German Shepherds are extraordinary animals. As the name says, they started out as herding dogs. However, the same characteristics that made German Shepherds useful for that purpose also made them useful as working animals elsewhere. Amusingly, one of those roles would be acting, as shown by the numerous works featuring these dogs in one role or another. In fact, it should be mentioned that German Shepherds wouldn’t be as popular as they are now if it wasn’t for their presence on the movie screen.
Ace of Hearts is centered on a police dog named Ace. He manages to take down a thief named Torco while out of the sight of his human partner Dan. Unfortunately, the evidence against Torco isn’t great, which when combined with the injuries on Torco’s neck, are enough to get Ace labeled as a “biter.” Naturally, the movie is focused upon the effort to figure out exactly what happened, thus enabling the capture of the thief as well as the exoneration of Ace. It is worth mentioning that Ace takes a lot of initiative in the movie, which might be a plus for people who want something more canine-centric.
Chips, the War Dog
Chips was a real dog. To be exact, he is said to have been the single most decorated war dog of the Second World War, which is no mean achievement. As the story goes, Chips was one of the many dogs that were donated for military use in that period. Due to that, he was trained as a sentry dog before going on to serve with the 3rd Infantry Division in not one, not two, but five separate regions. To name an example of Chips’ heroism, he and his handler were pinned down by machine gun fire during the invasion of Sicily. However, Chips resolved the issue by going right for the machine-gunners, forcing their surrender in spite of a scalp wound as well as powder burns. In the end, he survived the war, with the result that he returned home to be with his family. In 1990, Disney made a TV movie about this dog, which was called appropriately enough Chips, the War Dog.
For the Love of Rusty
For the Love of Rusty is an older movie from the late 1940s. The Rusty in the name of the movie refers to a German Shepherd belonging to a boy named Danny Mitchell. There are a couple of major plotlines in the movie. One would be Danny’s friendship with an eccentric veterinarian named Dr. Fay. The other would be Danny’s relationship with his distant attorney father Hugh Mitchell. These two plotlines are very much connected with one another, with Rusty serving as a vehicle for both of them to proceed.
I Am Legend
I Am Legend is a post-apocalyptic movie starring Will Smith. It was based on a horror novel of the same name, which is relevant because the movie had not one but two endings. One ending was very conventional Hollywood. Meanwhile, the other was much closer to its source material, which was much more interesting. In short, Will Smith plays the role of Dr. Robert Neville, a virologist who once worked for the U.S. Army before a modified version of the measles virus meant to cure cancer instead spread beyond control to infect 99 percent of the human population. As a result, a huge portion of humanity has died while the rest of the infected have turned into vampiric mutants called Darkseekers that predate upon the small number of survivors. Throughout much of the movie, Neville’s one companion is the German Shepherd named Sam, who is one of the major factors helping him to remain sane. The other would be Neville’s self-assigned mission, which would be finding a cure for the virus. The two endings are very different from one another to say the least. In the first one that was seen by most people, Neville managed to find a cure, pass it to a couple of survivors making their way to a rumored survivor camp, and then ensure their survival by killing the Darkseekers hounding him at the cost of his own life. This ending was much criticized for missing the point of the source material. Meanwhile, the other ending saw Neville realizing that the Darkseekers possessed human emotions because the Darkseeker male trying to break into his home was the mate of the Darkseeker female that he had been experimenting upon. In other words, the name of the movie refers to how he has become a figure of legend to the Darkseekers because he has been capturing them before experimenting upon them. Still, this ending is more optimistic than that of the original, seeing as how it features Neville leaving for the purpose of finding the survivor camp with the other two survivors.
K-9 isn’t particularly well-known in the present time. However, it was successful enough in the late 1980s that it spawned an entire franchise consisting of it, a TV spin-off movie, and a couple of direct-to-TV movies. Regardless, the initial movie had a couple of lead characters. One was a police detective named Michael Dooley, who was played by a much younger Jim Belushi. The other was a police dog named Jerry Lewis in honor of the rock-and-roll star Jerry Lee Lewis. The plot kicks off with Dooley being tagged for killing by an international drug dealer named Ken Lyman, with the result that he is assigned Jerry Lewis as backup by his department. Unfortunately for him, Jerry Lewis is a smart, willful dog with what one might call a playful penchant for destruction. Something that Dooley becomes responsible for.
