Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Babe (1995)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Babe (1995, Australia/US)

In first-time director Chris Noonan's Best Picture-nominated storybook animal tale and family film, it was a charming, delightful and intelligent fairy tale, a comic allegory, based on a kid's book by British author Dick King-Smith. This Australian-made "sleeper" was a critical and financial success - a rare family film to earn an Academy Award Best Picture nomination (from a total of an amazing seven Oscar nominations), utilizing realistic, Oscar-winning computer effects (animatronics, puppets and CGI) to portray remarkable talking animals (Fly the sheepdog, Ferdinand the duck (who thought he was a rooster to spare being eaten), the elderly ewe Maa, the trio of singing mice, and of course, the runty, orphaned piglet Babe). Despite being aimed at mostly young audiences, this film consistently remained intelligent but sometimes quite dark for a children's film:

  • the tale was told in storybook fashion (with chapters introduced by a trio of singing mice) - about how young pink piglet Babe, raised by sheepdogs and daring to be different (and challenging his "proper place" in life), learned to herd sheep to avoid being killed for human food
  • the film's opening was a harrowing account (by off-screen narrator Roscoe Lee Browne) at a gigantic hog farm where pigs were being loaded up into a truck to be taken away to market: ("They lived their whole lives in a cruel and sunless world. In those days, pigs believed that the sooner they grew large and fat, the sooner they'd be taken into pig paradise...A place so wonderful that no pig had ever thought to come back...So when the day came for their parents to go to that other world of endless pleasures, it was not a time for young pigs to be sad. Just another step towards the day when they, too, would make the journey")
  • one runty little piglet who appeared alone and sad was randomly selected - to be used for a Lion's Club guessing contest at the local fair; Farmer Hoggett (James Cromwell) had the winning entry in the fair contest - accurately guessing the piglet's weight

Young Runt "Babe"

