With this dreary April weather, sometimes there’s nothing better than curling up and watching a good movie. What better movie than one that’s about animals? Here is a list of 10 great animal movies to help get you through these April showers.

1. Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009) – G

This movie is a must-see and one of my favorite animal movies! Based on a true story, Hachi tells the tale of a college professor who forms a lasting bond with an abandoned dog he takes into his home. Warning: you might actually cry just at the trailer. You can read about the incredible true story here.

2. Free Willy (1993) – PG 

This movie is a classic. An orphan boy, Jesse forms a bond with Willy, an orcha whale at a theme park. When Jesse discovers that the greedy aquarium owners plan to kill Willy, he hatches a plan to free him.

And who can forget this gem of a song the movie bestowed upon us from the late and great MJ?

3. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (G) – 1993

This film brings me back to my childhood! Before leaving for vacation, the Seavers drop off their pets Chance, an American bulldog, Shadow, a golden retriever, and Sassy, a cat at their friend’s ranch. Worried that they’ve been left for good, the three pets embark on a journey to find their way back home. Siskel & Ebert gave this one two thumbs up, so you KNOW it’s good.


4. The Lion King (G) – 1994

I hope everyone’s seen this film, and that it doesn’t need a plot summary, but in case you’re the one person living under a rock, hakuna matata, I will include one. Not only the best animated Disney movie ever (this isn’t up for debate), but with an amazing soundtrack to boot, The Lion King follows Simba’s journey to face his past, and reclaim his homeland and title from his wicked Uncle Scar.

5. Beethoven (1992) – PG

Another classic, and I’m not talking about the classical music composer and pianist.  The Newton family decide to adopt a cute St. Bernard puppy, and name him Beethoven. Before long, Beethoven grows to a whopping 185 lbs, leading to household mishaps, and causing the dad to feel displaced while his family gushes over the dog. After some time, the dad sees Beethoven’s finer qualities, however Beethoven’s life is in jeopardy when a dog-napping vet schemes to kidnap him for a deadly experiment.

6. Babe (1995) – G

Farmer Arthur Hoggett wins a piglet named Babe at a county fair. With a little help from the farmer, Babe learns to herd sheep. Not conforming to the farm’s social order, Babe hopes that he will be accepted by the other farm animals.

7. Marley & Me (2008) – PG

Shortly after moving to Florida as newlyweds, the Grogans adopt Marley, an adorable Labrador puppy. Marley soon grows up to be a mischievous handful, but even while he’s wreaking havoc, his family continues to learn important life lessons from him. Caution: Even grown men will cry at this one.

8. War Horse (2011) – PG-13

While more serious than the other movies on this list, this is a truly great film. After his beloved horse, Joey is sold into the British cavalry at the outbreak of World War I, young Albert enlists to serve in the war, hopeful that his journey will reunite him with the horse.

9. Happy Feet (2006) – PG

Happy Feet is a cute movie with an awesome soundtrack and an all-star cast. Young Emperor Penguins must find their mate through song. Main character Mumble has a terrible singing voice, but his own unique talent of “tap dancing”. Shunned by his father, Mumble later proves the value of his “happy feet”.

10. My Dog Skip (2000) – PG

In 1940’s Mississippi, Willie Morris grows up with the help of his beloved jack russell terrier named Skip. Warning: Another tearjerker.