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These Are the Best Movies Set on a Farm, Ranked

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Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron in At Any Price

Movies set on farms can sometimes veer in several directions. When you think of farm movies, you might think of isolation and creepy corn mazes, or you might think of a lovable pig and a hard-working farmer. The point is that farms can trigger many emotions, given that they can contain more assumptions than some other settings. Although people love farms, and the idea of bacon, eggs, and toiling on the land, there are particular expectations for farm movies.

For example, the 2010 horror film Farm received negative critiques on IMDB for its slow pacing and farm setting providing “characters virtually nothing to do.” The movie follows two boys in a zombie apocalypse, and although the film includes some cinematic moments, it’s not enough to qualify as a good farm movie. In comparison, classic films like the The Grapes of Wrath have experienced critical acclaim for their depiction of agriculture and natural elements. John C. Flinn of Varietysays that John Ford’s film “creates tense dramatic scenes in outdoor settings” and communicates the plowing of the land, the droughts, the wind, and the struggling farm animals.

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Not that every movie situated on a farm has to be about struggle, but they do have to illustrate the sudden change in circumstances that comes with being on a farm. In Roger Ebert’s review of the 1984 film Country, he notes the inevitable and cyclical nature of farming and the presence of “good years and bad years.” Movies set on farms also speak about the human connection to the land and to animals. James Cromwell’s role in the 1997 film Babe led him back to vegetarianism because he couldn’t “speak about the movie with conviction” unless he took this stand. All that being said, films set on farms can and should carry powerful messages. Here are the best movies set on a farm, ranked.

This 1989 film written and directed by Phil Alden Robinson follows the story of a farmer, played by Kevin Costner, who constructs a baseball field on his farm that draws the spirits of famous baseball stars. According to 5 Chicago, the film was shot on a real cornfield owned by Don and Becky Lansing, whose family owned the farm for over a century. Field of Dreams draws on the quiet isolation of farming and the potential to hear things you might not hear in urban areas, like a god-like voice that tells you to build a baseball diamond. The setting makes room for this fantasy and was called “grand and brave” by Roger Ebert, a successful “movie about dreams.”

Chris Noonan directed the family classic Babe (which, oddly enough, was produced and co-written by George Miller, the man behind the Mad Max movies) and earned the film Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Director, and many others. The story was adapted from Dick King-Smith’s novel The Sheep-Pig, which follows the life of a pig that wishes to be and behaves like a sheepdog. While Babe is a family film and definitely depicts idyllic and pleasant aspects of farm life, it does not shy away from the reality and emotional difficulty of the world, in which these adorable animals are raised to be exploited and killed.

The 1984 film Country looks at the challenges of a farming family in 1980s America. The two leads are played by couple Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard. Film critics Frederic and Mary Ann Bussat of Spirituality and Practice report that the film recognizes the “outlook for small to mid-size farms as bleak” and communicates how the countryside has become “an area of fear and despair,” highlighting the changing in agricultural standards in America throughout the 1980s, as big corporations took over and smaller farms which represented “a care of all things” died out in the face of capitalism’s maximum production.

A 2006 film based on the 1952 book by E.B. White (and the ’70s family film), Charlotte’s Web tells the story of a pig, Wilbur, who is friends with a barn spider, Charlotte. When Charlotte discovers Wilbur might be slaughtered, she writes messages on her webs to attempt to change the humans’ minds.

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