Television: Whitewashing the Farm

A sunny ending mars a strong Orwellian update

More than 50 years ago, George Orwell wrote a simple beast fable about a revolution devolving from idealism ("All animals are equal") to oppression ("...but some animals are more equal than others"). It's a sign of Animal Farm's power that it has never been wholly palatable. During World War II, the manuscript--painting Stalin as the (literally) piggish dictator who co-opts a barnyard revolution against humans--spooked publishers because the Soviets were allies against the Nazis. By the time an animated film was made, in 1955, the tale wasn't anti-pinko enough, so a propagandistic anti-swine uprising was added. The cold war over, Orwell's...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!