Babe is a 1995 Australian-American film directed by Chris Noonan. It is an adaptation of the 1983 novel The Sheep-Pig, also known as Babe: The Gallant Pig in the United States, by Dick King-Smith and tells the story of a pig who wants to be a sheepdog. The main animal characters are played by a combination of real and animatronic pigs and Border Collies.

Babe was filmed in Robertson, New South Wales, Australia. The talking-animal visual effects were done by Rhythm & Hues Studios. Although the setting and style of the film are distinctly British/Australasian pastoral, many of the human speaking parts were overdubbed from Australian to American accents for popular acceptance in the American film market.

The film was a critical and box office success and was nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, but lost to Braveheart. The success of the film launched a sequel three years later. So in 1998, the sequel film Babe: Pig in the City was released. However, its 1998 sequel got generally mixed reviews from critics.

Plot[edit | edit source]

After a piglet's mother is taken away by humans to be slaughtered, Babe (the piglet's name) is picked out for a "guess the weight" booth at a county fair. An old gentle farmer named Arthur H. Hoggett guesses his weight after the pig pees on his shoes and he and wins the pig. Babe is later brought to his farm and allowed to stay with the sweet and gentle female sheepdog, Fly (a border Collie), and her playful pups. Maa, an elderly resident sheep, tells him to watch out for the dogs as they are "brutal savages", and Babe vows to never question about it and think badly about any other animal on the farm ever again. A silly duck named Ferdinand, posing as a rooster in order to keep from being eaten, wakes the farm each morning by crowing. While Arthur and Esme are away at church one Sunday morning, he persuades Babe to help him destroy the alarm clock because it threatens his mission. Although they are successful, they awake Duchess, the Hoggetts' nasty cat and accidentally destroy the living room. The shenanigans leave all three to be covered in paint. Later that night, Rex, Fly's mate and leader of the farm animals, orders the ashamed Babe to stay away from Ferdinand (who is now a fugitive) and the house, or else.

Sometime later, Rex and Fly's puppies are soon put up for sale and sold and she is brokenhearted at the separation. In a comforting tone, Babe asks if he can call her "Mom," and Fly happily agrees, accepting him as her foster son. When Christmas break comes near, the Hoggetts put up the decorations and their daughter, her husband, and their two children come over for the holiday. Ferdinand runs as he screams that Christmas is carnage, fearing that he may become the main course of Christmas dinner. Arthur and his grandchildren watch as Esme begins to see how big and fat Babe is. Soon the measuring tape begins tickle his tummy and Babe begins to laugh, his laughter increases when Esme begins to tickle his tummy. Fly just watches in despair as Esme walks off with the measuring tape with her grandchildren. Maa is later taken out to the fields with the other sheep.

Arthur and Esme discuss Christmas dinner and whether to have roast pork or duck à l'orange. Esme has her mind set on pork, but Hoggett convinces her to keep Babe alive so they can show him at the fair.

On Christmas day, Babe and the animals watch Arthur and his family have dinner when Ferdinand comes by. It is revealed that Arthur actually slaughtered a female duck named Rosanna, who was Ferdinand's girlfriend. Not wanting to be a goner, Ferdinand decides to run away, and Babe helps him. After this, Babe hears the sheep bleating and investigates. He witnesses two men stealing the sheep but is chased off by their dog, Sniff. As Esme consoles their spoiled little granddaughter, who loudly begins crying as she throws a tantrum over the beautiful handcrafted dollhouse Arthur made for her as a Christmas present (screaming because it wasn't the dollhouse she saw on a television commercial), Babe alerts Rex, Fly and Arthur, who prevent Maa and some of the other sheep from being taken.

