Animal Farm (1999)

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TV movie
title Animal Farm
Original title Animal Farm
Country of production United States ,
United Kingdom
original language English
Publishing year 1999
length 91 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director John Stephenson
script Alan Janes ,
Martyn Burke
production Robert Halmi Sr. ,
Greg Smith
music Richard Harvey

Animal Farm is a 1999 TV movie and first aired on TNT TV. It is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by George Orwell from 1945 . The film tells the story of farm animals that have successfully rebelled against their human owners, only to slide into a more brutal tyranny. The film received mixed reviews when it aired, with criticism particularly at the end.


As a somber scene unfolds, animals struggle in the mud and Jessie, an old border collie (and the teller of the story), ponders the events that led to their current situation. The film goes back a few years.

The abusive and seldom sober farmer, Mr. Jones, is grappling with debts to neighboring farmer Pilkington. Old Major meets with all the animals in the barn. Major tells the animals that humanity is their enemy because they serve and care for humanity without reward. All animals then sing a hymn created by Major. The meeting is interrupted when Jones hears the singing (he only hears animal sounds). He stumbles in front of the barn and accidentally fires his shotgun, killing Old Major. Jones later uses Old Major corpses for meat. When Jones fails to feed the animals, Boxer, the Shire Horse , leads all the animals into the stable and the pigs revolt against Mr. Jones.

Under animal rule, the farm was renamed from Snowball to Animal Farm. Snowball paints the seven precepts of “animalism” on the barn doors.

  1. Anything that walks on two legs is an enemy.
  2. Anything that walks on four legs or has wings is a friend.
  3. No animal should wear clothes.
  4. No animal should sleep in a bed.
  5. No animal should drink alcohol.
  6. No animal should kill another animal.
  7. All animals are the same.

Napoleon, meanwhile, takes off Jessie's puppies, claiming it would be best for her to get an education from him. When Snowball is questioned by the other animals about the disappearance of the farm's milk and apples, he confesses that he and the other pigs have taken the milk and apples for themselves. Squealer then explains that the welfare of the pigs comes first because they are the brains of the farm. Jessie is the only one who isn't convinced.

After Pilkington learns that Jones has lost control of his farm, he and other local farmers launch an invasion of the Animal Farm. Snowball has already planned such an invasion and is leading the animals to victory, causing people to retreat. In his defeat, Pilkington thinks of working with the animals.

Snowball suggests the animals build a windmill to improve their supplies, but Napoleon rejects the plan. When the animals show support for Snowball, Napoleon brings Jessie's puppies, now his private army of trained dogs, to chase Snowball off the Animal Farm. Napoleon declares Snowball a "traitor and criminal" and Squealer claims that the windmill was originally Napoleon's plan. The animals do not know that Napoleon is evil and therefore is the real traitor, with Squealer secretly working as Napoleon's accomplice.

Napoleon explains that a "special committee of pigs" will now rule over all aspects of the farm and the animals, with Boxer's help, began to build the windmill. When Pilkington starts trading the pigs, Boxer recalls Old Major's words and mentions that animals are not allowed to trade. Napoleon explains that "Animal Farm" cannot exist in isolation. Napoleon places Old Major's skull in front of the barn to monitor the progress of the farm and to put a statue of himself nearby. Jessie confesses to the other animals that she witnessed the pigs living in the house and sleeping in the beds. Squealer declares that no bid has been broken. Because he has "changed" the commandment: "No animal should sleep in a bed with sheets ", and a bed without sheets is only a place to sleep.

Jones and his wife sabotage Animal Farm by blowing up the nearly complete windmill with dynamite. Napoleon accuses Snowball of sabotage. The pigs begin to consume more feed, so that the other animals have little to eat. Napoleon explains that snowball is causing the food shortage and that the chickens must give their eggs to the market. If the hens resist, the chickens will be accused of criminals and will no longer be given any food (and any animal that feeds a hen is punished by death). The pigs produce propaganda films with the help of Jones film equipment. While celebrating Napoleon as a leader, the films show the deaths of animals that broke Napoleon's rules. The command “No animal should kill another animal” is changed to “No animal should kill another animal without a reason ”. The "No animal should drink alcohol" command is changed to "No animal should drink alcohol in excess " after the pigs start buying whiskey at Pilkington.

After Boxer collapses from overwork, Squealer informs Jessie that Napoleon is going to send Boxer to the hospital. Benjamin notices that the boxer's upcoming delivery van is marked with the words “Horse Slaughterer”. Boxer is put to death before the other animals can intervene. Squealer's latest propaganda film assures the animals that the van came from the hospital but had previously been owned by a horse butcher. Pilkington and his wife eat with the pigs in the farmhouse, where Napoleon announces that the name of the farm will be changed back to Herren-Farm. Jessie looks through a warped glass window and sees the faces of Pilkington and Napoleon so distorted that she can no longer tell who is a person and who is a pig. Muriel and Benjamin state that the last commandment “All animals are the same” has been expanded with “ but some are the same ”. Later, Napoleon is seen by a crowd of animals wearing clothes and standing upright. He explains that the farm will devote itself to guns and build walls to protect itself and their way of life. He shouts that the revolution is over and that all animals are free now. All bids are replaced by one.

“All animals are the same,
but some are the same. "

The film returns to the present where Jessie returns to find the men's farm unsupervised and in ruins. Napoleon, Squealer, and all the other animals have died, but Jessie finds some dogs that have survived and realizes that they are her own pups. The pups recognize her as their mother. Jessie sees that Napoleon's statue has now collapsed and notes that she knew that Napoleon's wicked cruelty and greed would one day ruin him. A car arrives with a farmer, his wife and his children - the new owners of the men's farm. Jessie notes that this family is not making “the same mistakes” because of the neglect of Jones or the abuse of Napoleon, and is aware that the small remainder of animals will now have work on the farm with their new masters.


  • Pete Postlethwaite - Farmer Jones, the men's farm.
  • Caroline Gray - Miss Jones, Jones wife.
  • Alan Stanford - Farmer Pilkington, of Foxwood Farm.
  • Gail Fitzpatrick - Miss Pilkington, Pilkington's wife.
  • Gerard Walsh - Farmer Frederick, of Pinchfield Farm.

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Filming began on August 25, 1998 and ended on November 6. Due to the extensive CGI work and other post-production requirements, the film wasn't delivered to TNT and Hallmark Entertainment until June 1999.

Fourteen animals were built to represent the animals from Animal Farm in Jim Henson's Creature Shop in London: four pigs (Old Major, Snowball, Napoleon and Squealer), two horses (Boxer and Mollie), a Border Collie (Jessie), one Donkey (Benjamin), a raven (Moses), a goat (Muriel), a sheep, a rat, a chicken and a duck.

In previous scripts Martyn Burke wrote for this film, Jessie was a male character rather than a female character.


The film received mixed reviews. The rating of Rotten Tomatoes is currently 40%. He has been criticized for his loose adaptation of the book, its simplicity and lack of subtlety, and for being too dark and too political for children, while too familiar and too simple for adults.

The lexicon of international films describes Animal Farm as a "delightful real film [...] that combines fairytale elements, wonderful natural beauties and humorous twists and turns into an imaginative animal film with critical demands."

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Certificate of Approval for Animal Farm . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , February 2009 (PDF; test number: 83 855 V / DVD / UMD).
  2. ^ Animal Farm. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed February 9, 2019 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used