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Babe: Pig in the City

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Babe: Pig in the City
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGeorge Miller
Written byGeorge Miller
Judy Morris
Mark Lamprell
Based onCharacters
by Dick King-Smith
Produced byDoug Mitchell
George Miller
Bill Miller
CinematographyAndrew Lesnie
Edited byJay Friedkin
Margaret Sixel
Music byNigel Westlake
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release dates
  • 25 November 1998 (1998-11-25) (United States)
  • 10 December 1998 (1998-12-10) (Australia)
Running time
96 minutes[1]
United States
Budget$90 million[2]
Box office$69.1 million

Babe: Pig in the City is a 1998 comedy-drama adventure film. It is the sequel/epilogue to the 1995 film Babe and the second and final installment of the Babe film series. it was co-written, produced and directed by George Miller, who co-wrote and produced the original film. Magda Szubanski and James Cromwell reprise their roles from the first film, with Mickey Rooney joining the cast.

The film was nominated for Best Original Song at the 1998 Academy Awards.[3] Though the film failed to achieve the financial success of its predecessor, grossing only $69.1 million on a $90 million budget,[4] it has received mostly positive reviews. The film has developed a cult following since its release.[5][6]


A few weeks after the events of the first film, Farmer Arthur Hoggett is injured in an accident while he and Babe attempt to fix the farm's well, leaving his wife Esme to tend the farm alone. Threatened with eviction at the end of the month unless their mortgage is paid, Esme takes Babe to a sheepdog herding contest in hopes of using its prize money to do so. At the airport in the city of Metropolis, an overzealous sniffer dog named Snoop shows Babe what it is like to be rewarded by falsely signaling that he and Esme are carrying drugs, causing them to miss their flight and forcing a few days wait for the next flight home.

At first unable to find a hotel that allows animals, Esme and Babe find accommodation at the Flealands Hotel, run by the sympathetic Miss Floom, who takes in stray animals. There, Babe is separated from Esme and meets a trio of chimpanzees – Bob, his pregnant wife Zootie and his younger brother Easy – and Thelonius, a civilized Bornean orangutan who is a servant for the landlady's elderly uncle, Fugly. Babe is made part of their clown act, which he is reluctant to appear in until the apes insinuate that he will be paid, believing it could be vital in saving the farm, but he soon inadvertently causes the act to end in disaster. Meanwhile, Esme, believing Babe has escaped, goes looking for him but is arrested after an incident involving police officers and other bystanders when a motorcycle gang attempted to mug her.

The next morning, Fugly is taken to the hospital in a food coma, accompanied by his niece. Left to fend for themselves, the hotel's animal occupants soon become hungry and the chimps decide to obtain some sustenance by stealing from a store, using Babe to distract a pair of guard dogs. Babe rescues one of the dogs when he falls into a canal, who pledges to act as a bodyguard for Babe. Having flown all the way to Metropolis, Babe's best friend, Ferdinand the Duck, arrives at the hotel and reunites with him after Zootie gives birth to twins. The celebration is interrupted when several unfriendly animal control officers are summoned there by the Flooms' animal-hating neighbor, Hortense.

Most of the animals are confiscated except for Babe, Ferdinand, the Flooms' Panamanian white-faced capuchin Tug and disabled Jack Russell Terrier Flealick. They infiltrate the animal control facility and rescue their wrongfully imprisoned friends. Released from custody, Esme returns to the hotel to find it in disarray and Miss Floom mourning her uncle and the animals' capture. After confronting Hortense for her actions, the duo track down the animals to a charity dinner and they reunite. Afterwards, Floom then sells the hotel and gives the proceeds to Esme so the latter, Babe and Ferdinand can save the farm, where Floom and all the animals go to stay. As Esme resumes her duties and Hoggett finally fixes the farm's water pump following his recovery, he proudly smiles at Babe and says "That'll do, Pig. That'll do."


  • Magda Szubanski as Esme Cordelia Hoggett, Hoggett's wife.
  • Mickey Rooney as Fugly Floom, Miss Floom's late uncle.
  • Mary Stein as Miss Floom, the Flealands Hotel's landlady and Fugly's niece.
  • James Cromwell as Farmer Arthur Hoggett, Esme's husband.
  • Julie Godfrey as Hortense, the Flooms' neighbor.
  • Janet Foye and Pamela Hawkins as Esme's friends.
  • Paul Livingston as a chef at the charity event
  • Kim Story as a judge[7]
  • John Upton as a boy at Metropolis' local hospital


Additional character voices were provided by Lisa Bailey, Balyne Barbosa, Victor Brandt, Jeannie Elias, Pippa Grandison, J. D. Hall, Mark Hammond, Barbara Harris, Wendy Kamenoff, Scott Leavenworthy, Julie Oppenheimer, Deborah Packer, Roger Rose, Carly Schroeder, Joseph Sicari, Aaron Spann, Drew Lexi Thomas, and Naomi Watts.[8]