The next day Arthur sees Babe sort the hens, separating the brown ones from the white ones, much to the surprise of his son-in-law and the confusion of Esme and their daughter. Impressed, he takes the pig to the sheep fields along with Fly and Rex. Rex feels threatened by Babe when Hoggett tells Babe rather than Rex to herd the sheep, and is furious with Fly for helping him. Fly advises Babe to be rough, so he bites one of the sheep. This angers Maa, who advises him to ask politely. The sheep cooperate and Babe herds them out of their pen, impressing Farmer Hoggett and amazing the other dogs. However, Rex perceives Babe's actions as an insult to sheepdogs, and that night, he confronts Fly in a fight in anger for encouraging Babe, injuring Fly's right front leg and accidentally biting Arthur's hand when he tries to intervene. Rex is chained to the dog house and sedated, leaving the sheep herding job to Babe.

Hoggett considers entering Babe in the sheepdog trials. Fly then tells Babe that Rex was once a champion of the sheepdog trials until one day when a flood came to the valley, Rex tried to herd the stray sheep to safety, but due of them thinking Rex wanted to harm them, they drowned and Rex was found barely alive. He lost half of his hearing, and lost the Grand National Challenge to the sheepdog trials, thus becoming harsh, cold, bitter, jealous, and threatening. One morning, Babe runs out to the field and witnesses a pack of feral dogs attacking the sheep. He scares them away, but Maa has been mortally injured and dies from her wounds. Arthur arrives, and thinking that Babe killed her, prepares to shoot him. Fly is so anxious to find out whether he is guilty or innocent that, instead of barking orders at the sheep, she talks to them to find out what happened. Learning the truth, Fly barks to distract Hoggett; delayed until Esme mentions that the police say feral dogs have been killing sheep on neighboring farms and asks Hoggett why he has taken his shotgun out, he then unloads it.

One rainy day, when Esme leaves on a trip with her friends, Arthur enters Babe in the sheepdog trials under the name "Pig". That evening, Hoggett lets Babe inside the house along with Fly. Duchess however, scratches Babe when he tries talking to her, so Arthur confines her onto the porch as punishment. Ferdinand returns from his self-imposed exile. When Duchess is allowed back into the house, she gets revenge on Babe by telling him that humans eat pigs. Horrified, he runs out to the barn and learns from Fly that this is true. The next morning Fly discovers Babe has run away. She and the reformed Rex alert Arthur this and they find a very devastated Babe in a cemetery. Back at home, Rex and Fly presumably scold Duchess for taunting Babe the night before, while Babe is still demoralized and refuses to eat, despite encouragement from Rex, who has felt remorseful for his violent actions and softened his attitude. Arthur gives the Babe a drink of water in a baby bottle and sings "If I Had Words" to him, and eventually dances a jig for him. This restores Babe's faith in the farmer and he begins eating.

At the competition, Babe meets the sheep that he will be herding, but they ignore his attempts to speak to them. As Hoggett is criticized by the bemused judges and ridiculed by the public for using a pig instead of a dog, Rex runs back to the farm to ask the sheep what to do. They give him a secret password, first extracting a promise that he will treat them better from now on. He returns in time to convey the password to Babe, and the sheep now follow his instructions flawlessly. Amid the crowd's acclamation, he is unanimously given a perfect score. While he sits down next to the farmer, Hoggett praises him with the standard command to sheep dogs that their job is done, "That'll do, Pig. That'll do."

Cast[edit | edit source]

  • James Cromwell as Arthur Hoggett: the farmer of Hoggett Farm.
  • Magda Szubanski as Esmé Hoggett: Arthur Hoggett's wife.
  • Brittany Byrnes as The Hoggetts' granddaughter
  • Wade Hayward as The Hoggetts' grandson
  • Paul Goddard as The Hoggetts' son-in-law
  • Zoe Burton as The Hoggetts' daughter

Voices[edit | edit source]

