Animals have starred in thousands of movies that have graced the big screens of Hollywood. Every animal- from sharks, chimpanzees, dogs and even rats have had their moment of glory.
Dory from the Disney classic, "Finding Nemo," is an animated version of a royal blue tang/surgeonfish and one of the most famous movie animals ever. Because of her friendliness, optimism, and loyalty to her friends in time of need, she is lauded as one of the most lovable fish on television. Remy from the 2007 film, "Ratatouille," is also famous because he's a rat who can probably cook better than most of us. "Free Willy" is another timeless film that highlights the cruelty faced by a whale, specifically a killer whale, who lives at a theme park where he is held for viewing. The emotional anguish in this film is brought to life by Willy and a young orphan Jesse, who fights against the odds to free the unhappy whale from the wicked plots of his captors.
It is no coincidence that animals are used in films, as they add humor and compassion to the motion picture. They have the ability to appeal to adults and children alike, regardless of whether or not they are real or imagined animals. What we want to know is how well you know your movie animals. Would you be able to name them if we showed you a picture? Let's find out!
Real pigs grow very quickly, so the filmmakers ended up using a total of 48 pigs to play the part of Babe. In wide shots, when the presence of the animal trainer would have been obvious, an animatronic pig was used.
With the recurring Disney theme that being different can be a good thing, Dumbo has earned its status of being an enduring classic. Another recurring Disney theme which is also seen in Dumbo is the heartbreaking separation of child and mother.
Michael J. Fox, Don Ameche and Sally Field are the voice actors behind Chance, Shadow and Sassy, respectively. The actual animal actors, however, are four American bulldogs for Chance, four golden retrievers for Shadow and 8 Himalayan cats for Sassy.
One of the saddest scenes in the movie is undoubtedly when Bambi’s mother is shot by the hunter. The fact that the shooting occurs off-screen makes it no less tragic, which is what Disney writers realized when they decided to change the death of Bambi’s mother from on-screen (as was originally planned) to off.
Cartoonist Brad Anderson created Marmaduke in 1954 and since then the lovable Great Dane has been featured in over 400 newspapers in syndication. In the years leading up to his death at age 91 in 2015, Anderson received help from his son in drawing the comic strip and writing the stories.
Both Bart the Bear and Youk the Bear are featured in this film, with Bart being the older, better known and more prolific animal actor of the two. He appeared in 15 feature films but his acting debut was as Ben, a cub, in the TV series The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams.
Turner is played by Tom Hanks who, although already well-known, had not yet hit superstardom status. Hooch is played by Beasley, a French mastiff – but it is not Beasley we see in the famous, heart-wrenching death scene, that part is done with animatronics.
So far, there are 8 films, an animated TV series and a video game in the Beethoven franchise. For the making of the first movie, several trained dogs were used, as well as one complete mechanical dog. There was also a mechanical dog’s head which was used when filmmakers required Beethoven to show certain facial expressions.
Upon its release, The Jungle Book was very warmly received by moviegoers and positively reviewed by critic. Although the film is based on The Jungle Book collection of stories by famed writer Rudyard Kipling, it doesn’t follow the plot too closely since Walt Disney didn’t want the film and its music to seem too sinister.
Buddy the Wonder Dog, who plays the part of Air Bud, is actually a “rescue dog.” He was found in less-than-ideal condition near Yosemite in northern California by Kevin di Cicco. His new owner taught Buddy to play several sports and Buddy’s natural talent led to him being cast in at least 3 feature films and on the TV sitcom Full House as Comet.
Both Angel, who plays Chloe, and Rusco, who plays Papi, are “rescue dogs.” In fact, Papi was discovered by an animal trainer just one day before he was scheduled to be euthanized.
Spike, the dog who portrays Old Yeller, was actually a yellow Labrador retriever and not a mongrel as described in the film. Also, the wolf that Old Yeller fights to protect his family is really a German shepherd which the filmmakers made look like a wolf.
This computer-animated comedy has received mostly mixed reviews since its release. However, many critics of the film, whether they gave it a positive or negative review, mention the obviously large udders on the two “male cows” leading the cast of characters.
Author E.B. White based the story of Charlotte’s Web on a farm he owned and animals he raised, including a sickly pig. There was even a spider he came across in his barn one day which ended up being the inspiration for Charlotte. That spider disappeared, leaving an egg sac behind which White protected until the baby spiders hatched.
