The Puppies Are Here!
101 Dalmatians is a classic Disney animation packed full of memorable characters and thrilling sequences. It also comes armed with one of Disney’s most infamous villains, Cruella de Vil.
If you’ve finished watching this one on Disney+ and are looking for alternatives – fret not! We’ve combed through the archives and saved you the hassle with our top picks for alternate viewing.
So without further ado, we present 10 movies to check out when you’ve finished watching 101 Dalmatians!
Charming, funny and smartly written, The Aristocats is another fine example of Disney at its best. The music is rocking (“Ev’rybody Wants To Be A Cat” will undoubtedly get stuck in your head) while the simple but effective story paves way for some memorable characters to come forward.
The set-up is simple and revolves around a retired opera star called Adelaide living the good life in her Paris villa. Alongside her is classy cat Duchess and her three kittens. When Adelaide’s butler overhears that she’s leaving everything she owns to the cats, he kidnaps the cats and takes off.
One thing leads to another and the cats find themselves forced to fend for themselves. Crafty stray cat Thomas O’Malley takes them under his wing though and takes them on an unforgettable adventure.
Released in 1970, The Aristocats is one of those titles seemingly destined to remain in the shadows next to Lady and The Tramp but this cat-centric tale is every bit as enjoyable as that movie.
The Fox and the Hound
“We’ll always be best friends forever…won’t we?” This seemingly innocent piece of dialogue comes from the mouth of a little fox named Tod who happens to grow up around a hound puppy called Copper. As Copper grows into an adult hunting dog their unconventional friendship faces its stiffest test yet and it’s one that pushes both of them to the brink.
What’s particularly impressive with The Fox and the Hound is the way it plays on these juxtapositions between their fates of these two animals and yet continues to keep their friendship a central point of the plot.
Copper’s owner is a mean, bitter man who pushes his dog to become a cold, heartless killing machine while Tod’s sweet owner is the exact opposite. Yet, through it all the bonds of friendship are never broken completely between the pair and it’s something that really helps this film stand out.
A fun animated flick that’s as enjoyable for adults as it is for kids, Bolt refers to the canine star of a fictional action show who believes he really has superpowers. When he’s separated from his co-star however, Bolt embarks on a quest back home but along the way learns some hard truths about life.
Bolt doesn’t exactly reinvent the animation wheel but it is an example of Disney taking a tried and tested formula and revamping it into CGI format in a way that doesn’t lose the integrity of what this sort of story does so well.
There’s a great cast that comes with this one too and the movie has some surprisingly decent 3D effects that held up well in the cinema at the time.
A remake of the 1963 film The Incredible Journey, Homeward Bound is a tale of two dogs and a cat who find themselves separated from their owners. Desperate to get back home, they embark on an epic quest across the Sierra Nevada mountains to find their owner.
Only, this journey is anything but smooth as they find themselves journeying across dangerous terrain. Along the way though, this trio begin to grow closer together.
In truth, the film’s narrative is pretty simple but the evolving bond between the three animals is partly why the movies works as well as it does. Homeward Bound is a classic family picture that stands the test of time, helped by some great voice acting along the way.
Oliver and Company
A charming little animation, Oliver and Company is essentially the cat and dog version of Oliver’s Twist. The characters are unique and interesting while the little lost kitten Oliver stands out next to this dog-centric tale of petty crime in New York City.
Released in 1989, Oliver and Company combines this tried and tested tale with some colourful musical numbers and beautifully drawn animation.
It’s one of those movies where everyone goes “Oh, I remember that!” when they hear the title and yet somehow it remains an underrated gem in the animation category.
It’s a picture that perfectly captures the essence of what animated films do so well and weaves that into a contemporary take of an age-old classic.
Lassie Come Home
Released all the way back in 1943, Lassie Come Home is a timeless dog movie that people will instantly recognize when they see the title.
Based on the novel by Eric Knight, the story here sees hard times come over the Carraclough family. Forced to sell their dog to the rich Duke of Rudling, Lassie (the dog) is unable to deal with this and sets out on a long and dangerous journey to rejoin his old family.
This tale of man’s best friend showing his loyalty and braving the elements is a timeless classic, and easily one of the best dog movies ever made. Just be prepared to go in with a box of tissues, this one gets pretty emotional!
Balto is one of the better dog movies but it’s also one that’s often overlooked too. Boasting beautiful hand-drawn animation (away from the jarring live-action opening and closing scenes), this is a really sweet movie and one with a pretty poignant tone too.
The story revolves around a half-wolf/ half-husky named Balto. He’s given the chance to become a hero when an outbreak of diphtheria threatens the children of Nome, Alaska.
Set in the middle of winter during 1925, Balto leads a team of dogs on a perilous 600-mile trip across the Alaskan wilderness to get medical supplies.
Based on a true story, Balto’s story delivers a warm-hearted adventure that really tugs on the emotions. This is a great film and definitely worth checking out.
101 Dalmatians (1996)
Before Disney started remaking every classic movie into their new live-action catalogue, 1996 saw the deliciously camp and cheesy remake of 101 Dalmatians release. It’s not a particularly outstanding film but it is a very enjoyable family feature.
The story here is similar to the animated version but with a few distinct differences. Roger is a struggling computer game designer while Anita is a charming fashion designer. Their dogs Perdita and Pongo don’t talk but do act out all their scenes well.
Hijinks ensue when Cruella inevitably shows, leading Pongo and Perdita out to save the day and bring back their puppies. With lots of slapstick humour, plenty of Home Alone-esque pranks and a pacey screenplay, this live-action remake is great fun.
Beethoven won’t be for everyone but this comedy certainly delivers some enjoyable moments along the way. While Beethoven is the star, the supporting human characters are actually pretty good and there’s some famous faces in here as well.
The story revolves around the Newton family who live life comfortably but feel like something is missing. Well, that missing component happens to be a small puppy called Beethoven. He eventually grows into a giant St Bernard, but also becomes the target of a nasty veterinarian who’s hell-bent on making Beethoven the target of an animal experiment.
The script is a little weak at times but the overall tone and pace certainly are not.
Benji is the perfect family feature. It’s a movie packed with a lot of heart and one that can be enjoyed by the whole family – adults and children alike.
Benji is our central character here, a stray who warms the hearts of a number of townsfolk who all give him food and attention whenever he stops by.
Benji’s favourites however, happen to be a pair of children who play with him despite their parents’ wishes. Only, when these children are kidnapped, it’s up to Benji to track them down and save the day.
Heart-warming and packed with a really good message, Benji is another great movie worth checking out.
So there we have it, our 10 Movie picks to keep you busy after watching 101 Dalmatians.
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!