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Animal Farm (2004)

Gordon Heath , Maurice Denham , John Halas , Joy Batchelor  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)

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Animal Farm - Color - 1954
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Product Details

  • Actors: Gordon Heath, Maurice Denham
  • Directors: John Halas, Joy Batchelor
  • Writers: John Halas, Joy Batchelor, Borden Mace, George Orwell, Laurence Heath
  • Producers: John Halas, Joy Batchelor
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Special Edition
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Homevision
  • DVD Release Date: November 2, 2004
  • Run Time: 72 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002ZYDUG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,072 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Animal Farm" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Scenes as told through original storyboards
  • Audio commentary by film historian Brian Sibley
  • Down on Animal Farm, a 30-minute BBC making-of featurette presented by Tony Robinson
  • Liner notes by author and art historian Karl Cohen

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

A rare example of mainstream animation being used to tell a highly political story, Animal Farm retains its value as a vivid adaptation of George Orwell's classic novel. Characters were eliminated, certain elements of plot were simplified, and the book's gloomy ending was softened to offer a glimmer of hope, but Orwell's parable of the Russian revolution--retold as a revolt among not-so-equal barnyard animals--remains potently intact. As produced by the famous British animation studio run by John Halas and Joy Batchelor, this still-important 1954 film is anything but kiddie fare; it steadfastly avoids sentiment, and despite its slightly more upbeat ending this is still a story that involves exploitation, death, betrayal, and an inevitable uprising that goes a step beyond Orwell's pessimistic conclusion. With British actor Maurice Denham supplying all the voices and Gordon Heath providing newsreel-like narration, this economical, documentary-like telling of Orwell's tale was criticized for its "Disneyfied" style, but the animation is actually quite striking in its European influence and bold use of symbolism. It has aged, and some of its impact has been lost to the course of history, but it's an essential addition to any serious animation collection. Excellent commentary and a 30-minute "making of" featurette place this extraordinary milestone of British animation in proper historical context. --Jeff Shannon

Product Description

Based on the classic novel by George Orwell, ANIMAL FARM tells the story of a group of farm animals who successfully revolt against their cruel human owner, only to be enslaved anew by the unscrupulous pig Napoleon, whose slogan is "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." Presented here in its 50th Anniversary edition, ANIMAL FARM combines superb animation, brilliant Technicolor, and a host of memorable characters to create a timeless fable.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat different from the book, but....... November 21, 2004
Format:DVD
Okay folks, if you read Orwell's original, you might be disappointed in the differences in this film, but so what? What movie ever faithfully follows a book 100%?

With that said, enjoy the film for what it is. It's a really deep and thought-provoking film about how the exploited often becomes the exploiter. In this case, a group of animals overthrow and evil farmer and create a new society called "Animalism" which stresses cooperation among non-humans. The Pigs wind up as the rurlers of this Brave New World and a pig maned Napoleon slowly and subtly beomes their dicator. Even those who are unaware that the story is based on Stalinist Russia will be moved by what happens to Boxer the horse (this scene is pretty faithful to Orwell's original) and be repelled by the corruption of Napoleon the Pig (aka Joseph Stalin).

Made by a British company in 1955, this was probably the first adult-oriented cartoon feature. CERTAINLY not for the kiddies, as they may find it overtly grim and depressing. Nor is it a "date flick" or film you would invite your buddies over for beer and pizza (unless you want some intellectual discussion afterwards). It's a real thinking person's film and I would recommend it for high school and college history classes as a means of sparking discussion on how revolutionary movements often become reactionary.. It's amazing in modern times how this story closely mirrors what happens in a lot of so-called third-world countries today.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars God Bless You Mr. Orwell! April 23, 2006
By Gandalf
Format:DVD
His legacy to us; Animal Farm, 1984, Down and Out in London and Paris, Keep the Aspidistra Flying; and so many other good stories is an incredible treasure trove. Here's hoping that those who watch this cartoon take a few hours, and read these books. Surprisingly easy reading too; George Orwell always felt that to say something clearly was most important. His ideas tend to stick with you. This movie version of Animal Farm is true to the book with the exception of the ending. The live action 1999 movie was not as good as this version and also suffers from a misleading ending. With the movie 1984 the book is better than either movie versions. After reading Down and Out, you'll never look at a restaurant the same way; and Aspidistra is about selling books - and living free; sort of like the modern drop out from society who still will work an undemanding job that leaves his soul free. Down and Out is similar in this sense. In fact all of these titles have living free as a central core theme. Even when the animal society fails the attempt was noble, and the revolution was inspired by freedom. Even when 1984's Winston sits arrested in a totalitarian world, he has never the less lived his life seeking freedom, and you get the idea others like him exist there in that world. This DVD is an incredible restoration with listenable sound. Enjoy! God bless you Mr. Orwell!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ANIMATED BUT STILL A HARD-HITTING PROPHETIC PARABLE December 11, 2005
Format:DVD
ANIMATED BUT STILL A HARD HITTING PROPHETIC PARABLE ABOUT THE HUMAN CONDITION ---

