Babe

 
Heartwarming farm story is touching and a bit scary.
  • Review Date: June 24, 2003
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1995
  • Running Time: 91 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

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.

Positive messages

Many wonderful messages. 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.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language

Several insults are hurled, like "butt-head," "block-head," "shut up," "moron," and "stupid."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Babe is a live-action farm tale widely considered one of the best family films of all time. However, unlike animated films, in which violence can be dismissed as make-believe, some of the violence on the farm may frighten younger viewers. One scene, in which wild dogs attack the sheep and kill one, is particularly intense and disturbing. The reality of why animals are bred is mentioned again and again (Christmas is equated to a blood bath, because of all the animals slaughtered to end up on a dinner table). But at its core, this is a tale of perseverance, friendship, and making your dreams come true.

What's the story?

"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. 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.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Babe is filled from beginning to end with marvelous images: 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).

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what life on a farm 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?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 4, 1995
DVD release date: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
Run time:91 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of Babe was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Educator and Parent of an infant and 4 year old Written bysagira April 9, 2008
age 0+
 

Wonderful movie perfect for young children

Babe is a story about a nice pig with manners that breaks down barriers of prejudice. He's a lovable, honest character, but strong as well. A good role model. Very entertaining as well. I must have watched it ten times of my own accord, and I'm an adult.
Parent of a 5 year old Written bycsumner April 13, 2009
age 5+
 

Great film but think carefully about what you'll serve kids to eat afterwards

This is a great film, very sweet and heartwarming, but the realities of farm life may be strong for young viewers. My 5yo was aware that some farm animals are raised to be eaten, but that indistinct awareness didn't quite prepare her for the frank discussions about eating animals that are present in the film or for the more serious concept that the farmer kills the animals in order to eat them. I had very fond memories of the 2nd half of the film (Babe at the sheepdog competition), but had forgotten how brutally honest the film is about where food comes from in the first half. I'm not saying that this is bad information (it's a fair take on farm life, albeit with talking animals), just that many parents may not be prepared to discuss these details with a 5yo (especially as many adults don't want to face those realities themselves).
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written byJemmy March 11, 2009
age 7+
 

Charming!

This was such an adorable movie! Babe is so cute, although I must say, the word butt heads was used, and there was a little highlight of violence. I give it a four star review.

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