My Dog Tulip
My Dog Tulip is an animated adaptation of a memoir by J. R. Ackerley, a British man who lived from 1896 to 1967 who was notable for a number of reasons. For example, he was openly homosexual in a time when homosexuality was illegal, as shown by what had happened to Alan Turing. Besides that, Ackerley was also with the BBC ever since its founding, with the result that he became the literary editor of its weekly magazine. Something that provided him with huge influence over Britain’s literary output. In any case, My Dog Tulip covered Ackerley’s 15-year relationship with his German Shepherd, who was actually named Queenie rather than Tulip like in the memoir. The animated adaptation is aimed at an adult audience. Moreover, it should be mentioned that it is like its source material in that it is very realistic about exactly what the dog gets up to.
The Christmas Shepherd
Hallmark makes a lot of movies. They aren’t particularly acclaimed. However, they still have plenty of watchers because they are feel-good movies perfect for the holiday season. In any case, The Christmas Shepherd is an excellent example of Hallmark movies. The titular animal is Buddy, a German Shepherd that once belonged to the soldier husband of the widow Sally Brown, who is a published author of children’s books. One day, the dog runs off after a particularly bad storm, with the result that he is adopted by a new family consisting of a single father named Mark Green plus his teenage daughter Emma. This results in Sally meeting Mark, thus resulting in a series of events that are extremely predictable but nonetheless surprisingly watchable.
The Return of Boston Blackie
The Return of Boston Blackie was one of the numerous silent movies released in the 1920s. Story-wise, it featured a reformed thief named Boston Blackie who is working to return a stolen necklace to the owner’s safe without rousing the owner’s suspicion. Something that is necessary because it was stolen by the daughter of the woman to whom it belongs, having been gifted away to a cabaret dancer by said woman’s philandering husband. The movie is notable because it featured Strongheart, a one-time police dog turned military dog who was sent over to the United States by his owner because said individual was fearful that the dog would be subjected to some horrible fate thanks to his newfound poverty in the wake of the First World War. There, Strongheart put on a good performance at a dog show, which caused him to come to the attention of director Laurence Trimble. Thanks to that, he didn’t become the first canine movie star, but he did manage to become one of the first canine movie stars. Sadly, while Strongheart made multiple movies before passing away from a tumor that formed after a bad burn in 1929, most of them have been lost for one reason or another. The Return of Boston Blackie is a rare survivor.
We Think the World of You
We Think the World of You is another movie adapted from a book. The whole thing kicks off when a young, bisexual man named Johnny is sent to prison in post-war London. He has a German Shepherd dog named Evie, who is entrusted to his less than enthused parents as well as his one-time lover plus best friend Frank. Initially, the arrangement works well enough. However, tensions explode when Frank realizes that Johnny’s father has been beating Evie. This conflict is spurred on by Johnny’s wife Megan, who is intent on reclaiming Johnny from Frank after Johnny’s release. In this context, Evie possesses enormous symbolic importance, which could very well resonate with interested individuals. Speaking of which, the book was written by J. R. Ackerley. As such, one could make an argument that this is also a movie about the man’s relationship with his dog Queenie, though through a fictional lens rather than through a non-fictional memoir.
Where the North Begins
Where the North Begins isn’t exactly what most people would consider to be the perfect movie for modern tastes. After all, it came out in 1923, meaning that it came out a bit before the popularization of the so-called talkies. However, it merits mention because it has also had such a huge impact on German Shepherds as a whole. For those who are unfamiliar, an American soldier named Lee Duncan brought home a German Shepherd puppy, which he had found in a seriously damaged kennel that had supplied the Imperial Germany Army during the First World War. He named the puppy Rin Tin Tin because of the good luck charms called Rintintin and Nénette that French children often gave American soldiers. Initially, Duncan thought about using his dog to win dog shows. However, he became interested in seeing his dog on the movie screen when he saw his dog being filmed at a dog show. Due to this, Duncan started making regular visits to Poverty Row where he would talk to anyone would could put Rin Tin Tin in a movie role no matter how minor it might be.
Where the North Begins was the movie in which Rin Tin Tin had his first starring role. In it, he played the Wolf-Dog, a puppy that had been adopted by a wolf pack but nonetheless managed to befriend a French trapper. The Wolf-Dog runs into trouble when he is accused of attacking a baby, which happened because the local trading post manager is plotting to get rid of the French trapper so that he can get the French trapper’s beloved. Fortunately, the Wolf-Dog is cleared of the accusation, with the result that he goes on to get rid of the manager by straight-up killing him. The movie was so successful that it made Rin Tin Tin a star. Furthermore, it is said to have saved Warner Bros. from bankruptcy.