This article contains indepth information about the critially acclaimed family film, Babe.
a 1995 family film that tells the story of a pig of the same name. In this film
Babe wants to be a sheep dog. The main animal characters are played by a
combination of real and animatronic pigs and Border Collies. The film is based
on the book The Sheep-Pig (known as Babe: The Gallant Pig in the
U.S.) by Dick King-Smith, and later spawned a sequel called Babe: Pig in the
Babe was filmed in Robertson, New South Wales, Australia. The talking animal
visual effects were done by Rhythm and Hues Studios. Although the setting and
style of the film is distinctly British/Australasian pastoral, many of the human
speaking parts were over-dubbed from Australian to American accents for popular
acceptance in the American film market.
After a pig's mother is taken away to
be slaughtered by humans (or, as the film's pigs think, to a "Pig Paradise"),
Babe is picked out for a "guess the weight" booth at a county fair. Farmer
Hoggett guesses the correct weight and wins the pig. Babe is brought to the farm
and is allowed to stay with the female sheepdog, Fly (a Border Collie), and her
pups. He meets Ma, a resident sheep. She tells him what a nice pig he is and how
he should watch out for dogs she calls "wolves". He encounters a duck named
Ferdinand, who wakes the farm each morning by stealing the rooster's job and
crowing. He tricks Babe into helping him destroy the alarm clock- or "mechanical
rooster" as he calls it, because it threatens his job. They succeed, but wake
the cat and end up covering the living room with paint. Babe gets in trouble
with Rex (a Border Collie), Fly's mate and leader of the farm, and is told to
stay away from Ferdinand and the house as punishment.
Mr. and Mrs. Hoggett are seen talking about Christmas dinner and whether they
would have roast pork or Duck a l'orange (and whether they would kill Babe or
Ferdinand). Mrs. Hogget seems to have her mind set on pork. At Christmas,
Hoggett, convinces his wife to keep him so they can show him in the fair.
Babe hears the sheep baaing and witnesses two men trying to steal the sheep and
alerts Rex, Fly and Mr. Hoggett, who are able to prevent some of the sheep,
including Maa, from being taken. Babe watches Fly herd the sheep and decides
that he too wants to be a sheepdog. The next day Hoggett sees Babe herd the hens
outside into a straight line, separating the brown ones from the white ones.
Impressed, he takes the pig to the sheep field with Fly and Rex. Rex feels
threatened by Babe, especially when Hoggett tells Babe rather than Rex to herd
the sheep. Taking advice from Fly to be rough, Babe charges in and bites one of
the sheep. This angers Maa, who advises him to be nice and ask politely. The
sheep then file out in a straight line, impressing Farmer Hoggett. But Rex
regards Babe's behavior as an insult to all sheepdogs, and fights Fly for
putting ideas in Babe's head. Fly's right-front leg is injured, and Mr. Hoggett
is bitten by Rex while trying break the two dogs up. Rex is chained to the dog
house and sedated, causing him to lose his working ability. It is now Babe's job
to herd the sheep.
Hoggett soon considers entering Babe in the sheepdog trials. One morning, as
Babe runs out to the field early, he witnesses a pack of "wolf" dogs attacking
the sheep. After scaring them away by ramming into their sides, he learns that
Maa has been fatally injured and she then dies. Hoggett sees Babe standing over
the dead sheep (with blood on his snout) and assumes the worst. As he prepares
to shoot Babe, Fly tries to talk to the sheep for the first time to find out
what happened. By barking, she manages to distract Mr. Hoggett long enough to
allow Mrs. Hoggett to come out and tell how she heard that wild dogs killed six
lambs on another farm.
When Mrs. Hoggett leaves town, Mr. Hoggett enters Babe in the sheepdog trials
under the name "Pig". That evening, it is so wet outside that Farmer Hoggett
lets Babe inside the house along with Fly. But the Hoggetts' spoiled cat,
Duchess, scratches Babe when he tries to talk to her, and she is thrown outside
into the rain. She is eventually let back in, but turns the conversation into
telling Babe how humans eat pigs. Fly confirms this when Babe runs to her for
the truth. That night Babe runs away, but is found by Hoggett muddy and barely
alive the next morning. Babe refuses to eat, despite encouragement from Rex, who
has softened his attitude towards him, so Hoggett gives him a drink in a bottle.
Hoggett starts to sing "If I Had Words" to Babe, and this eventually leads to
Hoggett dancing for him (while the other animals watch through the windows).
This restores Babe's faith in the farmer and he begins to eat again.
The trial sheep refuse to listen to Babe, and Rex runs back to the farm to get
the secret password from the sheep. The sheep only consent to give Rex this
password for Babe's use, and tell Rex that he must promise to treat the sheep
better in the future. After much debate, the officials allow Babe to
participate. The entire crowd laughs at them, but using the Sheep password, Babe
convinces the sheep to do what he asks, and they perform flawlessly. After
getting five perfect 10.0s and the adoration of the crowd, Babe sits next to
Hoggett, who delivers the famous line "That'll do, Pig. That'll do."
