Animals are humans’ best friends. Animals in films are incredibly popular because audiences love seeing them and giving the animals a substantial part is even better. It only made sense that a hero’s best friend should be a cute animal that audiences could fawn over. While this cute addition to filmmaking is wonderful, many films have used animals as a sidekick to the protagonist. Some of the best sidekicks in movie history are animals. They are the cute and adorable friends that help the protagonists become the best they can be.
6 Sandy – Annie (1982)
The musical Annie has won the audience’s hearts since its premiere on Broadway in 1977. The musical was so popular and loved that it made for multiple movie adaptations in 1982, 1999, and 2014. Each version always includes the audience’s favorite “dumb dog”, Sandy. This is the stray dog that follows the little singing orphan everywhere. The companionship between Annie and Sandy is closer than best friends. After Annie saves Sandy from being harassed by children, Sandy refuses to leave her side. Annie even brings the dog back to the orphanage where the other girls fall in love with her. Sandy became a fiercely loyal and a great furry sidekick.
5 Donkey – Shrek (2001)
The 2001 box office smash hit Shrek, introduced one of the most famous sidekicks in movie history: Donkey. Played by Eddie Murphy, Donkey is an incredibly annoying and musical runaway. After the evil lord of the land declares an upheaval for all fairytale creatures, Donkey was being chased down by the knights when he ran into Shrek, played by Michael Myers. Wanting to hide under Shrek’s reputation as a scary ogre, Donkey becomes Shrek’s self-proclaimed best friend. Along their journey to protect Shrek’s swamp, Donkey and Shrek form a bond that is full of fun. They learn to support each other and how to be true friends. Against all threats, they stayed together and helped each other through it all. They even remained best friends as they both got married and had children. It really was one of the best companionships anyone could ask for.
4 Jiji – Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
Hayao Miyazaki’s 1989 film Kiki’s Delivery Service is one of the best animated Studio Ghibli films. It follows the story of a young witch that must spend a year alone to complete her witch training. She and her best friend Jiji, a talking black cat, start a courier service in a small seaside town. She must learn to overcome her young mind’s self-doubt, or else she could lose her powers and friend forever. The chatty and sarcastic familiar helps Kiki through quite a lot. He helps her in her deliveries and helps her through her growth as a witch. He also understood that at some point, Kiki had to learn self-confidence on her own. During their time at the seaside town, Jiji falls in love with a white cat named Lily and has kittens of his own. This demonstrated how the duo were able to mature and grow as individuals and together as best friends.
3 Milo – The Mask (1994)
The 1994 film The Mask is a movie that had elements for all audiences. There is a fantasy element as Stanley Ipkiss, played by Jim Carrey, becomes a green-faced playboy thanks to the Norse God Loki’s mask. The mask’s character gets Stanley the attention of the local nightclub singer, showing audiences the romantic storyline. It also is an action/crime film as the local mob boss and nightclub owner gets involved with Stanley’s alter ego. It was a fun movie that had a mix of everything, and it also had Milo. The adorable little dog sees everything Stanley is up to and the antics that the mask causes. He is such a great sidekick; Milo even helps Stanley break out of jail. The little terrier is a good boy that stood by Stanley, no matter what chaos ensued.
2 Dug – Up (2009)
In 2009, audiences were moved by the heartfelt story of Up. When widower Carl, played by Edward Asner, is court-ordered into a retirement home, he must put all his hope in a last ditch effort. He hooks up a ridiculous amount of balloons to his home for an impromptu relocation to the place he and his wife dreamed of. It was a story that audiences fell in love with and wanted to see more of. When he gets there, with young wilderness explorer Russell (Jordan Nagai), the accidental stowaway, they meet Dug. Dug, played by Bob Peterson, is a talking dog that doesn’t fit in with the rest of his pack. He is kind and loyal, even when his pack does not treat him well. The loving dog takes to Carl and Russell instantly. The trio quickly become a family on an adventure to stop the scheming Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer).
1 Binx – Hocus Pocus (1993)
The 1993 cult classic film Hocus Pocus had a great cast for an amazing set of characters. Following the story of Max, as he accidentally brings three witchy Sanderson sisters back from the dead. Max, his sister, and his friend must keep the children of the town safe, or else the witches will steal their youth to become immortal. It is only with the help of a black cat, Binx, that they know how to keep the witches at bay.
Binx’s story is the most tragic in the film. His name was Thackery Binx when he was human in the 17th-century. When he tries to rescue his sister from the sisters’ spell, Winifred (Bette Midler) turns him into an immortal black cat. Since his family saw black cats as a sign of evil, he was never able to be with his family again after his sister died. Tortured by his failure to save his sister, he dedicated his immortality to keeping the Sanderson sisters in the grave. When Max frees them, Binx helps the group and becomes attached to Max’s little sister, Dani. He is a strong and fiercely loyal companion and helped each of the group grow into themselves.