone to face, so young Victor takes it into his own hands to try and get his pet dog Sparky back. Tim Burton’s inventive animation is typically creepy but also highlights the importance of introducing life, death and grief to young people.

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Mr Peabody & Sherman

CertU

Age group7–11

Duration92 mins

Mr Peabody & Sherman(2014)

Using his most ingenious invention, Mr. Peabody and his adopted boy Sherman hurtle back in time to experience world-changing events first-hand.

A new twist on the ‘boy and his dog’ trope, this time using a time travel framing device to tell the story of a genius dog who has adopted a boy and now has to work hard to prove himself as a suitable parent to his human peers.

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Boule Et Bill (Boule & Bill)

CertPG

Age group7–11

Duration79 mins

Boule Et Bill (Boule & Bill)(2013)

A quaint period comedy about a boy and his beloved cocker spaniel, based on a hugely popular and long running French comic strip.

When Boule rescues Bill from the dog pound, a bond forms that gives Boule freedom from his bickering parents as he and his new canine pal get into all sorts of scrapes. Seen from the point of view of cocker spaniel Bill, this film explores the nurturing importance of friendship between children and their pets.

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The Secret Life of Pets 2

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration86 mins

The Secret Life of Pets 2(2019)

An overprotective family dog must learn to conquer his fears when his family takes him on holiday to the countryside.

Ever wondered what our pets get up to when we’re not around? This much-loved animated sequel contemplates that question whilst also telling an insightful story about the protective nature of dogs and how they might fit into an ever-growing family unit.

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Pick of the Litter

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration81 mins

Pick of the Litter(2018)

Canine documentary following five Labrador puppies as they train for two years to become guide dogs for the blind and partially sighted.

By taking a detailed and insightful look at the skills that dogs can be taught in order to help humans throughout their lives, Pick of the Litter is a celebration of how lucky we are to have these intelligent, resourceful animals by our side.

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The Present

CertUnclassified

Age group7–14

Duration5 mins

The Present(2014)

A teenage boy is gifted a puppy by his mother, but it isn’t to his liking.

This sweet-natured and beautifully animated short film aims to build empathy and understanding, using the relationship between a lonely boy and his new-three legged dog to showcase that there is no such thing as the perfect pet.

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The Artist

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration97 mins

The Artist(2011)

Ingenious and heartfelt homage to silent era cinema.

When silent film star George Valentin falls on hard times as the ‘talkies’ take over the movie theatres, he relies on his faithful dog (played by Uggie, who won a Palm Dog award for his performance) for consolation and support, reflecting how so many of us feel about our dogs at home.

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Bombon El Perro

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration97 mins

Bombon El Perro(2004)

In remote Patagonia, a struggling mechanic starts to think big after his adopted dog wins first prize in a local dog show.

A humorous and gentle road movie about the bond that forms between a man and the dog who may - or may not - bring him greatness. A showcase of how its never too late to adopt a pet and build an everlasting, positive relationship with it.

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Wendy and Lucy

Cert15

Age groupAll ages

Duration80 mins

Wendy and Lucy(2008)

Road movie following Wendy, a woman living hand-to-mouth as she finds her way to Alaska with her golden retriever companion Lucy.

The world is filled with people who can barely afford to feed themselves but still find a way to feed their beloved canine companions. This hugely heartfelt slice of indie Americana is a look at the struggles that a woman goes through and how much her dog means for her survival.

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Best In Show

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration86 mins

Best In Show(2000)

Hilarious satire site in the world of championship dog breeding, from the creators of This is Spinal Tap.

Proud dog owners and their complex relationships with their prized pooches are sent up in this character-driven comedy about the competitive and often neurotic world of dog breeding. A more unconventional look at the problems that arise between humans and dogs.

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Isle of Dogs

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration101 mins

Isle of Dogs(2018)

Stop-motion animation in which a young boy tries to find his lost dog on an island entirely populated by canines, following an outbreak of ‘dog flu’.

Told with the kind of style and wit that only Wes Anderson seems to be capable of, this fable-like story explores the way dogs and people communicate in an affectionate, satirical and sometimes surprising manner. Cute, scruffy, proud and silly, the dogs in this film come in all shapes and sizes.

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