Australian Council on Children and the Media

Babe

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Short takes

Not recommended under 5, PG to 10 (Disturbing scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Babe
  • a review of Babe completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 10 January 2012.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended due to violence and disturbing scenes
Children aged 5-10 Parental guidance recommended due to disturbing scenes
Children over the age of 10 OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Babe
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length 92 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Babe (voice of Christine Cavanaugh), the runt of a litter, is taken from his mother and won by Farmer Hoggett (James Cromwell) at a local fair. Hogget takes Babe home to the barn, where he is adopted by Fly (voice of Miriam Margoyles) a caring sheepdog who raises Babe as her own. Babe befriends many of the animals in the barn including Ferdinand the duck (voice of Danny Mann) who is forever trying to save himself from the dinner table and consequently gets Babe into trouble on many occasions.

Babe is very keen to learn how to herd sheep and often goes out with Fly and Rex (voice of Hugo Weaving) to learn how to control the sheep.. He discovers that talking to the sheep has better results than biting at their heels. Babe makes such an impression on Farmer Hoggett that he decides to enter him into the local sheepdog trials, much to the dismay of his wife and all of the judges. Babe however, aided by Rex and Fly, is smarter than the average pig and manages to turn the scorn and laughter of the audience and judges into amazement.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

the breeding of farm animals to be killed for food; the reality of farm life; predatory animal behaviour

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Rustlers steal Hoggett’s sheep. Their dogs are very aggressive - barking and snapping at the sheep.
  • One of the dogs attacks Babe
  • Rex and Fly have a serious fight – Rex is quite vicious and bites Farmer Hoggett when he tries to separate them. He also attacks Babe.
  • Wild dogs attack the flock of sheep and kill old Maa, who is shown on her back with blood all over her.
  • Babe goes to attack the dogs.
  • Hoggett almost shoots Babe thinking he killed Maa – Babe is shown with a rope around his neck and Hoggett pointing a rifle at him.
  • The house cat attacks Babe, badly scratching his nose.
  • Fly threatens to ‘rip the sheep to shreds’.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Rex is a fierce dog who scares Babe
  • Rex has to be muzzled after he bites Hoggett
  • Sheep are shown drowned in a flood that nearly takes Rex’s life too
  • Babe thinks that he is going to be eaten so he runs away and is found crying and quivering
  • Babe refuses to eat and gets sick.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • A pig is prodded with a stick to make it move to ‘go to pig paradise’
  • Pigs are shown in a battery pen which is a ‘sunless and cruel world’
  • Babe cries for his mother
  • Fly’s puppies are all sold which makes Fly very sad
  • There is much talk of animals being slaughtered for the dinner table

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb younger children in this age group, including the following:

  • The scene of the dog attack where wild dogs are shown biting the sheep and trying to drag them by the legs is particularly disturbing.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • “for God’s sake”
  • some name calling such as “big butt heads” and “morons”

In a nutshell

Babe is a delightful family film which combines the use of real animals with computer generated animation with excellent results.

The main messages from this movie are that you can achieve your desires if you really persevere and overcome prejudices, and that looks can be deceptive.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • determination
  • courage
  • Loyalty
  • friendship
  • tolerance and acceptance of others.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children the fact that animals are bred for people to eat and for that reason some people prefer to be vegetarian.

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