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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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.
What's the story?
BABE, an endearing little pig who is raised by sheepdogs, befriends the animals on Hoggett's farm and ultimately becomes a herder himself, triumphing against some pretty steep odds. "This is a tale," a narrator says, "of an unprejudiced heart," perfectly setting the tone for what may be the best-loved family movie of the 1990s.
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).
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what life on a farm like the one in Babe might really be like. Which animals live on farms? Do you think they interact with each other the way the animals do here? What other movies have talking farm animals?
How would this movie be different if it were animated? Why do you think animation changes the way we experience a movie?
Have you read the book upon which this movie is based? How does it compare to the movie?
- In theaters: August 4, 1995
- On DVD or streaming: November 19, 1997
- Cast: Christine Cavanaugh, Hugo Weaving, James Cromwell
- Director: Chris Noonan
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Book Characters, Horses and Farm Animals
- Character Strengths: Perseverance
- Run time: 91 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.