Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Gordon Heath, Maurice Denham
Directors: John Halas, Joy Batchelor
Genres: Indie & Art House, Classics, Drama, Kids & Family, Television, Animation
Based on the classic novel by George Orwell, Animal Farm tells the story of a group of farm animals who successfully revolt against their cruel human owner, only to be enslaved anew by the unscrupulous pig Napoleon, whose ... more »
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Somewhat different from the book, but.......
Andre M. | Mt. Pleasant, SC United States | 11/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Okay folks, if you read Orwell's original, you might be disappointed in the differences in this film, but so what? What movie ever faithfully follows a book 100%?
With that said, enjoy the film for what it is. It's a really deep and thought-provoking film about how the exploited often becomes the exploiter. In this case, a group of animals overthrow and evil farmer and create a new society called "Animalism" which stresses cooperation among non-humans. The Pigs wind up as the rurlers of this Brave New World and a pig maned Napoleon slowly and subtly beomes their dicator. Even those who are unaware that the story is based on Stalinist Russia will be moved by what happens to Boxer the horse (this scene is pretty faithful to Orwell's original) and be repelled by the corruption of Napoleon the Pig (aka Joseph Stalin).
Made by a British company in 1955, this was probably the first adult-oriented cartoon feature. CERTAINLY not for the kiddies, as they may find it overtly grim and depressing. Nor is it a "date flick" or film you would invite your buddies over for beer and pizza (unless you want some intellectual discussion afterwards). It's a real thinking person's film and I would recommend it for high school and college history classes as a means of sparking discussion on how revolutionary movements often become reactionary.. It's amazing in modern times how this story closely mirrors what happens in a lot of so-called third-world countries today."
Even today, we still buy the farm
Charles Tatum | 09/18/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Based on the novel by George Orwell, this animated film is for adults and means just as much now as it did when released in the mid 1950's.Manor Farm is run by the often drunk Farmer Jones. The neglected farm animals revolt, thanks to the inspiring words of an old hog, who dies and becomes a sudden martyr. The remaining animals adopt some simple rules, and get along swimmingly.Eventually, the animal utopia begins to crumble. The remaining pigs, led by the tyrannical Napoleon, begin taking advantage of the others' hard work. They dispatch enemies as needed, but still have enough power to rally the troops to fight off a violent invasion by Jones and his drinking buddies. As the pigs begin trading with a shady businessman from the outside world, the animals finally come to their senses and do what they should have done long ago.Finally, an animated film for adults that actually challenges the viewer to think. No Disney-like cute factor, no songs by aging white British rockers, this is a fascinating film. Orwell's book was written as a lambast against communism, fascism, and dictatorships in general, yet many of the pigs' selfish actions could be applied to modern government today.As a country, we get upset at every mention of pork barrel (ironic) spending, yet we send our representatives back year after year because it is always some other state or district's politician who is causing the trouble. "Animal Farm" illustrates in simple, yet not dumbed down terms, the way power corrupts, especially by those whose motives seem so sincere to begin with. If anything, this film should empower you. This should not lead you to violent revolt against your congressperson, but it should force you to ask questions about where that income and sales tax goes. "Animal Farm" is important, entertaining, and thought provoking. I would match it up against anything Disney has released in the past fifty years. Yes, their audience goals are different, but as adults, it is nice to have something besides anime aimed at our heads. Great film.Unrated- Physical violence, gun violence, mild gore"
God Bless You Mr. Orwell!
Gandalf | U.S.A | 04/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"His legacy to us; Animal Farm, 1984, Down and Out in London and Paris, Keep the Aspidistra Flying; and so many other good stories is an incredible treasure trove. Here's hoping that those who watch this cartoon take a few hours, and read these books. Surprisingly easy reading too; George Orwell always felt that to say something clearly was most important. His ideas tend to stick with you. This movie version of Animal Farm is true to the book with the exception of the ending. The live action 1999 movie was not as good as this version and also suffers from a misleading ending. With the movie 1984 the book is better than either movie versions. After reading Down and Out, you'll never look at a restaurant the same way; and Aspidistra is about selling books - and living free; sort of like the modern drop out from society who still will work an undemanding job that leaves his soul free. Down and Out is similar in this sense. In fact all of these titles have living free as a central core theme. Even when the animal society fails the attempt was noble, and the revolution was inspired by freedom. Even when 1984's Winston sits arrested in a totalitarian world, he has never the less lived his life seeking freedom, and you get the idea others like him exist there in that world. This DVD is an incredible restoration with listenable sound. Enjoy! God bless you Mr. Orwell!"
A dark classic
Alejandra Vernon | Long Beach, California | 03/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Any child with a sensitivity to animals would find the violence in this 1955 groundbreaking British animated feature very disturbing; many of the farm animals suffer terrible cruelty at the hands of both Farmer Jones and the pigs that succeed him, so parents should use care and discernment since sometimes this film is represented as a "cartoon".
The script is based on George Orwell's "Animal Farm" and retains much of its brilliance, and is narrated by Gordon Heath, with character actor Maurice Denham speaking all the animal parts.
Orwell wrote "Animal Farm" with the Stalinist Soviet Union in mind, but the tale could apply to any totalitarian regime, many which start with the socialistic "one for all-all for one" idealism and propaganda. The animation is fairly simple compared to what one is used to today, but the images are powerful, and very moving. The plight of Boxer the horse and his devoted friend Benjamin the donkey is wrenching, and beautifully drawn.
The sound effects are also excellent, as well as the score by Matyas Siber, which has some songs that imitate the Soviet military style, with one of them cleverly vocalized by animal sounds.
This film is now in public domain, and there are some DVDs issued at a rock bottom price, which don't include the extras; I have one that has a fairly good transfer, with an adequate (considering the price) color reproduction of its Technicolor hues.
Directed by Jay Batchelder and John Halas, this one is a classic, but too dark and upsetting for young children. Total running time is 73 minutes.