Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



Animal Farm (1954)

 



Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions
Screenshots

Animal Farm (1954, US-UK)

In Halas and Batchelor's intelligent, British-American adult-oriented production - it was the first feature-length animated film (in general release) made in England; the animation was a visualization of George Orwell's "memorable fable" - a political and allegorical 1945 novella about farm animals (all voiced in the film by Maurice Denham), who suffered abuse and rebelled against their cruel and sadistic human owner - but their new, victorious revolutionary socialistic government led by a dictatorial, Stalinist leader became even more tyrannical; the semi-propagandistic, politically-oriented film was funded by the US' CIA to stir up anti-Communist fervor during the Cold War; in the process, the book's original pessimistic ending that equated the pigs with their human masters of old was modified with an altered ending:

  • at the previously-thriving Manor Farm in the English countryside in the springtime, a farmyard's abused animals (representing Bolshevik and liberal revolutionaries) were being neglected and unfed by their mean and sadistic owner Mr. Jones (representing Tsar Nicholas II of Russia); the dissolute and irresponsible farmer had become depressed and miserable after a failed lawsuit, and often turned to drink at the Red Lion pub in town, before returning to the farm
  • all of the disgruntled animals called for a secret meeting in the barn led by wise old prized boar-hog Old Major (representing Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin), to discuss the abusive, parasitical, and exploitative conditions at the farm that they were receiving from the farmer, his wife, and his lazy workers; the meeting was attended by the strong, old and hard-working Boxer (a horse), his young friend Benjamin (a donkey), two other pigs: Snowball and Napoleon amongst other pigs, and many other animals

Boxer and Benjamin

Old Major

(l to r): Napoleon and Snowball, Amongst the Other Pigs
  • the aging Old Major (before his own predicted death) encouraged the other animals to overthrow their tyrant owner to gain their freedom, to restore prosperity and equality, and have better living conditions; and although they would be taking control and acquiring Manor Farm's wealth, he exhorted them to refrain from adopting Jones' human vices, and to treat each other as equals
  • the animals all responded in solidarity with their own supportive cheers via a new revolutionary song ("Beasts of England") that they had been taught (composed of oinks, clucks, barks, crows, moos, baas, brays, quacks, and whinnies), as Old Major suffered a major heart attack, collapsed and died
  • the next morning after realizing that the inebriated Jones missed their feeding time, the infuriated animals determinedly broke into the locked-up supplies of grain and feed in the barn's storehouse; the noise alerted Jones who wielded a whip to stave off the animals, but then he was charged at, chased and driven away; he raced to the local pub to gather reinforcements from neighboring farmers with pitchforks and other implements to recapture his farm; the fighting was fierce, due to Snowball's organized offensive tactics and strategies, and the humans were ultimately forced to flee
  • the animals made a bonfire out of all the weaponized implements that Jones had used to restrain, control or kill them: a meat cleaver, reins, harnesses, shearing scissors, yokes, an axe, chains, stirrups with spurs, and whips
  • the devious, sly, and aspiring Napoleon, one of the head pigs, led the victorious animals into Jones' abandoned house to explore, and facetiously agreed that it was off-limits and not suitable for animals, although he was definitely interested in living there; he later returned and secretly adopted and raised a large motherless litter of white puppies
  • Snowball (representing Leon Trosky), the first leader of the new society (dubbed "ANIMAL FARM" - MANOR was crossed out), set up a new code of conduct (known as "Animalism") in which the animals would all be equal, free, and happy; five established Commandments or laws of the community were painted on the wall of the barn, including:
    • "No Animal Shall Sleep in a Bed"
    • "No Animal Shall Drink Alcohol"
    • "Four Legs Good Two Legs Bad"
    • "No Animal Shall Kill Another Animal"
    • "All Animals Are Equal"
  • all of the animals cooperatively took over the management and running of the farm; they all worked together and through the summer months, the farm lands became very productive and successful, especially due to the tireless efforts of workhorse Boxer and Benjamin
  • the elite leadership class of pigs, including Snowball, Napoleon and his aide Fat Pig Squealer, were pleased with the plentiful harvest, and held a meeting to discuss the future; a resolution was proposed by Snowball to have white doves spread their victorious revolutionary message ("of peace and plenty") to other farms, to encourage rising up against the oppression of the masters; contented animals disregarded the idea of an uprising, but downtrodden creatures who were being abused were eagerly interested and receptive
  • Snowball also attempted to educate the animals through learning how to read and being taught basic mathematics; with the approach of winter (with colder weather and food shortages), Snowball also suggested building a windmill as a way to generate and produce energy (electricity, heat, and light) to improve the animals' living conditions; however, Snowball's plan required that the animal's workload increase while their food intake decreased
  • the pigs Napoleon (with his second-in-command Fat Pig Squealer) secretly plotted against Snowball, with the backing of Napoleon's grown-up litter of powerful and obedient black guard dogs that served as his powerful security force; Napoleon criticized, heckled and voted down Snowball's plan as fanciful and nonsensical, and then ordered his trained, vicious and snarling dogs to attack and chase Snowball out into the snow and maul him to death
  • afterwards, Napoleon stepped up to be the new controlling, self-proclaimed leader of Animal Farm, with Fat Pig Squealer as his mouthpiece and second-in-command; he denounced Snowball as a traitor (by falsely claiming that he was planning to bring back Mr. Jones), and declared that there would be no more collective "useless meetings"; he ruled that with a committee composed of the privileged pigs (who were leading a life of leisure), he would serve as the sole animal to look after everyone and make all the decisions for the community