IN A NUTSHELL:

I have just enjoyed "Animal Farm", the animated feature, for the first time and I was truly impressed. Its stark animated realism, augmented by its dispassionate style of narration, gave the film a sense of inevitability which added to its weight as a 20th century parable, created from the famous work by George Orwell.

WHERE THE FILM GOES: "ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL, BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS!"

As most people point out, it is a slightly simplified and more upbeat [in the finale] rendering of Orwell's original literary work, but it is still rather hard-hitting and prophetic. Nevertheless, the personifications of farm animals turned into historic figures like Napoleon the Pig are startling depictions, and mirrored much of what happened in the 20th century, concluding with the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989.

LESSON: ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY?!

Neatly depicted are the "Commandmants" which, as the ruling pigs evolve and change hands, begin to be broken by simply revising them to suit the needs of the MORE EQUAL ANIMALS. Ultimately, the reasons for the original revolution -- a desperate need to end the horrible conditions that were brought about by the exploitation of the many by the few -- repeated in the stunning finale. The results are rather predictable, but maybe they weren't when Orwell wrote the book. In any event, it seems to be a parable which needs to be brought frequently to our attention as humans, not just to the animals that are more or less equal to their neighbors in the barnyard.

ABOUT THE DVD:

I have the DVD pictured and described on this site.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even today, we still buy the farm September 18, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Based on the novel by George Orwell, this animated film is for adults and means just as much now as it did when released in the mid 1950's.
Manor Farm is run by the often drunk Farmer Jones. The neglected farm animals revolt, thanks to the inspiring words of an old hog, who dies and becomes a sudden martyr. The remaining animals adopt some simple rules, and get along swimmingly.
Eventually, the animal utopia begins to crumble. The remaining pigs, led by the tyrannical Napoleon, begin taking advantage of the others' hard work. They dispatch enemies as needed, but still have enough power to rally the troops to fight off a violent invasion by Jones and his drinking buddies. As the pigs begin trading with a shady businessman from the outside world, the animals finally come to their senses and do what they should have done long ago.
Finally, an animated film for adults that actually challenges the viewer to think. No Disney-like cute factor, no songs by aging white British rockers, this is a fascinating film. Orwell's book was written as a lambast against communism, fascism, and dictatorships in general, yet many of the pigs' selfish actions could be applied to modern government today.
As a country, we get upset at every mention of pork barrel (ironic) spending, yet we send our representatives back year after year because it is always some other state or district's politician who is causing the trouble. "Animal Farm" illustrates in simple, yet not dumbed down terms, the way power corrupts, especially by those whose motives seem so sincere to begin with.
If anything, this film should empower you. This should not lead you to violent revolt against your congressperson, but it should force you to ask questions about where that income and sales tax goes.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A classic.
Published 1 month ago by Tizoc R Hernandez
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Largely true to Orwell's classic, although with a slightly more hopeful ending.
Published 1 month ago by West
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great, thanks
Published 1 month ago by Paula S. Barnes
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie
It is a classic that must be seen. Excellent piece of movie work. I really enjoyed the movie and what it stood for.
Published 3 months ago by D. Zech
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
This was a great political satire and I request that you watch this, and read the book, and watch the alternate 1999 movie.
Published 4 months ago by N. Chapman
3.0 out of 5 stars High school students were critical
Showed this to high school students after they had read the book. The movie did help depict how a totalitarianism society functions. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Karen Bruce
5.0 out of 5 stars An Awesome Tale
I saw this cartoon first over 40 years ago, and the message still rings true. Some animals are more equal than others!
Published 4 months ago by Robert Mostow
1.0 out of 5 stars Movie is unavailable
At this time the movie is unavailable, so I was unable to view it. I hope it becomes available soon!
Published 5 months ago by Diane Wolverton
5.0 out of 5 stars Animal Farm Good.
Even after 50 years, Animal Farm is a great analogy of Communism and Socialism, my high school Government students loved it.
Published 5 months ago by Robert George Jr.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good except...
Don't expect the film to end the way the book does. I use this for my 9th grade English class but never show them the end. Film ends how I wish the book had. :-(
Published 5 months ago by Rosemary Baker
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