Thursday, August 21, 2008

Top Films: Babe

Babe is a wonderful little fairy-tale about not letting perceptions, or the way things have always been, keep you from following your dreams. The story is about a little pig—won in a raffle—raised on a farm—intended for Christmas dinner—becoming a champion sheep dog.

This movie is perfectly charming. The pig works well as a lead, (it isn’t this first time fiction has turned to pigs, perhaps mice are the only animal more often used as heroes) and is hilarious acting like a dog. The duck and the mice are highlights as well. But perhaps the real gem is the performance by James Cromwell, as the main human in an almost all animal cast. A largely understated performance, when he sings and dances to get Babe out of his depression…he almost steals the movie.

Seen as a commentary on race relations and the silliness of racism, it really works. The dogs in the movie never stop to think about the sheep as anything more than things. Babe comes on the scene completely innocent and never questions the idea of simply talking to the sheep. As a result, he has no need to drive the herd. He simply asks them politely and they do as he asks.

On the other hand, seen as a commentary on the advisability of using innocence and naiveté in addressing the worlds problems of war and international relations, it falls apart when you realize that part 3 “Babe, King of the Jungle” was never made because the Lion pride kept eating the piglets before any scenes could be shot.


  1. I love Babe and this is a great article. It was a wonderful movie to show dubbed in Spanish for Sp 1 and the kids loved it, especially at the Middle School level.
    Great last paragraph, and, by the way, he was intended for Christmas dinNer.

  2. Lance tells me it is a great movie to see in German too. The various animals all use different dialects.

  3. Babe is one of may all time favorite movies. I find the final scene where a pig is leading sheep to be a great ministry metaphor. Both are just animals and it's the shepherd who makes it all go.


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