Christine Cavanaugh, who played Babe in the first film, was approached to reprise her role, but declined when contract negotiations fell through.[9] Cavanaugh was eventually replaced by her Rugrats co-star E. G. Daily.[10] The director of the successful first movie, Chris Noonan, had no involvement in Babe: Pig in the City; directorial duties were handled by George Miller and Noonan was reportedly not even invited to the premiere Australian screening.[11]

Prior to the film's theatrical release, it was originally rated PG by the MPAA.[12] The TV spots for the film's theatrical release mentioned this rating, as did a promotional poster. By the time the film was released in theaters it had been re-rated as G due to the film being re-edited and submitted again for review.[12]

Babe: Pig in the City takes place in an imaginative, fantasy-like metropolis. The aesthetic is notably reminiscent of Oz.[13] The city has numerous styles of architecture from around the world. It also has a variety of waterways, noticeable by the hotel at which Babe stays. The downtown area appears to be situated on an island not dissimilar to Manhattan Island. The Downtown Skyline features numerous landmarks such as the World Trade Center, the Sears Tower, the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, the IDS Center, the MetLife Building, the Sydney Opera House, the Hollywood sign, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Fernsehturm Berlin, Big Ben, St. Basil's Cathedral of Moscow's Red Square, the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, the Christ the Redeemer statue, among others.[1]

The DVD covers feature a similar but different city of San Francisco.


Box office[edit]

Babe: Pig in the City opened on November 25, 1998, during Thanksgiving weekend, ranking in fifth place behind A Bug's Life, The Rugrats Movie, Enemy of the State and The Waterboy.[14] The film made $6.4 million during its opening weekend, combined with $8.5 million from its first five days of release.[15]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has 65% approval rating based on 66 reviews, with a weighted average of 6.24/10. The site's consensus simply states the film is "Not quite as good as the original and has some dark subject matter that might not be appropriate for children".[16] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade "B" on scale of A+ to F.[17] On Metacritic the film carries a score of 68, based on 25 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[18]

On release the film received poor reviews by most critics, receiving the lowest marks; most believed the sequel had lost the innocence of the original. Empire's Andrew Collins said, "Where Babe brought deep-rooted joy, the sequel brings fidgety depression" and awarded the film one star.[19] Janet Maslin of The New York Times said, "It will work as a sequel only hard-core Babe fans willing to follow this four-legged hero (or heroine, as Babe obviously is in some scenes) anywhere. Had Pig in the City been made first, it by no means could have prompted a sequel of its own."[20] American film critic Gene Siskel named it as his choice for the best movie of 1998.[21] Roger Ebert gave the film four out of four stars and said it was even better than the original: "Babe was a movie where everything led up to the big sheepherding contest. Babe: Pig in the City is not so plot-bound, although it has the required assortment of villains, chases and close calls. It is more of a wonderment, lolling in its enchanting images-- original, delightful, and funny." He concluded: "I liked Babe for all the usual reasons, but I like Babe: Pig in the City more, and not for any of the usual reasons, because here is a movie utterly bereft of usual reasons."[1] It made Ebert's list of the best films of the year.[22] Pat Graham of the Chicago Reader said it "may be the best commercial film of 1998."[23]

In the decades since Babe: Pig in the City's release, the movie has developed a cult following.[4] Tom Waits expressed appreciation for the film during a 2010 interview with Mojo Magazine.[24] Waits told The Guardian: "You know what one of my favourite movies of all time is? And if I'm at home with my kids and say, 'What do you want to see?', the big joke is, 'Aw Dad! Not Pig in the City!' But I love that movie. I'd see that any time."[25] Radio personality/podcaster Jesse Thorn has also praised the film.[26] Luke Buckmaster of The Guardian called it "brilliant" and "underrated."[27]


Peter Gabriel's "That'll Do", written and composed by Randy Newman, was nominated for Best Original Song at the 71st Academy Awards.[28]


The musical score for Babe: Pig in the City was composed by Nigel Westlake, who previously wrote the music for Babe. A soundtrack album was released on 24 November 1998 by Geffen Records featuring Westlake's score, music inspired to the movie...as well as sound clips taken from film. The soundtrack also includes source music such as "Chattanooga Choo Choo" by Glenn Miller and "That's Amore" by Dean Martin. Additional tracks include the Academy Award-nominated theme song "That'll Do" and a song sung by Elizabeth Daily, the voice of Babe.

1."That'll Do"Peter Gabriel Featuring Paddy Maloney* And The Black Dyke Band3:53
2."Babe: A Pig In The City"Melbourne Symphony Orchestra1:22
3."The Returning Hero"Melbourne Symphony Orchestra1:16
4."Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien"Edith Piaf2:19
5."Chattanooga Choo-Choo"Glenn Miller & His Orchestra* With Tex Beneke & The Modernaires With Unknown Artist3:14
6."Scram, This Is Not A Farm!"Melbourne Symphony Orchestra2:27
7."That's Amore"Dean Martin3:07
8."Three Blind Mice"Unknown Artist0:42
9."A Pig Gets Wise"Melbourne Symphony Orchestra1:17
10."Are You Lonesome Tonight"The Mavericks3:00
11."Protected By Angels"The Chieftains Featuring The Black Dyke Mills Band3:39
12."The Big City (Two Step Nadya)"The Terem Quartet*3:12
13."Babe's Lament"Melbourne Symphony Orchestra2:38
14."A Heart That's True"E.G. Daily4:00
15."The End"Melbourne Symphony Orchestra1:26
16."That'll Do (Instrumental)"James Watson And The Black Dyke Mills Band4:00

