A Close Shave

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A Close Shave
Original USA VHS artwork cover.
Directed byNick Park
Written byBob Baker
Nick Park
Produced byCarla Shelley
Michael Rose
StarringPeter Sallis
Anne Reid
CinematographyDave Alex Riddett
Edited byHelen Garrard
Music byJulian Nott
Aardman Animations
Wallace and Gromit Ltd.
BBC Bristol
BBC Children's International
Distributed byBBC Worldwide
Release date
  • 24 December 1995 (1995-12-24)
Running time
30 minutes[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom
Budget£1.3 million[2]

A Close Shave is a 1995 British stop-motion animated comedy film directed by Nick Park and produced by Aardman Animations in association with Wallace and Gromit Ltd., BBC Bristol and BBC Children's International. It is the third film featuring the eccentric duo Wallace and Gromit, following A Grand Day Out (1989) and The Wrong Trousers (1993). In A Close Shave, Wallace and Gromit uncover a plot to rustle sheep by a sinister dog. This was the first Wallace and Gromit film featuring speaking characters other than Wallace.

Like The Wrong Trousers, it won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.[3] A Close Shave has the first appearance of the character Shaun, who would later be the protagonist of the Shaun the Sheep spin-off television series and two feature films: Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015) and A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (2019).


Inventor Wallace and his dog Gromit operate a window cleaning business. Wallace falls for wool shopkeeper Wendolene Ramsbottom, unaware that her sinister dog, Preston, rustles sheep to supply the shop. Discovering a lost sheep has wandered into and made a mess of his house, Wallace places the sheep into his Knit-o-Matic, a machine that bathes and shears sheep and knits their wool into sweaters. Preston appears and steals the machine's blueprints, as Wallace names his new pet Shaun.

Gromit becomes suspicious of Preston when he sees a lorry full of sheep behind Wendolene's shop. Preston captures Gromit, and frames him for the sheep rustling. Gromit is placed in prison, while Wallace's house is inundated with masses of freed sheep. Wallace and the sheep break Gromit out of prison, and hide out in the countryside. Wendolene and Preston arrive in a lorry to round up the flock. When Wendolene rebels against Preston, demanding he stop the rustling, he locks her in the lorry with the sheep and drives away, intent on turning them into dog food.

Wallace and Gromit give chase on their motorcycle. When Gromit's sidecar detaches, he activates its aeroplane mode and resumes the chase from the air. Wallace becomes trapped in the lorry, and he, Wendolene, and the sheep are transported to Preston's factory. Inside, Preston reveals that he has built a replica of the Knit-o-Matic. The captives are loaded into the machine's wash basin, but Shaun escapes. Shaun activates the factory's neon sign to reveal its location to Gromit, who breaks into the factory and attacks Preston. Shaun sucks Preston into the Knit-o-Matic, where his fur is removed. Wendolene reveals that Preston is actually a robot created by her deceased inventor father, but has malfunctioned from his original programming and turned evil.

When Preston becomes blinded after the Knit-o-Matic dresses him in a sweater made from his fake fur, he inadvertently hits the controls, and the group become poised to fall into a mincing machine. Shaun intervenes at the last moment by pushing Preston into the machine, jamming it and crushing him. Gromit is exonerated, and Wallace rebuilds Preston as a harmless remote-controlled dog. When Wendolene visits, Wallace invites her to have some cheese and crackers, but she declines due to a dairy allergy. As a disheartened Wallace decides to help himself, he finds Shaun eating the cheese, much to his chagrin.


On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a perfect score of 100%, based on 20 reviews.[4]


  1. ^ "A Close Shave". BBFC.
  2. ^ "Production History – A Close Shave". Telepathy. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  3. ^ "The 68th Academy Awards (1996) Nominees and Winners". The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 25 March 1996. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  4. ^ "A Close Shave". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 28 February 2015. Retrieved 18 September 2021.

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