Animal Farm (1954)

animal farm poster 1954 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Good looking

Adaptation is ruined by a change to the ending of the film

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Animal Farm

Studio:  Halas and Batchelor

Genre(s):  Animated/Drama

Release Date(s):  January 7, 1954

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


Are they pigs or men?

The animals of Manor Farm live under the control of the abusive and hard drinking Mr. Jones.  With guidance from the boar Old Major, the animals overthrow Mr. Jones and take control of Manor Farm.  A new order is enacted where all animals are created equal and the old rule of man is over!  The Seven Commandments of Animalism are a guild line for the animals, but sometimes one evil can replace another.

Directed by John Halas and Joy Batchelor, Animal Farm adapts George Orwell’s 1945 novel.  The movie was funded by the C.I.A. to help spread the rise of communism despite the film being made in London.  The film was initially released to mixed reviews but has gained some following over the years.


Yeah because this only applies to communist Russia…

Animal Farm was one of the novels I read in school that I did like.  It was a smart and relatively simple way to demonstrate the idea of an allegory by a showing the story of the Russian revolution and the rise of communism through animals.  Liking the book, I was anxious to see the movie…which did follow the book with an insanely big change.

Animal Farm progresses like the novel.  The animals (though there characters are not as developed as in the novel) overthrow the farmers, they make rules, the pigs develop as the ruling class under Napoleon, and the animals realize that they are trapped by the pigs who now resemble the men they overthrew.  It is simple, straight forward and is Orwell’s telling of the rise of the USSR.  In this version however, they decide to change the ending.


Wait…what the hell just happened?

With backing from the C.I.A., the movie switches from a subtle propaganda film to an overt propaganda film with the animals joining together to overthrow the pigs at the end.  It was a wish for the people of the USSR to overthrow its rulers…which obviously didn’t happen in 1954.  The choice to do this is a weird twist to a faithful adaptation.

I do like the animation style for the film.  It has that really classic art which utilizes pretty defined painted backgrounds with the cells painted over them.  It still looks clean and crisp today, but it definitely isn’t the art that is commonplace today.

Animal Farm is a decent adaptation if you turn it off five minutes before the end of the movie.  It does goes to show how movies can be ruined quickly.  The altered ending doesn’t necessarily ruin Animal Farm but it takes it in a different direction than intended in the novel.  I guess on the Silver Screen some animals are more equal than others.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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