The Big Snit

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The Big Snit
Big snit.jpg
Directed by Richard Condie
Written by Richard Condie
Michael Scott
Starring Jay Brazeau
Ida Osler
Randy Woods
Bill Guest
Music by Patrick Godfrey
Distributed by National Film Board of Canada
Release date
Running time
10 minutes
Country Canada

The Big Snit is a 1985 short-subject animated cartoon written and directed by Richard Condie and produced by the National Film Board of Canada.


A married couple plays a game of Scrabble that has stalemated as the husband is unable to come up with a word. The two go their separate ways; he watches his favorite TV show, "Sawing for Teens," while his wife works on cleaning the house. While the husband dozes off, "Sawing for Teens" is interrupted by the emergency warning: global nuclear war has begun, and the streets have descended into chaos. As he awakens, his cat severs the TV's electrical cord, and he returns to the game board, unaware of the global cataclysm, and sneaking a peek at his wife's letters. The wife, finished with her cleaning and also oblivious, catches him in the act, which he denies. The two begin arguing over every petty flaw each one has, to the point where the wife runs away in tears.

The husband spots an old photo of him and his wife at "Expo 57," prompting memories of the couple in happier times. Unable to console his wife, he begins playing the concertina (poorly), which softens his wife enough for both of them to reconcile. As the cat claws to be let outside, the husband obliges and reaches for the doorknob. At that moment, a white glow emanates from the keyhole and the husband is vaporized, implying that a nuclear bomb has detonated nearby and that everyone has been instantly killed.

The door then opens and, instead of chaos, a vision of Heaven is seen outside. The couple, unaware of their apparent death, marvels at the beauty of the scene and decides to return to their Scrabble game.[1]


The film received 17 awards including the Grand Prize at the Montreal World Film Festival, the Special Jury Award for Humour at the Zagreb World Festival of Animated Films, the Golden Space Needle for Best Short at the Seattle International Film Festival, Best Animated Film at the Tampere Film Festival, the Silver Plaque for Animation at the Chicago International Film Festival, the Hiroshima Prize at the Hiroshima International Animation Festival, the FIPRESCI International Film Critics' Prize at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival and a Genie Award for Best Animated Short.[2][3] It was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film at the 58th Academy Awards.[1] In 1994, it was voted #25 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field, and was the highest ranked cartoon in the list that was from the NFB. It was also included in the Animation Show of Shows.

Cultural references[edit]

The Big Snit inspired a Scrabble scene in the second episode of The Simpsons' first season, "Bart the Genius".[4]


  1. ^ a b Beard, William. North of everything: English-Canadian cinema since 1980. University of Alberta Press. p. 77. ISBN 0-88864-390-X.
  2. ^ "The Big Snit". Canadian Film Encyclopedia. Toronto International Film Festival. Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2011-02-16.
  3. ^ "The Big Snit". Collections page. National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 2011-02-16.
  4. ^ Groening, Matt (2001). The Simpsons The Complete First Season DVD commentary for the episode "Bart the Genius" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.

External links[edit]