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The 1995 film about talking animals and their adventures on an Australian farm, Babe was a huge hit - grossing $254 million at the box office worldwide. Adored by the public and critics alike, the comedy-drama won a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture, a Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Film and an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, as well as being nominated for a further six Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

The film was based on Dick King-Smith's book, The Sheep-Pig, published in 1983 - it was also called Babe: The Gallant Pig in the United States. It told the story of a small pig who wanted to be a sheep dog. The animal characters were played by a mixture of some real pigs and Border collies and other animatronic animals - lifelike robotic animals that are commonly used in films and the entertainment industry.

Director Chris Noonan and producer George Miller co-wrote the screenplay and the film took seven years to complete. It was filmed in a town called Robertson in New South Wales, with the visual effects for the talking animals provided by Jim Henson's Creature Shop - of 'The Muppets' fame - and Rhythm and Hues Studios.

The plot revolved around the young pig, Babe (voiced by Christine Cavanaugh), who fought convention with his ambition to become a 'sheep-pig'. He had come to the shocking realisation that the fate of most pigs was the dinner table and he didn't wish to end up the same way. The story begins after he is separated from his family as a piglet, finding himself on a strange farm, lonely and sad.

He is soon adopted by a friendly sheepdog called Fly and begins to adjust to his new home. He decides to try and become a useful member of the farm community by learning to herd sheep - in an effort to avoid the inevitable demise of most pigs!

The main human star, James Cromwell, played farmer Arthur Hoggett. Babe proves his worth by alerting Hoggett to sheep rustlers and the following day, the farmer sees the intelligent pig sorting out the hens, separating the brown ones from the white ones. Hoggett decides to take Babe to the field to see if he can herd the sheep.

Although a happy ending ensues, the family film has some dramatic and sad moments. It appeals to people of all ages - children are thrilled by the talking animals (especially the well-trained real dogs and pigs) and the amazing special effects, while adults perhaps have a greater understanding of underlying meaning of the story. In fact, many reviewers described how they had turned vegetarian since watching Babe!

The cleverly-written script and amazing special effects made it a surprise box office hit, which lead to the 1998 sequel, Babe: Pig in the City.

Babe star Cromwell, now aged 77, is an animal welfare campaigner in real life. He was in the news again this year, after he protested about alleged animal cruelty during an orca show at SeaWorld in San Diego, California, in July. He interrupted the show and spoke over the microphone about the different lives orcas lead in captivity, compared with in the wild.

For animal lovers everywhere, if you're looking for the very best animal matting products for farms, stables and other environments, check out Coruba’s range of horse, stable and animal matting. Rubber mats provide an extra layer of insulation and comfort for the animal, while also saving you money on bedding costs. Please contact us for more details on our range of rubber matting products for animals.

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