Arachnophobia is described as a horror-comedy which is exactly the distinction actor Jeff Daniels and director Frank Marshall were after. The original script was much scarier and both men felt that, with added humor, it would make a more successful movie
When Who Framed Roger Rabbit was released, it broke the record for being the most expensive film ever made up to that time. That distinction was previously held by Rambo III, released a few weeks earlier. It would not be until July, 1991 that the record would again be broken – by Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
Life of Pi won four of the 11 Academy Awards for which it was nominated. Interestingly, the much acclaimed film starred Suraj Sharma, who was completely new to the world of acting. He revealed that he only went to the auditions as a favor to his brother – and ended up being chosen from over 3000 actors for the film’s lead role!
Actor Jerry Seinfeld (star, producer and co-writer for this film) is well known for his love of wearing tennis shoes. It’s no surprise then that Barry, the lead character in the Bee Movie and the one voiced by Seinfeld, also loves to wear tennis shoes.
The penguins featured in the film are emperor penguins – the largest of all penguins. When it came time for the computer-animated emperor penguins in Happy Feet to dance, their choreography was provided by tap dancing sensation Savion Glover.
The idea of having a rat for a pet might not appeal to everyone, but toy stores experienced an increase demand for pets once the movie Ratatouille was released. In fact, Pets at Home, a British pet chain, reported a 50% increase in pet rat sales after the film’s release.
Bill Lishman, on whom the film is based, has several “firsts” to his credit. Among these is being the first person to use an aircraft to lead the migration of birds (in 1993). Lishman and his group, Operation Migration, have since led numerous migrations of both whooping cranes and geese – all in an effort to help the bird populations to survive.
Dolphin Tale is based on the true story of Winter, a dolphin who lost her tail after being caught in a trap. The real-life scientists who worked on creating a prosthetic tail for Winter also created a special gel to ensure that the new tail remains snug with as little irritation as possible. This gel is now used for human patients with prosthetics.
Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers were already husband and wife (married 1957) when they portrayed Joy and George Adamson in the movie Born Free. Their experiences making the film, led the couple to becoming involved in wild life protection and to creating the Born Free Foundation in 1991.
The Secret Life of Pets is the fifth fully animated feature film resulting from a collaboration between Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures. The four films before this one are Despicable Me (2010), The Lorax (2012), Despicable Me 2 (2013) and Minions (2015). The Secret Life of Pets contains references both Despicable Me and Minions.
Shiloh is based on a real, (apparently) abused dog that children’s author Phyllis Reynolds Naylor encountered one day. The popular film has two sequels: Shiloh 2: Shiloh Season (1999) and Saving Shiloh (2006), based on the two sequels to the original book.
In the 1978 movie Superman, the hero flies with Lois Lane through the night sky. This scene is said to be the inspiration for Aladdin’s and Jasmine’s romantic ride on the magic carpet while “A Whole New World” plays.
Lassie Come Home was the very first film dog actor Pal appeared in. It was also the second film for soon-to-be-legendary star Elizabeth Taylor. For their work in the film, Pal was paid $250 per week while young Taylor earned just $100 per week.
Cass Ole, a Texas-bred Arabian stallion, is one of four main horses used to portray the Black in the film and he is featured in 80% of Black’s scenes. Cass Cole was not completely black, however, as his white legs and white star had to be painted over for the role.
Throughout the film, the audience is never told what breed of dog Bolt is. The filmmakers have revealed, however, that they studied a white German shepherd puppy during production of the film and loosely based Bolt on him.
Familiarity was very important in the production of Marley and Me. All cast and crew members were introduced to the animals before filming and they were given instructions on how to proper handle them. Dogs who were to be in the same scene with each other were introduced beforehand and given the chance to get to know each other.
During mating season, it is not uncommon for the female anaconda to end up eating her mate. Also, while most snakes lay eggs, anacondas are among the few that give birth to live young. A female anaconda can give birth to over 30 babies in each litter.
This is the first movie in the Madagascar franchise and it is followed by two sequels: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008) and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012). Many of the main voice actors from the first film reprise their roles in both sequels.
The film stars Keiko, an orca befriended by a young boy (played by Jason James Richter). After the success of the film, a petition was started which led to Keiko being flown to Iceland and released into the wild where he joined a pod of wild orcas. Sadly, he died a year later from pneumonia, having never lost his dependence on humans for both food and companionship.
Following on the release of the first film, the successful Ice Age franchise has gone on to include four sequels: Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006); Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009); Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012); and Ice Age: Collision Course (2016). There are also a five short films, a video game, two television specials and a live ice show.
