I was given some free passes to see this film right before it came out. I had seen the trailers, and they looked cute, but if I hadn't gotten the free passes, I might have skipped over this gem. This is far more than a children's movie.
The voice of the pig is absolutely perfect... sweet, innocent and believable. Babe's tender heart will remind you of Wilbur from E.B. White's "Charlotte's Web" but this is a story in its own right... and there is no talking spider.
James Cromwell received an Oscar nomination for his role as Farmer Hoggett, a sweet, somewhat hen-pecked sheep farmer who wins the piglet as a prize in a county fair.
Babe is a lonely little piglet... he's had to say goodbye to his siblings and his mother at a tender age and is thrust into a barn with all sorts of strange animals he's never seen before. All of the animals, dogs, horses, the cows, etc. feel sorry for Babe and look out for him. There is rivalry with the top Border Collie, but Babe's sweet and innocent disposition wins the hearts of all reluctant farm dwellers.
The farmer's wife initially sees Babe as just a ham on legs, but the farmer sees more and finds a friend that changes his life.
It is impossible to see this film and not get at least a lump in your throat and many scenes will make you laugh outloud. I wish the DVD included more features, like a behind-the-scenes featurette outlining how they got the animatronics (which won a much deserved Oscar) to work. Perhaps it was felt that children would be dismayed that the pig really can't talk or that it took nearly 30 pigs to make the film due to the speed in which they grow into 1-ton hogs... I'm not sure, but as an adult, i would have enjoyed seeing more features on the DVD. This is still a wonderful family film and unforgettable and sweet characters.
on September 12, 1998
I am a film buff, who never had much interest in children's films, because they were either cloying, patronizing, or incredibly manipulative. This one is different. This film does what any great film should do-involve you in the many layers, subtexts and subtleties of the film. While many would say, well, its just a story about a pig- I say-quite wrong! I am always attracted to the well-constructed story, and yes, this film is better than the book. Not because you can see it- I often prefer books to movies, because I create all the scenes in my imagination. It is because it plumbs deeper than the book, to create something as rare as the perfect short story- the perfect fable. All great fables teach us something about life- and that is what BABE does so splendidly. Indeed, life and goodness shine through beautifully in this film. And truth- BABE does not shrink from showing us reality. It seems to be such a little story- and its not. Yet, it is highly enjoyable, and it is even more rewarding for adults than children-although it is a perfect family film. I cried buckets when I saw this film in the theater, because it brought back memories of my childhood, when a lonely girl created an imaginary landscape of talking animals in the forest. The film appealed to me on so many levels, though. Move over Les Enfants du Pardis- BABE is now my favorite film, and I highly recommend this film to you. END
Babe was a runaway success in 1995. It even got a best picture nomination and in my mind should have won. This is a fantastic movie, sure to delight children from 2-100. Chris Noonan has created the modern farmyard parable. He deftly brings you into his world of talking animals centered around that most amicable of pigs, Babe. While the sheepdogs rule the farm, Babe warms the heart of sheep and dog alike, and eventually farmer Hoggett much to the chagrin of his wife who is counting the days to the next big feast. Ultimately Babe is spared as farmer Hoggett comes to realize he has a most unusual pig on his hands. Babe finds himself welcomed into the fold, rising to the ultimately status of being able to come into the house on miserable nights, at the expense of the house cat. All these animals are played wonderfully off each other. The voices couldn't be better. Farmer Hoggett eventually puts Babe to the ultimate challenge, the great sheepherding competition, which brings out a raucous reaction from the crowd. But Babe soon silences them. This movie has everything one could want in a children's movie and more. It deserves its place among the classics of all time.
on September 24, 2004
I stayed away from the theaters when this movie was playing, suspicious that it was just another over-hyped Disney-like film. I rue that decision now, for I missed the chance to share it firsthand with dozens of undoubtedly delighted families. As the critics have duly noted, this movie is already a classic in every sense of the word. Far better than "Charlotte's Web" and indeed all the other "animal" films, it has inaugurated a cinematic genre. Neither the brooding parody of Orwell's "Animal Farm" nor the frivolous antics of Looney Tunes, "Babe" has shown that it is possible to entertain with animals while making one think about the unavoidable lessons of life. This movie succeeds on so many levels, as its many Oscar nominations indicated, that one has to believe that creative genius was behind it. The screenplay is accessible to children yet retains moments of adult wit reminiscent of "Peanuts." This careful use of language to convey simple truths may explain some of the film's broad appeal. But its heart-warming, life-affirming message, delivered as it is by the most unassuming of characters--a pig--explains the rest. If you've been hesitant like me to even watch, much less buy this film, do yourself a favor and rush out to rent it. (Indeed it has almost made me into a vegetarian, but that's another story). Then the film itself will convince you to add it to your home video library. You and your family will treasure it for years to come.
on September 8, 2012
I've been upgrading my movie collection to Blu-ray over the last year, and I'm finding some films look great on Blu-ray and others really don't. In the case of Babe, it's a home-run. The picture quality is great, and the film holds up under the magnifying glass, and the audio quality is great. The mouths on the animals and the scenes where puppets are used look fine, so it's quite enjoyable in HD. I even got two digital copy codes and was able to share them with friends. Highly recommended for kids of all ages.
on December 18, 2003
Disappointed in Babe: Pig in the City, I went back to watching the original. Ever after a dozen viewings, this original film retains its power to entertain, endear, and raise emotional and psychological issues uncommon among children's films.