Home media[edit]

The film was released on VHS, DVD (in both widescreen and pan and scan formats), and laserdisc on 4 May 1999. On 22 May 2001, the film was released on DVD as a 2-pack with the original Babe. On September 23, 2003, it was re-released on DVD as part of "The Complete Adventure Two-Movie Pig Pack" in its separate widescreen and pan and scan formats. On November 12, 2004, it was re-released onto DVD as part of a Family Double Feature, which includes Babe with the widescreen and the pan and scan versions of the film. On May 7, 2013, it was released on Blu-ray for the 15th Anniversary Edition of the film's release and re-released on Blu-ray by Fabulous Films Limited in UK on June 17, 2017.[citation needed]

Video game[edit]

In 2006, a universally-panned video game based on the film was released on PlayStation 2.[29]


  1. ^ a b c Ebert, Roger (20 July 2001). "Babe: Pig In The City".
  2. ^ "Babe: Pig in the City (1998)". Box Office Mojo. 28 August 2002. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  3. ^ "It's Hollywood's night to let its stars shine". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 22 March 1999. p. 5. Archived from the original on 6 May 2023. Retrieved 6 May 2023 – via Newspapers.com. Open access icon
  4. ^ a b Tobias, Scott (19 March 2018). "The New Cult Canon: Babe: Pig In The City". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on 30 June 2021.
  5. ^ Earl, William (2 March 2023). "The Best Movie Sequels of All Time". Variety. Retrieved 31 May 2024.
  6. ^ "Babe: Pig in the City | Music Box Theatre". musicboxtheatre.com. Retrieved 31 May 2024.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 December 2005. Retrieved 24 June 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Naomi Watts". IMDb.
  9. ^ Hayward, Anthony (5 January 2015). "Christine Cavanaugh: Voice actor behind the eponymous pig in 'Babe' and the worrisome toddler Chuckie in 'Rugrats'". The Independent.
  10. ^ Lacher, Irene (20 July 2001). "A Former Phantom, a Future Noah". The Los Angeles Times.
  11. ^ "Babe: Pig in the City". www.ozmovies.com.au. Retrieved 16 January 2022.
  12. ^ a b Marks, Alexandra (20 July 2001). "Have 'G' movies lost their innocence?". The Christian Science Monitor.
  13. ^ Earp, Joseph (30 June 2021). "I Fear 'Babe: Pig In The City' As Much As I Love It". Junkee.
  14. ^ "Pig in hot water". Leader-Telegram. 1 December 1998. p. 7. Archived from the original on 12 October 2022. Retrieved 12 October 2022 – via Newspapers.com. Open access icon
  15. ^ Hinckley, David (30 November 1998). "Disney's lovable bugs bring home the bacon". Daily News Staff Writer. Daily News. p. 426. Archived from the original on 12 October 2022. Retrieved 12 October 2022 – via Newspapers.com. Open access icon
  16. ^ "Babe: Pig in the City". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  17. ^ "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on 20 December 2018. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  18. ^ "Babe: Pig in the City Reviews". Metacritic.
  19. ^ "Babe: Pig In The City". Empire.
  20. ^ Maslin, Janet (25 November 1998). "FILM REVIEW; Goodbye, Green Acres; Hello, Wild Side". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 5 May 2023.
  21. ^ "Obituary: Gene Siskel". The Independent. 22 October 2011. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
  22. ^ Ebert, Roger (31 December 1998). "The Best Films of 1998". Chicago-Sun Times.
  23. ^ Graham, Patrick (10 December 1998). "Babe: Pig in the City". Chicago Reader.
  24. ^ Zborowski, James (27 June 2010). "Between Sympathy and Detachment: Artists crossing mediums". Betweensympathyanddetachment.blogspot.com. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  25. ^ Brooks, Xan. "Tom Waits gives the devil his due". The Guardian.
  26. ^ Bullseye with Jesse Thorn (4 November 2013). "The Outshot: Babe: Pig in the City by Bullseye with Jesse Thorn on SoundCloud - Hear the world's sounds". Soundcloud.com. Archived from the original on 22 September 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  27. ^ Buckmaster, Luke (27 February 2016). "Babe: Pig in the city rewatched -- talking pig returns in grossly underrated sequel". The Guardian.
  28. ^ "Oscar dotes on 'Shakespeare in Love,' 'Saving Private Ryan'". Detroit Free Press. 22 March 1999. p. 2. Archived from the original on 21 September 2022. Retrieved 21 September 2022 – via Newspapers.com. Open access icon
  29. ^ "Babe PS2". Game Pressure. Retrieved 13 October 2019.

External links[edit]