19 - Babe
This is a heart-warming, quirky little tale of a piglet with a tender soul who yearns to be a champion sheep-herder. It takes place in some fairy tale world combined from every family farm of the English-speaking world – perhaps England, maybe Kansas, Canada, Australia or even Ireland. The story includes a duck that wants to be a rooster, a spiteful housecat, a spoiled granddaughter, singing mice, sheep rustlers, haughty ewes, a rotund grandmother and a close-knit family of sheepdogs that nurtures an orphaned little pig won in a raffle, taken home to be fattened up as the main course. Veteran actor James Cromwell is superb as the stern farmer willing to let the earnest little porker develop his desire to herd sheep. There are many memorable scenes, but every coach, boss and teacher should study the classic moment when little Babe, sick, near death, lacking any will to live, is rescued, then encouraged back to health by the taciturn Farmer Hoggett – who quietly sings a hoarse “If I had words that I could give to you” while dancing a silly jig, letting his little charge know that he is respected and, yes, loved. The best line? As the crowd cheers, as the herd dutifully marches in straight lines, Babe’s stern Boss nods and says approvingly, “That’ll do, pig.” Yes. That’s all the little guy ever wanted.
~ Rob Kerby