The Best Golden Retriever Movies

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Stars of Hollywood and beyond for years, golden retrievers have always held a special place on the big screen.

And as cinema’s most beloved pups, there’s no shortage of delightful movies starring the faithful canines. So, here’s a look at some of the best golden retriever movies of all.


Homeward Bound (1993)

One of the most delightful and emotionally captivating animal movies ever made, Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey is an absolute joy, starring the wise old golden retriever Shadow in one of the lead roles.

A heartwarming tale of friendship and loyalty that follows three pets who traverse the California wilderness to be reunited with their owners, the film is a gorgeous adventure set against a stunning backdrop, and is furthered by surprising emotional resonance that puts the reality of pet and owner being separated at the centre of the story.

Wise old golden retriever Shadow (voiced by legendary actor Don Ameche) is delightful in the lead role, and has a strong on-screen dynamic with young bulldog Chance (Michael J. Fox) and cheeky cat Sassy (Sally Field) throughout.


Air Bud (1997)

The ultimate popcorn entertainment for all golden retriever lovers, Air Bud is a truly delightful film from start to finish, and genesis for a seemingly endless stream of sequels.

The story of a golden retriever who escapes from a cruel owner at the circus and joins a school basketball team, it’s difficult to look past just how fluffy and generic Air Bud is, but it’s even harder to ignore just how much fun it is.

It’s as cheesy as kids’ Disney movies get, but with a heartwarming story, fun sports action and an adorable lead turn from Air Buddy, the famed golden retriever actor, Air Bud will put a big smile on your face and a cosy, warm feeling in your heart without a doubt.


All The Other Air Bud Movies (1998-2013)

The original Air Bud is an absolute joy, but if you’re in the binge-watching mood for golden retriever movies, then the series it spawned is an absolute treasure chest.

Basically, most of the sequels revolve around Buddy as he learns to play different sports, saving the day every time. It’s not as imaginative, but every film has the same heartwarming, fluffy atmosphere, and sometimes that’s all you need.

Then after Air Bud, there was the spin-off series Air Buddies, about Buddy’s puppies and their increasingly implausible adventures. Only difference is that the puppies speak in the movies, whereas Buddy never did in the originals. Whether you like that or that is anoter matter, but all the series’ films are equally cute and easy-going for all dog lovers.

Here’s a list of all the Air Bud/Air Buddies movies and their sports/themes:

  • Air Bud: Golden Receiver (1998) – American football
  • Air Bud: World Pup (2000) – Football/soccer
  • Air Bud: Seventh Innings Fetch (2002) – Baseball
  • Air Bud: Spikes Back (2003) – Volleyball

  • Air Buddies (2006)
  • Snow Buddies (2008)
  • Space Buddies (2009)
  • Santa Buddies (2009)
  • Spooky Buddies (2011)
  • Treasure Buddies (2012)
  • Super Buddies (2013)

Napoleon (1995)

A whirlwind adventure full of fun and exploration, Napoleon is a grand old tale for a little golden retriever puppy.

Following young Napoleon as he is whisked away from his home in Sydney after curiously climbing inside a basket tied with balloons and floating away, the film sees one small dog and his parrot friend experience the wilderness of Australia.

Ignoring advice from his wiser parrot friend, Napoleon decides he can live in the wild on his own, only to discover the dangers of life in the forest. From there, the film develops a story about bravery, adventure and ultimately loyalty as Napoleon discovers the world around him, and begins to reminisce about his life with his family back in Sydney.


The Art Of Racing In The Rain (2019)

Stepping away from the 1990s – when all golden retriever films seem to have been made – this mini-genre had a brief revival in 2019 with the release of The Art Of Racing In The Rain.

Based on the novel of the same name by Garth Stein, the film follows the life of a Formula One racing driver and his faithful pet golden retriever Enzo, as they grow and discover the world together, learning from life on the racetrack.

Bolstered by a strong cast that stars Milo Ventimiglia, Amanda Seyfried and Kevin Costner as the voice of Enzo, the film delivers a strong blend of powerful drama and upbeat, light-hearted storytelling and humour, making it the perfect watch for any dog lover.

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About Author

The Mad Movie Man, AKA Anthony Cullen, writes articles and reviews about movies and the world of cinema. Since January 1st, 2013, he has watched and reviewed a movie every day. This is the blog dedicated to the project: www.madmovieman.com