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The Animals Film (1981)

Not Rated  |   |  Documentary, Drama  |  October 1981 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 101 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 6 critic

The film offers a comprehensive examination of the exploitation of animals in modern society.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Narrator (voice)
Richard Course ...
Himself
Robin Howard ...
Himself - RSPCA
Michael Huskisson ...
Himself
Ronnie Lee ...
Himself
Tom Regan ...
Himself
Richard Ryder ...
Himself
Tom Simon ...
Himself
David Wetton ...
Himself
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Storyline

Shockingly relevant to today, the film probes the use of animals as entertainment, as pets, for food, for scientific and military research. Stuffed with footage never before shown, the film is laced with deliciously ironic extracts of government films and newsreels. The makers had unprecedented access, to Roger Ulrich for example, a noted psychologist whose career was built on experimenting on primates until his life took an astonishing turn... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It's not about them, it's about us.

Genres:

Documentary | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

October 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Tierfilm  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Part of the film was funded by artist Willem de Kooning who donated one of his paintings which was then sold at auction. See more »

Soundtracks

Mind
(uncredited)
Written by David Byrne
Performed by Talking Heads
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User Reviews

Well Done but Ultimately Unconvincing Documentary
21 November 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Animals Film is one of the seminal documents of the animal rights movement. Along with Peter Singer's Animal Liberation, it helped bring the plight of animals under industrial agriculture and research to light. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it has both the strengths and the weaknesses of the animal rights movement.

The film's strongest point is its use of undercover footage at labs, slaughter houses, and other venues to uncover animal abuse. The footage and commentary obtained is graphic and genuinely disturbing. Although much of what is shown is easily available on the Internet today, for the time it was made it was a genuinely disturbing revelation.

However, the film also suffers from being overly radical, with some of its commentary pieces even inducing laughter. The film posits an extremist utilitarian argument that places animals on basically the same footing as humans in terms of happiness. One can oppose the mistreatment of animals and still eat meat. In probably the most laugh inducing scene, we see a pair of animal rights activists handing out pamphlets in New York. When one woman refers to her pets, the female animal rights activist tells her to "liberate her language." We can only presume they edited out the parts where passersby laughed at them.

The most disturbing bit, however, is the positive depiction of the Animal Liberation Front. The film follows a group of ALF "activists" as they prepare to do a raid on a lab. Given that the ALF has evolved into an at least borderline terrorist organization, it is hard to take the film's praise of them at all seriously, and it seriously undermines the film's overall message.


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