updated 12/25/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/25/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

How plump, how pink, how pleasing. Babe the pig, star of Babe the movie, trotted onto screens this year, the unlikeliest star since Miss Piggy. And when Babe went to the multiplex, this little piggy also brought home the bacon. A fable of talking pigs, dogs and sheep made for a modest $25 million in Australia, Babe has grossed $53.7 million since its August release. Better still, as written and produced by George (Mad Max) Miller, it succeeds without the sex and violence that trouble federal moralists these days. Babe's, message: Dreams need not be limited, and everyone, even a sheep, responds better to kindness. In a recent 1995 movie sum-up for New York magazine, screenwriter William Goldman praised Babe as "the one time I felt a genuine imagination at work."

Alas for Babe-watch fans, there is no one Babe hamming it up onscreen. The moviemakers, no cheap-shoat artists, actually used 48 Large White Yorkshire pigs—the four-month-old ingenues outgrew the role after just three weeks on the set and were given to elementary or agricultural schools—as well as animatronic swine. "In some ways," says Karl Miller, Babe's animal trainer, "pigs are a quicker study than dogs...and they like to be scratched behind the ear or on their bellies."

The result calmed even the head of the GOP's task force on Hollywood. Says Rep. Sonny Bono: "The movie puts a smile on your face." He got you, Babe.

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