Nothing Bad Happens to the Dog in These Movies

THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS.

If you enjoy watching horror movies and action movies on a regular basis, you probably have a strong stomach for cinematic violence. Indeed, you can watch everyone from Jason Voorhees to John Rambo massacre vast swaths of human beings, and so what if you do? They’re just actors and that’s all just red food coloring.

All of that suspension of disbelief goes away, however, should a dog appear to be in harm’s way in the middle of a movie. To many cinephiles, seeing harm come to a movie pooch is a bridge too far, and they will mutter out loud, “I will be so mad if anything happens to that dog.”

We have compiled this list of movies in which no harm ever comes to Fido, no matter how the odds look. You can watch them free from concern that you might hear that terrible whimper that’s too much to bear. Enjoy our carefully curated list of movies in which human life is trivial, but nothing happens to the dog.

‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’ (1991)

A woman with short, tousled blonde hair holds a walkie-talkie while sitting in the driver's seat of an open-top vehicle. A German Shepherd dog is sitting beside her, panting with its tongue out. The background shows bright, colorful details.

“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” is the sequel to the 1984 Arnold Schwarzenegger classic. Like its predecessor, it’s pretty violent, but we are happy to report that from the opening credits to the closing credits, nothing happens to the dog. In fact, the main character’s foster parents are killed by the titular murderous android, all while their dog Max barks in the background. We don’t check in on Max again in the movie, but when we last see him, he is alive and in no immediate peril.

‘Dawn of the Dead’ (2004)

A woman with short red hair, dressed in a blue tank top and blue pants, kneels on a tiled floor in a store. She is looking at a dog with a gray and white coat wearing a green backpack. The store has clothing racks in the background.
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In 2004, director Zack Snyder did the impossible when he remade the 1978 horror classic “Dawn of the Dead,” and it turned out to be good. Like the original, it follows a desperate band of survivors trying to ride out the zombie apocalypse in a fortified shopping mall. At a critical point in the movie, a plan involving Chips the dog runs afoul, but it turns out zombies who used to be people when they were alive don’t eat dogs. Chips prevails right through the after-credits sequence.

‘Gremlins’ (1984)

A small creature with large ears is partially wrapped in festive paper under a Christmas tree. A fluffy dog lies nearby, observing the creature with curiosity. The scene is lit with holiday lights, creating a cozy and festive atmosphere.

“Gremlins” is about a young dude named Billy who gets a cuddly creature called a “mogwai” as a pet. Thanks to his failure to follow simple instructions, it births lots of other creatures just like it, which, in turn, transform into a big murderous mob besieging an entire town. Thankfully, Billy has his trusty dog Barney at his side, who survives all of the carnage that ensues from Billy leaving his food out. Barney, however, remains a good boy through the whole thing.

‘Prey’ (2022)

A person dressed in rustic, forest attire holds an axe and stands alertly in a dense forest, looking back over their shoulder. They are accompanied by a tan dog standing attentively beside them on the forest path. Tall trees and greenery surround them.

“Prey” is the prequel to the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger blockbuster “Predator.” It takes place in the Great Plains in 1719 and stars Amber Midthunder as Naru, a Comanche woman with a loyal canine sidekick named Sarii, and together they try to track down an extraterrestrial huntsman. The movie is significantly better than any other movie in the “Predator” franchise, including the original, and as if that weren’t enough, Sarii survives the movie despite numerous thorny situations. There’s a bird, a snake, a wolf, a bear, and multiple buffalo who aren’t so lucky, but Sarii lives, a fact celebrated by the good people at Salon in an article titled “The importance of ‘Prey’ doing right by the dog, Sarii.”

‘The Lost Boys’ (1987)

A young boy with curly hair, wearing a colorful jacket, looks surprised in a bathroom with white tiled walls. In front of him is a large dog with a wolf-like appearance, sitting and gazing upwards. A black radio is seen beside the bathtub.

“The Lost Boys” follows two teenage brothers who have moved to a new town with their mother after her divorce from their father. Unfortunately, the town they have chosen has a vampire problem, and this problem must be addressed in as gruesome a manner as possible. The movie is very stupid, but it wins points because the family dog, Nanook, not only survives but even gets to commit an act of dog-on-vampire violence.

‘The Silence of the Lambs’ (1991)

A person with light-colored hair looks downward while holding a small, fluffy white dog. The scene is dimly lit, with shadows cast on both the person and the dog. The person's expression is serious or focused.

“The Silence of the Lambs” is based on the Thomas Harris novel of the same name and stars Jodie Foster as FBI newbie Clarice Starling, who’s trying to catch serial killer “Buffalo Bill.” With the help of cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), she eventually locates her quarry. It’s a good thing too, because Bill has taken a woman prisoner, and she got a hold of his dog Precious, threatening bodily harm! We don’t know if she would have gone through with it or not, but we’re glad we didn’t have to find out.

‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ (2019)

A man with blonde hair, wearing a black T-shirt and white pants, sits in an armchair with his eyes closed, while a large brown dog stands with its front paws on his lap, nuzzling his face. The background shows a lamp and a vintage poster on the wall.

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is Quentin Tarantino’s 2019 movie set in 1969 Los Angeles. It’s about a middle-aged actor and his middle-aged stuntman (Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt), and they’re becoming increasingly irrelevant to their industry. There’s also a bunch of stuff about the Manson family. But What really matters is that the pit bull, Cliff, survives all the acid-fueled flamethrower shenanigans.

‘Poltergeist’ (1982)

A large golden retriever stands in the foreground, looking at the camera. In the background, a yellow taxi from "Crescent Cab Co." is parked with its door open, and two children are seated inside. Houses are visible in the distance.

“Poltergeist” tells the compelling story of young suburban family whose house is invaded by malevolent apparitions. These ghouls abscond with their youngest daughter by sucking her into a portal in her closet. They eventually get her back and go to a motel, and their loyal dog is right there with them, although it must be said that at no point in the entire movie did he ever appear to be in any danger in the first place.

‘Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

A black and white dog with a white stripe on its face and a red bandana around its neck gazes calmly at the camera while sitting against a beige, padded background.

“Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan” is the eighth installment (duh) in the popular slasher franchise and the fourth installment since they promised us Part IV would be “The Final Chapter.” Set in the Big Apple and filmed in British Columbia, it features a Border Collie named Toby who at one point gets separated from mommy, causing anxiety in people who didn’t want the dog to die. Toby survives, making all the senseless carnage okay. Who’s a good doggie?

‘Alien’ (1979) (Honorable Mention)

A person with curly hair, dressed in a gray jumpsuit, holds an orange tabby cat close to their chest. They stand in a dark industrial setting, surrounded by metal pipes, machinery, and panels. The person has an intent expression and a wristwatch is visible.

There is no dog anywhere to speak of in the Ridley Scott classic “Alien,” but we’re mentioning it here anyway. The movie features a ginger American Shorthair cat named Jones, and while he does appear to be in danger of losing one of his lives in this movie, he escapes unscathed. He even survives the 1986 sequel “Aliens” too.