Animal Farm

Network Premier: October 3, 1999
Animal Farm


A dramatic new telling of George Orwell’s classic 1945 novel premieres on Turner Network Television (TNT) on Sunday, October 3, at 8 p.m. (ET/PT). It will also air throughout the month. Check local listings. Filmed on location in Ireland, the production features state-of-the-art animatronic technology developed by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and a cast of hundreds of live animals. Pete Postlethwaite plays Jones, the abusive drunk of a farmer who sparks a takeover of his land and home by an army of neglected animals. The animals themselves ultimately organize against a ruthless, repressive system. Orwell wrote his visionary novel (always cited as one of the century’s seminal works of literature and politics) as an allegory describing the corruption of power in the Soviet Union.

Dove Review

Although we give this TV-movie three stars for its production values and the message that Communism fails, we highly recommend caution if you are considering allowing your little ones to watch it. Although this cautionary tale about corruption of leaders is well made, it is also very depressing. Kids seeing the upcoming commercials will want to view it due to the talking animals, but it is far from being a children’s production. It is a bleak account of oppression and it does little to correct the theory that leadership without God’s direction will, in time, fail. If you are already aware that the communist manifesto is impure because it denies the existence of God, you probably won’t get anything out of it either.

Content Description

Not rated at time of screening, the production has no objectionable language, but it does contain imagery that may be disturbing and therefore inappropriate for children under thirteen. There is one adulterous sexual situation that takes place under covers; there is much drinking among the humans who are considered the enemies of animals; argumentative unrest between wives and husbands; all of the humans are either stupid or barbarous; a pig is shot and falls out of a barn hayloft to his death; animals are slaughtered and hung; “there are no rewards after death, there is only the here and now” is part of the new philosophy of the animal leaders; the humans are attacked by the animals; animals are mistreated by other animals who consider themselves superior.


Company: Hallmark Home Entertainment
Writer: Alan Janes and Martyn Burke
Director: John Stephenson
Producer: Greg Smith
Genre: Television
Runtime: 120 min.
Industry Rating: Not Rated
Starring: Stars the voices of Kelsey Grammer as Snowball; Ian Holm as Squealer; Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Mollie; Julia Ormond as Jessie; Pete Postlethwaite as Benjamin; Paul Scofield as Boxer; Patrick Stewart as Napoleon, and Sir Peter Ustinov as Old Major.
Reviewer: Phil Boatwright