Forget animatronics, CGI
talking mouths and what not. We’re going old school here – and that doesn’t simply mean a menagerie of movie animals who got famous for looking cute. I want the best of the best, which means animals who made an impact. So best say sorry now to Master And Commander’s weevils, and say hello to
- Clyde the orangutan
who outshone Clint in Every Which Way But Loose and was so popular that a sequel followed.
But like humans, personality isn’t always a clincher. Some beasts, like…
- Nissa the leopard
from Bringing Up Baby, only need to turn up and be cute and cuddly killing machines for us to fall in love with them.
If you think they have it easy, consider the creature that coasts in on a great scene, like…
- that lucky bastard snake
in From Dusk Till Dawn; turn up, slither about a bit on Salma Hayek, and then it’s mouse cutlet breakfasts for the rest of your days. Other animals who have to work for a living, must be seething.
Two completely contrasting members of the cat family I are up next. First, the small:
7. Jonesy the cat in
Alien hissed on cue with great aplomb, while the adult lion who played
in Born Free managed not only to avoid eating her co-stars, but put in a performance of great majesty and power.
Cats like going solo, though. Some roles require teamwork, so a big shout-out has to go to all of the bears that worked together so seamlessly to play, erm
5. The Bear
and the onscreen co-operation of…
- The freaky squirrels
In the best scene in this year’s Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.
I’m a sucker for an underdog, and no dog came from further down under than
in Mad Max 2. Say what you like about Lassie – did he ever hold a man hostage at point- blank range with a shotgun?
Any old animal can do cute, but how many get the meatier, character bad guy parts? Like…
- The Nazi monkey
in Raiders Of The Lost Ark, cackling away like a mini- Mephisto. When the little bastard checks out. courtesy of some bad dates, even animal rights activists should be cheering.
As for the top spot? Well, only one animal has ever won half an Oscar, and that’s
- the horse from Cat Ballou,
which quickly learned what was, according to its trainer, unlearnable (i.e. pretending to be pissed). Hope is all well in horesey heaven, pal. Oh, and babe can bite me.