  • Christine Cavanaugh as Babe: a piglet and the main protagonist
  • Miriam Margolyes as Fly: Hoggett's female border collie. The mother of a litter of puppies, she is the first to consider Babe as one of the family.
  • Hugo Weaving as Rex: Farmer Hoggett's lead sheepdog who fathered Fly's puppies.
  • Danny Mann as Ferdinand: An Indian Runner Duck. He is aware of his tenuous existence and lowly status on the farm, and is somewhat neurotic as a result.
  • Miriam Flynn as Maa: an old ewe on Hoggett Farm.
  • Russi Taylor as Duchess: the Hoggetts' evil cat and the main antagonist
  • Roscoe Lee Browne as the Narrator.
  • Michael Edward-Stevens as Horse: a horse who pulls Arthur Hoggett's cart.
  • Charles Bartlett as The Cow: a cow who is a strong believer in the way things are, for her job is to make milk.
  • Evelyn Krape as Old Ewe
  • Paul Livingston as Rooster
  • John Erwin as TV Commentator
  • The Singing Mice: a chorus of three mice who introduce each chapter. Every other time, they appear singing songs: such as "Blue Moon", "Votre toast" (an aria in French from the opera Carmen by Georges Bizet), and Scott Fitzgerald's "If I Had Words".
  • The thugs and the teirtary antagonists
  • The savage dogs and the secondary antagonists.

Reception[edit | edit source]

Babe was a critical success and was very well received. It currently holds a 98% approval on Rotten Tomatoes and a 100% approval rating from top critics, making it one of the best rated films on their website.[3] It was also a box office success, grossing $254,134,910 worldwide.[4]

It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It won the award for Best Visual Effects, defeating Apollo 13. In 2006, the American Film Institute named Babe #80 on its list of America's Most Inspiring Movies.

Due to its title and subject matter not being halal, Babe was initially banned in Malaysia, although the ruling was overturned almost a year later and the film was released direct-to-VHS.

Awards and nominations[edit | edit source]

Box office[edit | edit source]

Babe grossed $36,776,544 at the box office in Australia, which is equivalent to $52,958,223 in 2009 dollars.

Home media[edit | edit source]

  • August 28, 2007 (2007-08-28) – (DVD – Family Favorite Treasures, this DVD contains The Grinch and The Cat in the Hat) (Note: All three films on this DVD are in pan and scan only.)
  • November 6, 2007 (2007-11-06) – (DVD – Two-movie collection with Curious George)
  • April 5, 2011 (2011-04-05) - (Blu-ray Disc)

Sequel[edit | edit source]

A 1998 sequel Babe: Pig in the City was released in theaters, but received mixed reviews from movie critics.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. ^ Chanko, Kenneth M. (1995-08-18). "This Pig Just Might Fly | Movies". EW.com. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,298358,00.html. Retrieved 2010-05-31.
  2. ^ "Robertson – New South Wales – Australia". theage.com.au. 2008-04-10. http://www.theage.com.au/news/new-south-wales/robertson/2005/02/17/1108500198901.html. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
  3. ^ "Babe Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1065598-babe/. Retrieved 2010-05-31.
  4. ^ "Babe (1995)". Boxofficemojo.com. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=babe.htm. Retrieved 2010-05-31.
  5. ^ Siskel & Ebert week of February 16, 1996 Part 1 Part 2
  6. ^ ":: rogerebert.com :: Reviews :: Babe (xhtml)". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19950804/REVIEWS/508040301/1023. Retrieved 2010-05-31.
  7. ^ Gogoi, Pallavi (2006-11-05). "Banning Borat". Businessweek.com. http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/nov2006/db20061107_885480.htm. Retrieved 2010-05-31.
  8. ^ "Academy Awards, USA: 1996". awardsdatabase.oscars.org. http://awardsdatabase.oscars.org. Retrieved 2009-04-08.
  9. ^ Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office
  10. ^ "Family Favorite Treasures 3-Movie Collection - Universal Studios". NBC Universal Store. http://www.nbcuniversalstore.com/detail.php?p=32364. Retrieved 2010-05-31.

External links[edit | edit source]

  • Babe at the Internet Movie Database
  • Babe at Rotten Tomatoes
  • Babe at Box Office Mojo
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