Film – Families w/Animals

This selection of films highlights the strong relationships that can form between humans and other animals, not all of whom are dogs or cats, and not all films are made for young children. We look forward to adding more films to this list.

Au Hasard Balthazar. Directed and written by Robert Bresson. 1966. France. [A cinematic masterpiece. Throughout his life, a donkey is shuffled from one human to another, serving their stories – some cruel, others kind.]

Babe. Directed by Chris Noonan. 1995. Kennedy Miller Productions. USA. [Adapted from the children’s novel, The Sheep-Pig, by Dick King-Smith, first published by Gollancz in 1983.]

Ben. Directed by Phil Karlson. 1972. Bing Crosby Productions. USA. [A boy’s friendship with a rat is threatened. A sequel to the 1971 film, Willard. In this unusual film that draws upon horror elements, Ben leads other rats in search of food, and several people are killed in the process, yet the loving relationship between boy and rat endures. The theme song became a big hit.]

EO. Directed and cowritten by Jerzy Skolimowski. 2022. Skopia Films. Poland, Italy. [A donkey’s perspective as he moves through Europe and meets humans are indifferent or cruel, and those who are kind.]

Goodbye to Language. Directed and written by Jean-Luc Godard. 2014. Canal+. France, Switzerland. [An experimental film in 3D that is a montage of images, quotes, sound, with a dog the only one who can see clearly]

Gorillas in the Mist. Directed by Michael Apted. 1988. Universal Pictures. USA.

Kedi. Directed by Ceyda Torun. 2016. Termite Films. Türkiye. [A documentary about stray cats that live in Istanbul, and the people who observe and interact with them.]

My Dog Tulip. Directed by Paul Fierlinger. 2009. Produced by Howard Kaminsky. USA. [Geared for adult audiences. Based on the 1956 memoir of the same name by J. R. Ackerley.]

Pound. Directed and written by Robert Downey, Sr. 1970. Pound Company. USA. [A film that serves as both commentary on and allegory for relations among different groups and stereotypes of people, while simultaneously attempting to illustrate life in a dog pound from the dogs’ point of view. Human actors play the dogs. Film debut of Robert Downey, Jr. Background]

Umberto D. Directed by Vittorio De Sica. 1952. Produced by Rizzoli-De Sica-Amato. Italy. [According to Robert Osborne of Turner Classic Movies, this was De Sica’s favorite of all his films. Warning: some tough scenes with dogs, as well as to a chicken and ants.]

War Horse. Directed by Steven Spielberg. 2011. DreamWorks Pictures. USA. [Based on the 1982 novel of the same name by Michael Morpurgo and its 2007 theatrical adaptation.]

Wendy and Lucy. Directed by Kelly Reichardt. 20. Field Guide Films. USA. [Adapted from the short story, Train Choir, by Jon Raymond.]

White Fang. Directed by Randal Kleiser. 1991. Walt Disney Pictures. USA. [Based on the 1906 novel of the same name by Jack London.]


A Little Vicious. Directed by Immy Humes. 1991. The Doc Tank Inc. USA. [A dated yet interesting documentary. Wikipedia: “A dog in Connecticut about to be killed for biting people, until animal trainer Vicki Hearne steps in to help. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.”]

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