We all watch movies, and which is the “best” is a matter of opinion really. Here are the top 10 animal movies from 1990-2000. Don’t forget to check out other lists throughout Thought for Your Penny.
10. Air Bud (1997) 43% at Rotten Tomatoes
Josh Framm finds a stray golden retriever who is a wizard with a basketball, and they instantly become friends. Buddy helps Josh practice and they both eventually make it onto the school basketball team, with Buddy as the mascot. Sadly, Norm Snively, Buddy’s cruel legal owner, discovers the dog’s talents and wants to cash in on his newfound local fame.
Director: Charles Martin Smith
Starring: Michael Jeter, Wendy Makkena, Kevin Zegers
9. Free Willy (1993) 57% at Rotten Tomatoes
A young boy is forced to work at the aquarium as punishment after being caught vandalizing it. He forms a bond with an orca whale named Willy who is also a troubled child. When the whale refuses to perform in front of a crowd, the aquarium decides he’s worthless and must be euthanized. Now Jesse must fight against the odds to help Willy escape into the open ocean (where we can only assume he’s killed anyway since he has no idea how to survive in the wild).
Director: Simon Wincer
Starring: Lori Petty, Jason James Richter, Michael Madsen
8. Beethoven (1992) 31% at Rotten Tomatoes
The Newton family adopts a tiny St Bernard puppy who grows (like St Bernards are prone to do) into a giant, slobbering beast. Patriarch George is no fan of Beethoven, but his wife and kids love him, so he begrudgingly lets him stay (although he treats him like crap). However, when an evil vet attempts to kidnap the dog for animal experimentation, the whole family comes together to rescue him.
Director: Brian Levant
Starring: Charles Grodin, Bonnie Hunt, Nicholle Tom
7. Babe (1995) 97% at Rotten Tomatoes
Babe, like any other farm pig, is inevitably destined to become bacon, pork, and other delicious meats. That is until he bonds with Farm Hoggett’s border collie and starts helping around the farm by herding sheep. The other animals aren’t happy with him bucking the system, however, and undermine his authority to try and get him killed. Can he survive and prove his worth as a pet instead of a meal?
Director: Chris Noonan
Starring: James Cromwell, Magda Szubanski, Christine Cavanaugh
6. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993) 90% at Rotten Tomatoes
Chance, Shadow, and Sassy are left behind while their humans go on vacation. Unable to understand why they were abandoned, the two dogs and cat escape their prison and go on an epic cross-country journey to find their family. It’s the movie you want to watch for hope if you ever lose your pet.
Director: Duwayne Dunham
Starring: Michael J. Fox, Don Alder, Sally Fields
5. 101 Dalmatians (1996) 38% at Rotten Tomatoes
Anita and Roger have two beautiful dalmatians named Perdita and Pongo, who end up having a massive litter of 99 puppies. Unfortunately they’re kidnapped by Cruella De Vil, an evil fashion designer (and Anita’s boss) who wants to make a fur coat out of them. Now Perdita and Pongo are out to rescue their puppies before they’re butchered and skinned.
Director: Stephen Herek
Starring: Glenn Close, Joely Richardson, Jeff Daniels
4. Jurassic Park (1993) 92% at Rotten Tomatoes
John Hammond has done something extraordinary, extracting DNA from fossilized mosquitoes to recreate living dinosaurs. He creates a zoo on the island of Isla Nublar, a remote island off the west coast of Costa Rica. Before opening to the public, he invites three scientists and a lawyer to experience the park and provide their opinions. Needless to say, the dinosaurs run amok, they don’t endorse the park, and corporations continue opening dinosaur parks for decades in the name of profits.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum
3. Dr. Dolittle (1998) 43% at Rotten Tomatoes
John Dolittle can talk to animals, but he’s largely forgotten this as an adult until he nearly runs over a dog one night, and it all comes back to him. Now the animals know he can understand them, and they all have problems they want him to solve. Can he balance his power with his “normal” life as a medical doctor?
Director: Betty Thomas
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Peter Boyle, Ossie Davis
2. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) 46% at Rotten Tomatoes
Carrey is a household name now, and this is the movie that proved his wacky style of physical comedy works on the big screen. Ace is a lover of pets, so he dedicates his life to solving crimes involving them. When the Miami Dolphins mascot is kidnapped, he’s on the case, learning the kidnapper is an old teammate with a major grudge to settle. It’s also a throwback to a time when you could be turned off by transexuals without being labeled a monster.
Director: Tom Shadyac
Starring: Jim Carrey, Courteney Cox, Sean Young
1. Jumanji (1995) 48% at Rotten Tomatoes
Two kids find an old board game called Jumanji and decide to play it, leading to the release of Alan Parrish. Parrish disappeared into the game as a child when his friend Sarah was too scared to finish playing. Now both original kids (now adults) and the two new players must finish the game as the jungle is unleashed upon the city.
Director: Joe Johnston
Starring: Robin Williams, Bonnie Hunt, Kirsten Dunst