Liberated: Animal Rights Inspired Filmsby Marjanni | created - 04 Jun 2012 | updated - 14 Jul 2014 | Public
Animal rights issues are rarely explored in film. When they are, they have a powerful impact on audiences of all ages. You don't have to be an animal rights activist to appreciate the themes, however, they will surely leave an impressionable impact on you. NOTE: Not all of these films are suitable for young children, and don't be fooled by their childish, cartoon appeal. Some of these films are quite disturbing and confronting for even adult viewers.
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1. The Plague Dogs (1982)
PG-13 | 103 min | Animation, Adventure, Drama
Two dogs escape from a laboratory and are hunted as possible carriers of the bubonic plague.
This is perhaps one of the most powerful, fictional animal-testing film ever made. Although it's an animation, it is definitely NOT suitable for young children, and some adults will find it disturbing and unsettling. The story follows the journey of Rowf and Snitter, two dogs who have escaped from a horrendous animal-testing facility, and embark on an unforgiving escapade. It does contain some violence, however, that is not what makes this film shocking. It is the unrelenting and realistic nature of animal-testing and survival that make this film truly memorable. Your opinions on animal-testing do not matter, "The Plague Dogs" explores a matter-of-fact account of what vivisection involves. A truly powerful and remarkable film; wholeheartedly recommended!
2. Legally Blonde 2 (2003)
PG-13 | 95 min | Comedy
Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) heads to Washington, D.C. to join the staff of a Representative in order to pass a bill to ban animal testing.
Votes: 59,875 | Gross: $90.19M
Takes a more "child-friendly" approach to animal testing. No experiments are shown, however, the overall feeling towards it is negative. The ending is completely unrealistic, as the audience is left feeling that animal testing has been ended; hooray! In reality, there's no chance of this.
3. The Shaggy Dog (2006)
PG | 98 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy
A man tries to live a normal life despite the fact that he sometimes turns into a sheepdog.
Votes: 17,905 | Gross: $61.12M
Like the above, the film approaches the topic of vivisection less intensely than "The Plague Dogs". It is a bit more stark than Legally Blonde 2, but no experiments are shown, rather alluded to.
4. Paulie (1998)
PG | 91 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Paulie, a talking parrot, recounts his travels looking for his original owner to a Russian janitor who helps him to the end of his journey.
Votes: 13,992 | Gross: $27.01M
Another kids film that touches on animal testing. No experiment scenes are shown, but like Legally Blonde 2, the overall atmosphere is upsetting.
5. Food, Inc. (2008)
PG | 94 min | Documentary, News
An unflattering look inside America's corporate controlled food industry.
Votes: 48,901 | Gross: $4.42M
Any documentary style film on this list shows ACTUAL scenes of animal cruelty. Food Inc is an educational expose on the food industry, exploring all kinds of themes, not all are about the welfare of animals. Depicts actual footage from inside slaughterhouses, which are quite but not overly graphic. Not recommended for children, unless you think they can handle it without turning vegetarian. Beautifully constructed film.
Not Rated | 72 min | Documentary
A candid and introspective look at the extreme beliefs and motives of Ingrid Newkirk, the British-born co-founder and driving force behind People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the world's largest animal-rights organization.
If it's a story about PETA, that should really say it all. Whatever your views are about animal rights and PETA in general, it is still quite an interesting film. It details how PETA became, well, PETA as we know it. It does show some pretty disturbing footage of animal cruelty, ranging from animals being skinned alive on fur farms to slaughterhouse footage. Not recommended for children. An intriguing documentary that may just change your mind about animal rights.
7. Chicken Run (2000)
G | 84 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
When a cockerel apparently flies into a chicken farm, the chickens see him as an opportunity to escape their evil owners.
Votes: 173,026 | Gross: $106.83M
A well-rounded wholesome kids flick. In regards to animal rights, it depicts the dismal existence of egg-laying hens, however, it is done in a way that will not upset children. Any parent considering this for their kids' viewing should not be concerned.
8. 101 Dalmatians (1996)
G | 103 min | Adventure, Comedy, Crime
An evil high-fashion designer plots to steal Dalmatian puppies in order to make an extravagant fur coat, but instead creates an extravagant mess.
Votes: 98,696 | Gross: $136.19M
This iconic Disney film 'delicately' explores the nature of the fur industry. Of course we don't see any scenes of puppies being skinned, however, the subject matter is depicted in a way that young children may find upsetting. The animals are 'hoped' to be skinned, bashed on the head, and poisoned, but a happy ending prevails. A good film in a sense it explores the cruel world of fur; a topic that is usually not touched upon in mainstream film.
9. Fluke (1995)
PG | 96 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy
After a man dies in a car crash, he is reincarnated as a dog and attempts to reconnect with his family.
Votes: 6,353 | Gross: $3.99M
What is it with kids movies and animal testing? Anyway 'Fluke' is pretty appropriate for children, although it may have a 'Bambi' effect, if you know what I mean. Explores the nature of vivisection, not in grapchic detail however. Still may be upsetting to young children, and the overall tone is sad.
10. Free Willy (1993)
PG | 112 min | Adventure, Drama, Family
When a boy learns that a beloved killer whale is to be killed by the aquarium owners, the boy risks everything to free the whale.