The New Pig Leadership Enforced with Napoleon's Guard Dogs

Fat Pig Squealer and Napoleon

Snowball's Co-Opted Plan for a Windmill
  • Napoleon co-opted Snowball's energy-producing idea of a windmill as his own; the pigs would supervise the exhausting work to be conducted by all the other lower animals from dawn to dusk; the pig leadership also declared that they should be fed more to increase their brainpower, while the work animals would receive fewer rations
  • one of the laws were altered to the pigs' benefit, and now had an addendum, after Napoleon (and other pigs) were discovered sleeping in the beds in the farmhouse by Boxer and Benjamin, a revised law appeared: "No Animal Shall Sleep in a Bed With Sheets"
  • in the town's pub, the sly Mr. Whymper, a local town trader, heard about the possibility of difficult food shortages at the farm, and decided to visit; he negotiated with the greedy Napoleon to sell jellies and jams, in exchange for the farm's milk and the hen-chickens' entire supply of eggs; the irate egg-layers who felt they were being unfairly robbed, decided to initiate an uprising; they rebelled by dropping their eggs from the rafters onto the pigs; the enraged "beloved leader" Napoleon summoned his pack of dogs to attack
  • a 'show trial' (a Stalinist purge) was held for the alleged, convicted traitors (the hens, plus a sheep and a duck), who were forced to confess to their crimes (and charged with being "in league with Jones and Snowball") before they were executed by his pack of dogs (off-screen)
  • another commandment was amended (with the blood of the dead): "No Animal Shall Kill Another Animal Without Cause"
"Show Trial" Followed by Execution of the Guilty by the Dogs
  • afterwards, the dictatorial Napoleon announced that the revolution was over and complete, and should be forgotten - and therefore the animals' revolutionary song was banned "under penalty of death"
  • as a result of Mr. Whymper's increased wealth due to his "brisk" business with the animals, other farmers in the neighborhood became envious of the trading; they marched on the farm to raid it and subjugate the animals once again; the uninvited, shunned and drunken Jones joined them and destroyed the windmill (and himself) with dynamite; during the chaotic attack, the humans were finally repelled by the pack of dogs, but many animals lay dead, and Boxer had been shot in the right leg; it was a sad day for the animals
  • over the next few years, the windmill was painstakingly rebuilt by the work animals led by the exhausted Boxer and Benjamin, as the gluttonous, autocratic Napoleon grew more and more obese in the farmhouse; a new generation of pigs, Napoleon's offspring, only knew how to play without any work ethic