Fly - the Sheepdog

Elderly Ewe Maa
  • he brought it to his farm - where the farm animals spoke to the disconsolate pig; he was given the name of Babe (Christine Cavanaugh): ("Our mom called us all the same...She called us all Babe"); Fly the Sheepdog (Miriam Margolyes) tried to comfort Babe who piteously cried out: "I want my Mom!" -- "There, there, You've got to be a brave boy now. I left my mother when I was your age, and my pups will have to leave me soon. But I'll keep an eye on you, if you like, just 'til you find your feet. The little pig's a bit low. He's going to sleep with us just 'til he finds his feet"
  • in a hilarious sequence (titled "Crime & Punishment"), Ferdinand the Duck (voice of Danny Mann) convinced Babe to engage in a secret mission for him - to sneak into the farmhouse, avoid disturbing the nasty and favored cat Duchess (Russi Taylor), and abscond with a "mechanical rooster" - Mrs. Esme Hoggett's (Magda Szubanski) new alarm clock -- Ferdinand watched through the window as Babe began to botch the theft; the two ended up covered with paint in the destroyed living room, and the duck became a fugitive
  • after Fly was saddened when her puppies were offered for sale, Babe allowed himself to be adopted ("Fly, may I call you Mom?"); the narrator mentioned: "And so it was that the pig found his place in the world of the farm. And he was happy even in his dreams"
  • in the next segment, titled "Pork is a nice sweet meat," the animals commented upon Christmas festivities at the Hoggett's farmhouse as the relatives arrived, including Ferdinand sitting on the weathervane and quacking: "Christmas dinner, yeah. Dinner means death. Death means carnage! Christmas means carnage!"; Babe also sang: "La, la, la" to the tune of "Jingle Bells" - fortunately, Babe was spared from becoming Xmas dinner, although Ferdinand's duck friend Rosanna was served instead, prompting Ferdinand to fearfully escape from the farm ("I'm not going to be a goner, I'm gone")
  • the film's first indication that Babe was capable of something beyond his 'pig nature' was when he sensed that something was wrong on the farm - sheep rustlers were stealing Farmer Hoggett's sheep and loading them onto a truck; he ran back to the farm and alerted Rex (Fly and Hoggett) to the problem; in the next segment: "A Pig that thinks it's a Dog," shortly later, Babe demonstrated his ability to sort brown hens from white ones
  • Babe's attempts at sheep-herding improved via coaching from elderly ewe Maa (Miriam Flynn) who suggested that Babe treat the animals with politeness - and they behaved; later, in the sequences: "The Sheep Pig" and "A Tragic Day," Babe was further trained in sheep-herding, and one day helped protect Farmer Hoggett flock from a marauding attack by three feral dogs, resulting in the death of Maa
  • Farmer Hoggett first suspected Babe and aimed his double-barreled shotgun at the pig, but the Farmer abruptly changed his mind when he heard from his wife that other neighbors had also experienced problems with feral dogs ("That was the police on the telephone. Said there are wild dogs about. Apparently the Mitchells lost six lambs this morning")
  • the jealous and begrudging cat Duchess sought revenge on Babe by cruelly telling him he was scoffed by the other animals for wanting to be a sheep-herding pig, and that humans ate pigs: "I probably shouldn't say this, but I'm not sure if you realize how much the other animals are laughing at you for this sheepdog business...Well, they say that you've forgotten that you're a pig. Isn't that silly? They even say that you don't know what pigs are for....You know, why pigs are here...Well, the cow's here to be milked. The dogs are here to help the boss's husband with the sheep. And I'm here to be beautiful and affectionate to the boss...The fact is that pigs don't have a purpose. Just like ducks don't have a purpose...All right, for you own sake, I'll be blunt. Why do the bosses keep ducks? To eat them. So why do the bosses keep a pig? The fact is that animals that don't seem to have a purpose really do have a purpose. The bosses have to eat. It's probably the most noble purpose of all when you come to think about it...Pork, they call it. Or bacon. They only call them pigs when they're alive....The boss's husband's just playing a little game with you. Believe me, sooner or later, every pig gets eaten. That's the way the world works" - in fear, Babe ran away and was found the next morning in a cemetery by Fly's mate Rex (Hugo Weaving)
  • Farmer Hoggett brought Babe home and responded to Babe's demoralized state and refusal to eat after hearing that humans ate pigs - he fed Babe from a baby bottle, sang the song "If I Had Words", and danced a jig to enliven his spirits
  • knowing Babe's ability to herd sheep, Farmer Hoggett signed Babe up for trials in a sheepherding competition - the prestigious National Grand Challenge Sheepdog Championships; Babe was entered into the competition with the name "PIG"; while she was out of town, Mrs. Hoggett was watching the competition on TV - she nearly fainted, as did the animals at the farmhouse during the exciting and tense contest
  • at first, Babe knew he faced a struggle to control the unfamiliar sheep, and Hoggett was soundly ridiculed by the judges and committee members for using a pig to herd sheep; Babe was saved when sheepdog Rex ran back to the farm to get a secret password from an Old Ewe: "Baah Ram Ewe. Baah Ram Ewe. To your breed, your fleece, your clan be true! Sheep be true! Baah Ram Ewe" (in exchange for promising to treat them better); once the password was relayed to Babe by Rex, he was victorious in controlling the sheep to follow his commands, and received a perfect score of 100 from all five judges
  • in the rousing finale, amidst wild applause and cheers from the human audience in the grand-stands, the narrator described the tremendous accomplishment: ("And so it was, that in all the celebration, in all the hubbub of noise and excitement, there were two figures who stood silent and still, side by side...And though every single human in the stands or in the commentary boxes was at a complete loss for words, the man who in his life had uttered fewer words than any of them, knew exactly what to say") - the simple congratulatory words of kind-hearted, prideful owner Farmer Hoggett were: "That'll do, pig, that'll do"; Babe looked up and sighed
The Sheepdog Championships Contest
"That'll do, pig, that'll do"

Farmer Hoggett (James Cromwell)

Babe Selected at Fair Guessing Contest

Other Talking Farm Animals

Chapters Were Introduced by a Trio of Giggling, Singing Mice

Ferdinand the Duck Orchestrating Babe's Theft of Alarm Clock

Ferdinand: "Christmas Means Carnage"

Babe: "La, la, la"

Babe's Sheepherding

Duchess's Cruel Revenge

Farmer Hoggett's Care for Demoralized Babe


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