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Animal Farm (1954)

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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 7,886 users  
Reviews: 58 user | 30 critic

A successful farmyard revolution by the resident animals vs. the farmer goes horribly wrong as the victors create a new tyranny among themselves.

Writers:

(based on memorable fable), (story), 5 more credits »
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Title: Animal Farm (1954)

Animal Farm (1954) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gordon Heath ...
Narration Spoken by (voice)
Maurice Denham ...
All Animals (voice)
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Storyline

Britain's second animated feature, which, despite the title and Disney-esque animal animation, is in fact a no-holds-barred adaptation of George Orwell's classic satire on Stalinism, with the animals taking over their farm by means of a revolutionary coup, but then discovering that although all animals are supposed to be equal, some are more equal than others... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

farmer | farm | revolt | manor | revolution | See more »

Taglines:

He's got the world in an UPROAR! See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 February 1956 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Djuren gör revolt  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(as colour) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To make the film, Halas-Batchelor's company was expanded to make it the largest animation unit in Western Europe. See more »

Goofs

As the film goes on the pigs alter the writing on the side of barn; the first being the addition of 'sleep in a bed with sheets'. Later on this and other additions are not present See more »

Quotes

[The laws of Animal Farm are being read]
Snowball: No animal shall drink alcohol. No animal shall sleep in a bed. Four legs good, two legs bad.
[The chickens are very annoyed at this rule]
Squealer: Wings count as legs.
[The chickens realize that Squealer is right]
Group of sheep: Four legs good, two legs bad. Four legs good, two legs bad.
Snowball: [continuing the reading of the laws] No animal shall kill another animal. All animals are equal.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Lost: Exposé (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A fine transfer of Orwell to the screen
13 February 1999 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

I don't understand why critics in recent years have never warmed to "Animal Farm". They believe it's "disappointingly flat" (Leslie Halliwell) or "an illustrated study aid" (Time Out). I remember when I first saw this film a quarter of a century ago. I found the betrayal of Boxer, the horse, horrifying. The description, "an intellectual film, not an emotional one" (Time Out), cannot be reconciled with my own recollections. Are British critics simply holding a British film of a British novel up to standards they would not apply to a non-British production? The film already contains evidence of a Disney influence, from adorable ducklings to a musical score with echoes of Prokofieff's "Peter and the Wolf", and an expiating ending that's not in the book. Any more of that sort of thing and critics would have accused the film of losing all of the book's bite.

George Orwell wrote a fable about revolution betrayed, and laced it liberally with references to the Russian Revolution. Much of this dimension is still visible in the film. A wise pig, Old Major, proclaims the revolution before dying. Old Major is sort of a Marx figure, although, to me, he seems to be drawn to look like Churchill. Proclamation made, nothing happens. However Farmer Jones is drunk and the animals don't get their feed. The Tsar's mismanagement produced his revolution as well. Russian parallels continue. Counter-revolutionary farmers (capitalist states) attack Animal Farm but fail. One pig, Snowball (Trotsky), tries to spread revolution to other farms (world revolution), but is murdered by his associate, Napoleon (Stalin), who prefers to consolidate his power at home. The film also has Five Year Plans, industrialization programmes, forcible collectivization, showtrials with quick executions afterwards, and historical revisionism.

But I saw this film perhaps three times long before I understood anything much about the political parallels. I liked it as much then if not more so. Knowledge of that side does tend to turn the film into an intellectual experience, but viewers who have no prior exposure to the historical facts receive the raw emotional jolt which more politically astute critics maintain the film lacks.

Regardless of whether you know a lot about Russia and her Revolution, or nothing at all, Britain's first animated feature is a film with a strong story which adults and mature kids should find absorbing, maybe even "devastating", as The New York Times once claimed back in the days when Stalin was still lying warm in his grave, if not in anyone's heart.

As for a rating on "Animal Farm", the sheep say, "Four stars good, two stars b-a-a-a-d!"


32 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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