- Roscoe Lee Browne as the narrator.
- Christine Cavanaugh as Babe: the main protagonist. He is a piglet, raised
by the sheepdog Fly. He is considered one of the stupid animals at first, but
becomes a hero in the end. Unlike his dog family, his tactic of herding sheep
is to ask the sheep politely.
- James Cromwell as Arthur Hoggett: the farmer of Hoggett Farm. He is
referred to by the animals as "The Boss". (The exception being Duchess, who
considers him "The Boss's husband.") Unlike his wife, he sees how valuable
Babe (or "Pig") really is on the farm. He is a man of few words; in fact, it
is noted by the Narrator at the end of the film that in his life, Arthur has
spoken fewer words than anybody in the stadium at the sheepdog trials.
- Miriam Margolyes as Fly: Hoggett's female border collie sheepdog. She is
the first to consider Babe as one of the family. She is a strong believer in
the way things are. Like Rex, she views the sheep as inferior. She is the
mother of a litter of pups. Though she firmly believes that sheep are the
stupidest animals on the farm, she asks the sheep for information while Farmer
Hoggett suspected Babe killed Maa.
- Hugo Weaving as Rex: Farmer Hoggett's lead sheepdog who fathered Fly's
puppies. He is also a strong believer in the way things are. When Babe starts
herding sheep, he becomes jealous and very vicious toward everyone, especially
Fly, for encouraging Babe. Rex seems to have a particular hatred toward sheep.
Both he and Fly blame the "stupidity of sheep" for his impaired hearing, which
kept him from the Grand National Sheepdog Champion title. Eventually, he helps
Babe win the sheepdog tournament by asking the sheep at Hoggett Farm for help.
- Miriam Flynn as Maa: an old ewe who lives on Hoggett Farm. She is very
old, but cares very much about Babe and does not want him growing up like the
dogs, who she views as savages. She teaches Babe that sheep will do anything
if you ask nicely. She dies after an attack by stray dogs. She is loved by
- Danny Mann as Ferdinand: An Indian Runner Duck. He is all too aware of his
tenuous existence and lowly status on the farm, and is somewhat neurotic as a
result. Because ducks are viewed as one of the stupid animals, he tries to
find a purpose by waking up the Bosses in the morning, much to the annoyance
of the Bosses and the rooster. He befriends Babe and tries to get him to
destroy the alarm clock. He leaves at one point, but returns after a while.
He's allergic to cats.
- Magda Szubanski as Esmť Hoggett: Arthur Hoggett's wife. She is very happy
when Arthur wins Babe at the carnival, for she sees Babe as a delicious
Christmas Dinner. She becomes shocked to see Babe in the sheepdog tournament.
She is part of the County Women's Guild. She has a daughter, a son in law, and
two grandchildren. She always refers to her husband as "Hoggett" even when she
speaks to the veterinarian.
- Russi Taylor as Duchess: the Hoggetts' spoiled cat. She does not like Babe
at all. Although the film has no main antagonist, she plays a villainous role.
Just when Babe was getting excited about the sheepdog trials, she convinces
him to run away by telling him that humans only keep pigs to eat them. Unlike
the other animals on the farm, when she is talking about the Boss, she is
referring to Mrs. Hoggett.
- The Horse: a horse who pulls Arthur Hoggett's cart.
- The Cow: a cow who is a strong believer in the way things are, for her job
is to make milk.
- The Singing Mice: a chorus of mice who introduce each chapter. Every other
time, they appear singing silly songs such as Blue Moon, That's Amore, and "Votre
toast," an aria in French from the opera "Carmen" by Georges Bizet.
The instrumental score was composed by Nigel Westlake. The film's soundtrack
includes the song "If I Had Words," performed by Yvonne Keeley and Scott
Fitzgerald. Westlake adapted Symphony No. 3 by Camille Saint-SaŽns for the
tune's melody, and the lyrics were written by Jonathan Hodge.
The film was a critical success and was very warmly 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. 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.
It was also a box office success, grossing $254,134,910 worldwide.
Due to its title and subject matter not being "halal", the film was
initially banned in Malaysia, although the ruling was overturned almost a year
later and the film was released direct-to-VHS. It was later released on VideoCD and
even later on DVD, and as of 2009, has aired on Terrestrial TV and pay-per-view
- Academy Award for Visual Effects - Scott E. Anderson, Charles Gibson, Neal
Scanlan, John Cox
- Best Actor in a Supporting Role - James Cromwell
- Best Art Direction-Set Decoration - Roger Ford, Kerrie Brown
- Best Director - Chris Noonan
- Best Film Editing - Marcus D'Arcy, Jay Friedkin
- Best Picture - George Miller, Doug Mitchell, Bill Miller
- Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium - George Miller,
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