This film is based on a 1956 children's novel by Dodie Smith. There are a few differences, however, including a change in the surname of Roger and Anita from Dearly to Radcliffe. Apparently, there had been Disney shows before this one (Peter Pan and Lady and the Tramp) in which the names Dear and Darling had already been used.
This movie starring Crispin Glover is based on a 1969 novel (Ratman's Notebooks by Stephen Gilbert) and a 1971 film of the same name. That 1971 film had a sequel, Ben (1972), which focused on the “bad rat” from the story befriending a little boy named Danny. The theme song for that film is Michael Jackson’s “Ben” which went on to become a number one hit.
The real story of Balto is as gripping (if not more so) as the one told in the film. During a 1925 diphtheria outbreak, authorities tried getting vital medicine from Anchorage to children in Nome, Alaska – over a thousand miles away. After they tried using ships, planes and trains, the final (most grueling) part of the journey had to be undertaken by sled dogs – Balto among them.
When the shark thriller Jaws 2 was released in 1978, it was with the tagline: “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...”. This Flipper movie, about a boy who becomes friends with a dolphin, references Jaws 2 with the use of the tagline: “This summer it's finally safe to go back in the water.”
It was Walt Disney’s idea to change from the original plan of making The Aristocats a two-part life-action series into an animated feature film. Sadly, he died in 1966 and never got to see the project to its completion. The Aristocats is, in fact, the very first film the company produced after his death.
The Adventures of Milo and Otis is a Japanese film (originally called “A Kitten’s Story”) which was heavily edited for its release in the United States. There have been many suggestions that the movie, which took over three years to film, was made with a high level of animal cruelty, but this has never been proven.
Steven Spielberg’s first full-length film was the TV movie Duel (1971) in which a highway motorist is terrorized by a mysterious tanker truck. A few years later, as he considered directing Jaws, Spielberg apparently had second thoughts because, as he put it, “Who wants to be known as a shark-and-truck director?”
Reviews of All Dogs Go to Heaven were definitely mixed. The film’s musical score, colors and voice acting got quite a bit of praise, as did its positive messages of friendship and kindness. What many reviewers reacted to negatively, however, were the film’s other themes (among them murder, torture, drinking and smoking) in what was intended to be a children’s film.
There was a storm of controversy surrounding the making and release of Antz by DreamWorks Pictures. This was due to the many similarities it bears to A Bug’s Life, which was produced by Pixar Animation Studios. DreamWorks founder, Jeffrey Katzenberg, had worked for Pixar before leaving to form his own company.
One underlying theme in The Fox and the Hound has been consistently singled out and praised by reviewers. That is the enduring friendship between Tod, a red fox, and Copper, a hound dog. Their relationship survives despite the fact that they are being pressured to be “natural” enemies.
Throughout the film Joey, the War Horse, goes from being a foal to a fully grown bay Thoroughbred horse. In reality, filmmakers used 14 different horses to play the role, with one of them, Finder, belonging to the lead horse trainer Bobby Lovgren. Finder is also one of the horses who portrayed the legendary racehorse Seabiscuit in the 2003 film.
It's common knowledge that movie scripts go through several revisions before becoming the version we see on the big screen. In the case of The Lion King, its title was changed first from “King of Beasts” and then from “King of the Jungle.” Also, in the original script, Scar is not related to Simba and he is the leader of a pack of baboons, not hyenas.
The artists from Pixar Animation Studios who worked on the film were put through an extensive preparation regimen which included taking scuba diving lessons and going over marine biology lectures. Nevertheless, they still relied on working with dog models when it came to creating expressions on the faces of their marine characters.
This is the touching story of the Akita Inu dog who awaits his master daily, even years after his master has died. The dog in the film, Hachikō, is actually played by several Japanese-bred Akita Inus. They are notorious for being both smart and stubborn!
It is a well-known fact that while he was alive, Walt Disney was very heavily involved in the creative processes which went into making Disney films. It was no different for Lady and the Tramp, where he changed the originally suggested names of the male dog from Homer, Rags, Bozo and Mutt to the now iconic “Tramp.”
In the movie, Kenai, an Inuit boy, is transformed into a bear and learns respect for all forms of life. He gets help in this regard when he meets Rutt and Tuke, two very comedic Canadian moose. The voice of Rutt is provided by renowned comedy actor Rick Moranis, who took the role even though he was on a hiatus from acting – taking on the bigger role of being a stay-at-home dad after his wife died.