10 of the Best Movies for Animal-Loving Children

It seems like right now action movies and comic book superheroes are everywhere — and that’s great! But I wanted to dedicate this week’s post to children who love animals.

From 1950s classics like “Lady and the Tramp” to an Academy Award nominee starring a pig, none of these picks has been in the spotlight anytime recently, yet every child should see them. Now is a great time to break from what’s new, take a walk down memory lane, pop in a favorite and cuddle up with your family’s four-legged friend(s).

“Lady and the Tramp” (1955)

The movie that made spaghetti dinners famous. “Lady and the Tramp” is a classic dog-meets-dog love story. In it, Lady, a beautiful cocker spaniel, is kicked out of her comfortable home, and it is wrong-side-of-the-tracks mutt named Tramp who brings her back to where she belongs. Rated G.

“The Aristocats” (1970)

A wonderful pick for the cat lover in your family! As Scat Cat, a jazzy feline band leader, says, “Everybody wants to be a cat.” In “The Aristocats,” a retired opera singer leaves her inheritance to her cat, Duchess, and three kittens. When the woman’s butler abandons the felines in the countryside in order to seek the inheritance for himself, they set out on a journey in unfamiliar territory to regain their rightful place and property in Paris. Along the way, they meet some sweet, kooky characters. Rated G.

“Charlotte’s Web”
Based on the children’s novel by E.B. White, “Charlotte’s Web” is very simply about a pig named Wilbur and his friendship with a barn spider named Charlotte who writes hopeful, praising messages to the pig in her web. A classic for all children and especially those with an affinity for animals. Rated G.

“Beethoven” (1992)

Beethoven is a massive, dripping, slobbery, bumbling … sweet, loving, nurturing, affectionate gem of a dog. In this classic, a family (the Newtons) falls for Beethoven, a St. Bernard, one by one. That is, except for George, the father. He’s the last to be convinced of Beethoven’s worthiness. Yet in the end, everyone in the Newton family comes to love, admire, and appreciate Beethoven’s place in the family. Rated PG.

“Homeward Bound” (1993)

In this heartwarming favorite, Chance the bulldog, Shadow the golden retriever and Sassy the cat embark on a journey through the California forest to find the family they believe abandoned them while on vacation to San Francisco. Along the way, they encounter all kinds of strange and dangerous creatures, but nothing stops them from trying to make it home again. Rated G.

“Free Willy” (1993)

When a young boy gets in trouble for putting graffiti on the side of an orca whale’s tank, he soon finds a new friend. Together, the boy and whale find themselves kindred spirits in captivity — one in a foster home, the other in a tank at the Northwest Adventure Park. Rated PG.

“The Lion King” (1994)
As popular as The Lion King was at one time, it’s possible many young children haven’t seen it. The Disney classic tells the story of Simba, a young lion who is to succeed his father, Mufasa, as king. After Simba’s uncle Scar murders Mufasa, however, Simba begins to believe he is responsible and flees in exile. As he grows older, upon living with two wise friends, he is offered valuable perspective before returning to challenge Scar and end his uncle’s tyranny. Rated G.

“Babe” (1995)

“That’ll do, pig, that’ll do.” Those are the words of farmer Arthur Hoggett, who wins a piglet named Babe at a county fair. As Babe grows, narrowly escaping winding up as Christmas dinner, he bonds with border collie Fly. What do the other farm animals think though of a pig who doesn’t act like a pig? This sweet film won an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture and high ratings upon its release in 1995. Rated G.

“Stuart Little” (1999)

E.B. White is an animal lover. Yet another of his tales finds itself on the big screen. In Stuart Little, Stuart is a mouse adopted by the Littles, a New York City family. Stuart gets comfortable inside the Littles’ brownstone in New York, despite the plotting of Snowbell, the family’s cat. In the end, Stuart shows the Littles that great things can come in, well, little packages. Rated PG.

“My Dog Skip” (2000)

For dog lovers everywhere. Some children might remember Frankie Muniz from “Malcolm in the Middle.” If not, no matter. In this tale set in the summer of ’42, he is a lonely, unathletic boy in Yazoo, Mississippi, who gets a Jack Russell terrier for his ninth birthday…and friendship, love, and acceptance, too. Rated PG.

Andrea Fisher is a Triad-based writer, movie lover, and blogger for 4tv. Check out more of her writing and reviews @andreafisher007

Categories: Movies for Children