The Lazy Obese Pigs

The Gluttonous, Presiding Leader Napoleon With Medals On His Chest
  • when the exhausted and elderly Boxer was seriously wounded by a heavy block of rock that fell onto him during the windmill's re-construction, Benjamin was seriously upset, but also knew that Boxer was due for "a well-earned rest and retirement"; however, Napoleon and Squealer privately sold Boxer to Mr. Whymper's glue factory; when Boxer was taken away in a strange truck (not a veterinarian's vehicle or ambulance), the suspicious Benjamin protested and raced after the "death wagon," but failed to stop Boxer's slaughter
  • Napoleon received a case of whiskey as payment for Boxer; after drinking the whiskey, another law had to be modified on the barn's wall: "No Animal Shall Drink Alcohol to Excess"
  • after Boxer disappeared forever, Fat Pig Squealer delivered a dishonest speech and fake eulogy to Boxer, asserting that he was at Boxer's bedside when he died naturally; he claimed that Boxer praised and glorified Napoleon's dictatorial leadership with his last words: ("Forward comrades, long live Napoleon"), although the animals all knew that the pigs had betrayed their revolution
  • as the film was concluding, more years went by and the windmill was completed, but the ascendant, thriving pigs still had unquestioned power over all the other animals whose lives had not improved; a barbed wire fence surrounded the farm's compound, and the entrance gate was guarded by dogs: (Narrator: "The animals' revolution was only dimly remembered. Outwardly Animal Farm appeared prosperous, but the animals themselves were no better off, with the exception of the pigs, and their supreme leader, Napoleon")

Guarded Farm Entrance with Barbed Wire Fence

Portraits of Glorified Leader Everywhere

Delegations of Pigs at the Farm to Celebrate "The New Era"
  • similar to their human counterparts before them, the pigs began to walk upright, dress in human clothing, drink whiskey, treat the lower animals as slaves, and spread their prosperous pig-run and pig-owned 'enterprises' (with the motto 'more work and less food') throughout the country; 'Animal Farm' became a showplace for delegations of pigs that arrived to celebrate "the new era" and emulate its success
Benjamin's Protest About the Only Commandment - The Animals Across the Land Marched To Animal Farm to Unite, Protest, and Resist
  • the animal leader Benjamin protested loudly that there was now only one law on the side of the barn, a modified Commandment: "All Animals Are Equal but Some Animals Are More Equal than Others"; Benjamin envisioned that the pigs had become like their original human oppressor, Mr. Jones
  • the indignant lower animals were again doing more work and eating less; they knew that they must unite and gather at Animal Farm from all directions, and must rise up and revolt against their false utopian world - as the narrator (Gordon Heath) summarized with the film's final narrated words: "To the animals, it now seemed that their world, which may or may not some day become a happy place to live in, was worse than ever for ordinary creatures, and another moment had come when they must do something about it..."
  • the animals vindictively marched on the Jones' farmhouse, broke through barriers, smashed Napoleon's portrait, and trampled Napoleon and his pig cohorts to death before reclaiming the farm and overthrowing the autocracy; Napoleon's drunken guard dogs couldn't be summoned to rescue him; the animals optimistically hoped that their counter-revolution would create a happier world once again
The Film's Altered Ending From the Book

Counter-Revolution: The Storming of the Farm House, Led by Benjamin

The Overthrow of the Pigs

Napoleon's Smashed Portrait as He Was Trampled

The Victorious Animals

Run-down Manor Farm

Drunken Mr. Jones


Old Major Addressing All the Other Animals at a Secret Meeting

Animals Singing A Revolution Song

Jones With a Whip, Fighting Off the Animals in the Feed Storeroom

Bonfire to Destroy Implements of Control

One of the Commandments Painted on the Side of the Barn

"ANIMAL FARM"

Increased Productivity of the Farm

Snowball's Plan to Produce Energy From a Windmill

Napoleon's Vicious Guard Dogs Chased and Killed Snowball


The Pigs Supervised the Hard Work of the Other Animals to Build a Windmill

Hard-Working Boxer and Benjamin

Napoleon (and the Other Pigs) Slept in the Farmhouse Beds - Napoleon Also Wore Clothes

Rewritten Commandment



Mr. Whymper

Attack on the Farm by Envious Neighbors

The Dynamited Windmill


Boxer's Serious Accident, Upsetting Benjamin

Boxer Taken Away to Glue-Factory in "Death Wagon"

Fat Pig Squealer's Fake Eulogy for Boxer



The Pigs' Praise of Their Supreme Leader Napoleon


Benjamin's Hallucination - The Pigs Had Become Like their Human Oppressor, Mr. Jones

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