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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Kids will learn how life on a farm works, and what usually happens to animals bred on a farm – they become our food. The way dogs herd sheep is also taught.
Many wonderful messages. One major theme is perseverance. Kids will learn that just because you don’t look like you can do something doesn’t mean you can't do it anyway. The idea that family is who raises you -- not just who gives birth to you -- is a powerful lesson for those who are or know adopted children.
Positive Role Models
Both the farmer, who's a just and kind man, despite his stern exterior, and Babe, who works incredibly hard at becoming a diligent "sheepdog," are positive role models for children. Babe is also never discriminatory against any animals, which is a valuable lesson in battling prejudice.
Violence & Scariness
A pack of wild dogs attack sheep and kill one named Ma; she's shown with a bloody wound before she dies. Audiences know a duck is being slaughtered, but the actual killing isn't visible. Many references to slaughtering and how animals wind up as food on dinner tables. The farmer almost shoots Babe, mistakenly believing him to be responsible for the sheep's death. Some scenes may scare very young children, like when a piglet and puppies are taken away from their mothers or when Babe walks around in the dark slaughterhouse. Two dogs fight, and one bites a man's hand. A dog also tries to bite Babe.
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Several insults are hurled, like "butt-head," "block-head," "shut up," "moron," and "stupid."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Babe is a live-action farm tale that's widely considered one of the best family films ever made. The story of this spunky little big -- who seems to have no future but to eat and be eaten -- will inspire viewers of all ages. The harsh reality that farm animals are meant to feed humans may not sit well with some younger viewers (Christmas is equated to a bloodbath, because of all the animals slaughtered to end up on a dinner table), and some other parts of the movie could frighten kids. A scene in which wild dogs attack the sheep and kill one is particularly intense and disturbing. But at its core, this is a beautiful tale of perseverance, friendship, and making your dreams come true. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This movie is filled from beginning to end with marvelous images. There are the animals who can talk (to each other, not to humans) in subtle mouth movements and well-cast voices; the never-never land of Hoggett's farm, a realistic setting with just a touch of magic; and endless surprising details, like the trio of singing mice who introduce scenes but are otherwise relinquished to small corners of the screen, the more to delight sharp-eyed viewers on the lookout for them.
But Babe is not merely a treat for the eyes. The story of this spunky little pig, who seems to have no future but to eat and be eaten, will inspire every viewer. It's a tale about making a place for yourself in the world. While Babe occasionally seems unnecessarily harsh in letting the real world seep into its fairy tale story, children seem to take it in stride; even young kids tend to be only briefly saddened by moments like a dog's puppies being given away. The biggest worry a parent can have about showing Babe to kids is that they'll insist on asking for a pet pig (or perhaps decide to become a vegetarian).
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.