Votes: 67,011 | Gross: $77.70M
12. Earthlings (2005)
95 min | Documentary, Horror
Using hidden cameras and never-before-seen footage, Earthlings chronicles the day-to-day practices of the largest industries in the world, all of which rely entirely on animals for profit.
14. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
PG-13 | 105 min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi
A substance designed to help the brain repair itself gives advanced intelligence to a chimpanzee who leads an ape uprising.
Votes: 488,811 | Gross: $176.76M
15. Project X (1987)
PG | 108 min | Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi
An Air Force pilot joins a top secret military experiment involving chimps, but begins to suspect there might be something more to the mysterious "Project X".
Votes: 9,945 | Gross: $18.53M
16. The Secret of NIMH (1982)
G | 82 min | Animation, Adventure, Drama
To save her ill son, a field mouse must seek the aid of a colony of rats, with whom she has a deeper link than she ever suspected.
Votes: 35,200 | Gross: $10.14M
18. Rio (2011)
G | 96 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
When Blu, a domesticated macaw from small-town Minnesota, meets the fiercely independent Jewel, he takes off on an adventure to Rio de Janeiro with the bird of his dreams.
Votes: 201,342 | Gross: $143.62M
19. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008)
PG | 89 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
The Madagascar animals fly back to New York City, but crash-land on an African nature reserve, where they meet others of their own kind, and Alex especially discovers his royal heritage as prince of a lion pride.
Votes: 198,541 | Gross: $180.01M
20. FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992)
G | 76 min | Animation, Adventure, Family
The magical inhabitants of a rainforest fight to save their home, which is threatened by logging and a polluting force of destruction called Hexxus.
Votes: 26,508 | Gross: $24.65M
21. The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996)
PG-13 | 96 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
After being rescued and brought to an island, a man discovers that its inhabitants are experimental animals being turned into strange-looking humans, all of it the work of a visionary doctor.
Votes: 30,395 | Gross: $27.66M
22. Old Yeller (1957)
Approved | 83 min | Adventure, Drama, Family
A teenage boy grows to love a stray yellow dog while helping his mother and younger brother run their Texas homestead while their father is away on a cattle drive. First thought to be good-for-nothing mutt, Old Yeller is soon beloved by all.
Votes: 11,440 | Gross: $21.91M
24. The Cove (2009)
PG-13 | 92 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime
Using state-of-the-art equipment, a group of activists, led by renowned dolphin trainer Ric O'Barry, infiltrate a cove near Taijii, Japan to expose both a shocking instance of animal abuse and a serious threat to human health.
Votes: 46,650 | Gross: $0.87M
25. March of the Penguins (2005)
G | 80 min | Documentary, Family
In the Antarctic, every March since the beginning of time, the quest begins to find the perfect mate and start a family.
Votes: 55,084 | Gross: $77.44M
26. Pelts: Politics of the Fur Trade (1989)
57 min | Documentary
Excellent film that explores the true reality of the fur trade with some graphic scenes. Not recommended for the kiddies; stick to 101 Dalmatians for that. If you wore fur before watching this, your morality will be drastically changed. Enough said.
27. 12 Monkeys (1995)
R | 129 min | Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller
In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.
Votes: 565,531 | Gross: $57.14M
28. Your Mommy Kills Animals! (2007)
R | 105 min | Documentary
An in-depth look at the animal rights movement and the FBI's recent declaration calling them the number one domestic terrorist threat to the United States.
29. Big Miracle (2012)
PG | 107 min | Biography, Drama, Family
In small-town Alaska, a news reporter recruits his ex-girlfriend - a Greenpeace volunteer - on a campaign to save a family of gray whales trapped by rapidly forming ice in the Arctic Circle.
Votes: 18,341 | Gross: $20.11M
32. Bold Native (2010)
R | 105 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
Charlie Cranehill, an animal liberator wanted for domestic terrorism, emerges from the underground to coordinate a nationwide action as his estranged CEO father tries to find him before the FBI does.
33. The Roots of Heaven (1958)
Not Rated | 126 min | Adventure, Drama
In French Equatorial Africa, an idealist ecologist starts a campaign of public awareness to help save the African elephants from extinction.
34. The Ghosts in Our Machine (2013)
93 min | Documentary
A cinematic documentary that illuminates the lives of individual animals living within and rescued from the machine of our modern world.
Votes: 639 | Gross: $0.02M
35. Death on a Factory Farm (2009 TV Movie)
TV-MA | 83 min | Documentary
Death on a Factory Farm follows the undercover investigation of Wiles Hog Farm by the animal rights group: The Humane Farming Association (HFA), and the resulting court case against it. The... See full summary »
37. The Superior Human? (2012)
73 min | Documentary
A documentary that systematically challenges the common human belief that humans are superior to other life forms. The documentary reveals the absurdity of this belief while exploding human... See full summary »
38. Defenders of the Wild: Rangers of Nepal (1993 TV Movie)
A film profile of the park rangers in Bardia National Park who have to protect the mountain kingdom's river dolphins, tigers, one-horned rhinos, gharial crocodiles and elephants from ... See full summary »