The CultWorthy Cinema Podcast’s review published on Letterboxd:
This disturbing and politically charged animated film paved the way for so called "mature animation" - as in 1954 when the film was released - animated motion pictures were mostly focused on kids and families. The source material , that being George Orwell's classic 1945 novel of the same name, had already caused a stir in the literary world what with its veiled study of the communism and the collapse of societies told through the lives of animals living in a small English Farm.
The story is told through the words of a narrator as he guides us through the lives of the stock animals on Manor Farm - a countryside establishment ran by the infamous Farmer Jones - the cruel keeper of the animals who is prone to drunken bouts of animal abuse. It is because of this the the old prize winning show pig named OLD MAJOR calls a meeting of the farm animals where he condemns the leadership of farmer Jones and decries that the animals must revolt against the tyranny - claiming 4 LEGS GOOD - TWO LEGS BAD - a message that all animals are "equal" and must stand together. After delivering this powerful message - Old major dies- leaving the animals to their own devices. Taking up against Farmer Jones - the animals succeed in overthrowing the farmer and his friends - with adjunct leadership falling on two pigs who both yearn to take charge of the farm -Napoleon and Snowball - both of whom have different ideas of how the farm should operate. As we continue through the this new evolution of the farm - we learn that even under this "utopia" idea that the Old Major put forth - the downfall of the farm - or society for that matter - always falls apart with the corrupting of those in power.
This film was the first feature length animated feature to ever be produced and released by the UK. It's budget was nearly entirely paid for by the government as a part of a "crack down" on communism. Although a financial failure upon its initial release - it later became a staple in schools and educational facilities even to this day. The animals voices were all provided by a single performer - that being Maurice Denham - famed British Genre Actor. One crazy fact is the the British Board of Film initially gave this film the equivalent of an X rating - not allowing anyone under the age of 18 to see it - however that has changed as now it has a Universal Rating - which is practically a G Rating in the states. A great piece of history and fascinating animated characters - this is definitely worth a look!