The magic was in the details of this film, and not just in production design. After all, busy production design couldn't make the second film any more engaging than it was. No, the original Babe's charm lies in the wonderful characterizations of Rex and Fly, the sweet yet prejudiced sheep dogs, lovable in nature, but with character flaws that make them as rich as any human character; it lies in the matter-of-fact Farmer Hoggett, played with sincerity and humour by James Cromwell; it lies in the impeccably tailored voice work, from the braying ewe Maa to the hilariously squeaky mice, the booming horse, and that oh-so-greasy cat; it lies in the beautifully rendered, pudgy voice work for Babe by Christine Cavanaugh, who was sorely missed in the second film; and it lies in the pure heart of moments like the slamming of the gate at the sheep dog trial at the end, Rex and Fly's endearing kiss against a soaring crane shot, the eerie dramatic irony of Babe facing Farmer Hoggett's rifle, and Fly's loss of her puppies. And the film's famously ironic tone is the icing on the cake, spearheaded by a highly effective "naive narrator", which subverts the fairy-tale tone of the piece and adds dimensions that serve to add both humour and intellectual complexity to the story.
This film was well deserving of its Best Picture and Best Screenplay Oscar nominations, a film smart enough for adults but joyful enough for children.
on March 25, 2004
The movie Babe is so completely filled with memorable and hilarious gags and scenes and one-liners that it's hard to pick a favorite.
I'm a sheep pig.
The goose flapping outside the window.
The farmer's wife passing out on the motel bed.
Etc., etc., etc...
Marvelous, marvelous tale of a little pig on an Australian farm who is adopted by the farmer's border collie and trained to herd sheep. The improbable movie turned into the surprise hit of 1995, the video has probably been bought by more families than any other film of recent memory. With its message of hope and salvation, it's a hilarious and sentimental film you can watch again and again.
on February 19, 2004
Several previous reviewers are dead-on. Babe, is of course, a clever, funny, touching movie. It's one of the few movies that I and my 3-year old can both enjoy over and over. But the marketing jerks at Universal have seen fit to force several lengthy advertisements on you every time you try to watch the movie. What's more, they've coded them to be non-skippable, so you MUST sit through them every time you want to watch the movie (you can fast forward, but you can't skip over them). This is offensive and intrusive in any dvd you've purchased (and arguably fraudulent as it's not disclosed on the package), but it's even worse with a movie like Babe that's targeted largely at kids. First, it illustrates that Universal has outright contempt for parents' rights to decide what types of films are, or are not, appropriate for their kids. Second, if you have a small child who really wants to watch Babe (or whatever), it's difficult for them to understand why they should have to sit through 15 minutes of Universal's marketing crap before the movie starts (something that's not true with numerous other children's DVD's). Shame, shame Universal. I'd encourage you to rent, download, pirate, or borrow this DVD rather than buying it, at least until Universal ceases its offensive, dishonest marketing tactics.
on December 20, 2012
This was such an unexpected delight when I saw it in the theater for the first time. I fell completely in love with Babe and Fly and Maa and Ferdinand-the-duck-that-wanted-to-be-a-rooster. James Cromwell was perfect as farmer Hogget. I didn't eat pork (even bacon) for years after seeing the film. A really great combination of real-life action and animation...and the editing process must have been Herculean in scope. A brilliant film, I picked this as my favorite for best picture of 1995 over the gruesome and violent Mel Gibson opus which won that year. This was a much more memorable effort which I have enjoyed many times since, and one which I think will endure longer than any of the other films from that year...oh yeah, loved the mouse chorus as well!
Baa-ram-ewe..."Christmas means carnage"! and "Beware the bad cat bearing a grudge".......
on January 25, 2004
Babe, a 5 star delight of a movie, is more beautiful than ever in widescreen. The single star is for the Universal DVD. I have always supported the notion that the best way to make money is to sell a quality product. Universal doesn't seem to agree. The disc starts off with 5 minutes of forced advertising (some marketing 'genius' at Universal deserves to lose a job over that idea). The special features are the poorest I have ever seen for a special edition and include a 'making of' that is a downright lie; 5 minutes of computer graphics about how they made the animals seem to speak. I prefer to buy DVDs because I want to, not because they are the only choice, but if you want to see Babe this is the only choice.