Published By: Puja Sinha

The Best Dog Movies of All Time

The portrayal of dogs in movies is sometimes heart-wrenching, sometimes purely entertaining. On other times, it is simply a poignant commentary on the pathos.

Dogs in movies always make for a fulfilling watch. In cinemas, the dog-human relationship has never flinched from conveying crucial social issues including animal welfare, eccentricities of a dog life, responsible attitude and awareness of certain breeds, pet ownership; and other topics of philosophical profundity and moral quandaries all emphasizing the enduring loyalty and companionship of dogs. Some films have stayed with us as cultural icons, family classics, and pop cultural references. Pet narratives have also been enchased for merchandising and marketing; sometimes, the films have been milked for family bonding and advocacy.

White Bim Black Ear

"White Bim Black Ear" is a 1977 Soviet drama film, critically acclaimed for its emotional depth that permeates the dog-human relationship after a black-eared English setter (Bimka or Bim) is rescued by a widowed war veteran. The film’s ability to evoke empathy and emotional response from the audience is a testament to its powerful storytelling. Much of the cynicism and melancholy in this film stems from the detachment that Bim suffer when its master is hospitalised. We are presented with Bim’s quest to be reunited with its master and an emphasis on isolation, loneliness, yearning for compassion, and abandonment which resonate with the broader human experience.

Umberto D.

Released in 1952, Umberto D. in black and white might have been a shattering loss critically and financially during its release, but it has rightly obtained its status as a cinematic gem in the later years and continues to be revered on the sacred pedestal. Carlo Battisti is a lonely, embittered man with Filke as his only companion—a semblance of some connection with the rest of the world. By knowing the daily life of Carlo and Filke, we are let into a world of human struggle. The pose and introspection with which the story delivers lends an immersive experience to the viewers. Umberto D is a landmark in cinematic history; a timeless masterpiece.

The Cave of the Yellow Dog

This endearing ethnographic film, released in 2005, is a harsh critique of urbanisation and its serpentine encroachment on lives that threatens to do away with the magnificence and simplicity of the pastoral Mongolian steppe. As the herding family of five finds Zochor, the yellow dog, we are at once led to the world of intricate love and affection. The film is set at a meditative pace, which gives ample time to soak in and ponder the poetic value of life, nature, and unadulterated human connection. The lyrical and idyllic element is all-pervasive in the film, making it a memorable watch.

White Dog

White Dog, 1982, is about a German shepherd, white in colour, who sniffs danger and ferociously attacks strangers on sight. Its owner Julie deliberates between putting it to sleep and keeping it close to her. An Afro-American trainer takes up the herculean task to tame the dog. In the process of this hullabaloo, White Dog boldly reflects the issue of white racism and white supremacy without for once resorting to saccharine. The film's willingness to address a taboo subject with such directness and intensity is a testament to its artistic courage, making it a powerful piece of cinema.

My Dog Tulip

My Dog Tulip, 2009, has been praised by critics for its heartfelt storytelling, unique animation style, and emotional authenticity. The film is a candid storytelling of dog ownership and individuality of dogs, and it does so with visualised vignettes using an internal monologue style. The way Tulip comes into life is perhaps what epitomises cinema in essence.