Forgettable movies about talking dogs or unruly, slobbering hounds aimed at children abound (thank, for nothing, Disney); however a few films belong in a category of their own for their high quality — excellent script, acting, cinematography, and soundtrack — but mostly for their tender and honorable portrayal of the unique bond between a dog and its owner(s). Although children will enjoy these films on some level, it will be adults who truly appreciate the nuances and depth of these films. As John Cam Hobhouse noted, a dog has all the virtues of man without his vices — and these films tell beautiful, touching stories that illustrate so well just how noble and loyal dogs can be. Although these films were released without a great deal of fanfare and did modestly in the theatres, they are truly cinematic gems — canine classics. Grab a bag of popcorn, and settle down with your beloved canine companion, and get ready to watch a movie that will be sure to make you appreciate your dog even more — just don’t forget to have a box of tissues nearby…
Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009)
Directed by Lasse Hallstrom and starring Richard Gere and Joan Allen, the film is based on a true story about a very faithful Akita that forms a very strong bond with its owner. A very beautiful, very moving film that is a remake of the Japanese film, The Tale of Hachiko.
Red Dog (2012)
Directed by Kriv Stenders, starring Josh Lucas and Rachel Taylor, another film based on a true story about a legendary Kelpie dog from western Australia. Told from multiple perspectives, the story is sweet, charming, and humorous. Based on the novel Red Dog by Nancy Gillespie.
My Dog Skip (2000)
Directed by Jay Russell, starring Diane Lane and Frankie Muniz, is another film based on a true story. This time the dog is a Fox Terrier (although the film uses a Jack Russell Terrier) and the story is told from the perspective of a young boy living in a small town in Mississippi. Like Red Dog, Skip has a very entertaining personality, but at his core is deeply devoted to his owner. The film features an absolutely stunning and deeply stirring score composed by William Ross. The book is based on the memoir, My Dog Skip by Willie Morris. The film is dedicated to the author who died soon after the film was completed.