Posted: June 19, 2014, 3:10 a.m. EDT
Movies and animals go together. Some of the most famous movies have animal stars (think of Babe, Old Yeller, Seabiscuit, The Incredible Journey, War Horse and more). But it’s not just dogs, cats, horses and pigs that can work the box office. Small animal pets like ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, rats and rabbits also shine in the spotlight, bringing humor, warmth and adventure to the movies they’re in.
Following is my list of notable films featuring small animal pets. Whether you have seen them before or are just learning about them now, they make great first, second and more viewings for any pet enthusiast.
More movies are made every year, so the plan is to continue adding to this. If you know of a notable movie and don’t see it here, please leave a comment.
Ferrets In Movies
Likely the best ferret action captured in a full-length film to date comes from the ferret characters Kodo and Podo from The BeastMaster movie, released in theaters in 1982 and starring Marc Singer in the title role. It is a sword and sorcerer type fantasy. Kodo and Podo are ferrets playing ferrets, and their characters aid Singer’s several times. They also inspired a generation of pet ferrets named Kodo and Podo. The movie is rated PG and rates 6.1 stars of 10 according to user reviews at IMDB. Would I watch it again? Yes.
More great live action with ferrets is shown in two film shorts by director Alison Parker, Jake And Jasper: A Ferret Tale (2011) and The Magic Ferret (2013). These are contemporary, heartwarming dramas. One of Parker’s own ferrets, Falcor, did all or mostly all of the ferret acting in these short films. Both show a ferret offering kindness and support to a little boy dealing with a difficult situation. In Jake And Jasper, the boy’s mother recently died; in The Magic Ferret, the boy is an orphan hoping to be adopted. Jake And Jasper: A Ferret Tale rates 6.3 stars of 10 according to user reviews at IMDB. The Magic Ferret rates 8.1 stars of 10 at IMDB. Would I watch these again? Yes.
Two more live-action movies that feature ferrets as ferrets, although in a much smaller role, are Kindergarten Cop (1990) and Along Came Polly (2004). Both are comedies and both are rated PG-13. Kindergarten Cop stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Penelope Ann Miller, while Along Came Polly stars Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston. The ferrets only these movies only make brief appearances, but they have critical roles near the end. Interestingly, both movies rank 5.9 stars of 10 on IMDB. Would I watch these again? Maybe.
Although not released as a movie, it’s notable that a documentary titled Ferrets: The Pursuit of Excellence is available on DVD. It was filmed by Mark Lewis Radio Pictures at the Ferret Buckeye Bash, possibly the largest ferret show in North America. Its interviews with ferret owners and show attendees offer a glimpse of the charm of ferrets as pets. It ranks 8.5 stars of 10 at IMDB. Would I watch it again? Yes.
Other movies that have some brief show of ferrets, include Inkheart (2008), The Golden Compass (2007) and Stardust (2007).
Guinea Pigs In Movies
Bedtime Stories (2008), G-Force (2009) and Dr. Dolittle all gave guinea pigs a moment in the spotlight.
Bugsy is the pet guinea pig of the niece and nephew to Adam Sandler’s character in the comedy/fantasy Bedtime Stories. The fantasy is that the bedtime stories he and the children work out come true in some form the next day. It has a PG rating and ranks 6.1 stars of 10 on IMDB. Would I watch it again? Yes (and I have).
G-Force features a team of guinea pig secret agents, a hapless hamster, a fly and a star-nosed mole trying to save the world. It is a jaunt that blends live action and computer animation. Rated PG, it ranks 5.1 star of 10 on IMDB. Would I see it again? Yes.
The Dr. Dolittle (1998) movie starring Eddie Murphy is on this list because I know it includes many animals, including a guinea pig voiced by Chris Rock. It’s rated PG-13 and ranks 5.3 stars of 10 on IMDB. I have not yet had the chance to watch it, but it looks fun — and there are sequels.
Hamsters In Movies
The big moment for hamsters on the silver screen comes in the animated movie Bolt (2008). The lead in the movie is Bolt, a movie star dog, who gets separated from his owner. He sets out to find her, and along the way picks up two sidekicks, a cat and a hamster. Rhino is the hamster, and he travels in his exercise ball. Bolt’s movie-star life has him convinced he has super powers. It’s a rollicking road trip full of adventure and heartwarming moments. Bolt is rated PG and ranks 7 stars of 10 on IMDB. Would I watch it again? Yes (I want to right now!).
Mice And Rats In Movies
These two pets are often in movies together, so the list is longer. In no particular order, here are the movies that feature mice or rats in prominent roles.
The Secret of N.I.M.H. (1982), G, 7.6 IMDB, animated
The Tail of Despereaux (2008), G, 6.1 IMDB, animated
Stuart Little (1999), PG, 5.9 IMDB and has sequels, live action and computer animation
An American Tail (1986), G, 6.9 IMDB and has sequels, animated
The Rescuers (1977), G, 6.9 IMDB, animated
Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008), PG, 6.6 IMDB, live action and computer animation. Reepicheep the warrior mouse figures in this and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader installment in the series.
The Great Mouse Detective (1986), G, 7.2 IMDB, animated
Shrek (2001), PG, 7.9 IMDB, animated. The three blind mice don’t have a prominent role, but they represent!
Flushed Away (2006), PG, 6.7 IMDB, animated
Ratatouille (2007), G, 8.0 IMDB, animated
Willard (2003) PG-13, 6.1 IMDB, live action (strictly for horror fans)
Rabbits In Movies
Rabbits are another favorite small animal to feature in films. These are a few not to miss.
Hop (2011), PG, 5.5 IMDB, live action and computer animation. A comedy that came out around Easter a few years ago. Yes, it’s about the Easter bunny.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), PG, 7.7 IMBD, live action and animation. One of the classic films. There is still talk today about doing a sequel.
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit (2005), G, 7.6 IMDB, animation. If you’re a fan of Wallace & Gromit, you’ll be a fan of this movie.
Alice In Wonderland (2010), PG, 6.5 IMDB, live action and computer animation. So there’s just the supporting rabbit action by the White Rabbit, but where would Alice be without him?
Watership Down (1978), PG, 7.7 IMDB, animated. Based on the classic book.
The Christmas Bunny (2010), PG, 6.3 IMDB, live action. If you want a heartwarming story focused around Christmas, a rabbit and a lonely foster child, this is it.
Rabbit Fever (2010), 8.1 IMDB, live action. This documentary showcases children who compete at rabbit shows and amaze judges with their knowledge about rabbits.
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And check out:
Best Hamster Movies, click here>>
Guinea Pig Training Tips From The Movie Bedtime Stories, click here>>
Making Of The Movie Rabbit Fever, click here>>
Alison Parker Gets Creative To Make The Film Jake And Jasper: A Ferret Tale, click here>>
Ferrets Arrive On PBS!, click here>>