To say that these movies are ‘favourites’ is probably not exactly right. These are movies that made me think, or made me upset, or made me angry. They’re movies that changed the way I think about animals and how humans treat them.
Be prepared. Some of them are very confronting, but if we refuse to look at them, we’re turning a blind eye to what’s going on in the world, and nothing will change.
Then again, some of them are moving, but fun, and are suitable for kids.
Not for kids:
Animal experiments: a failing science – a YouTube series by Dr Andrew Knight, looking at the ‘necessity’ of animal use in medical research.
Animals Australia online media – a range of videos, photos and ads that will break your heart and get you motivated to take action.
Cow at my table, A – A little bit dated now (from 1998), but the message is still the same.
Cove, The – documentary on secret dolphin slaughter in Japan.
Culture Unplugged animal rights online videos – I’ve only discovered these recently, but there are a huge number of animal rights videos to watch, including:
- If slaughterhouses had glass walls – narrated by Paul McCartney, showing what goes on in factory farms and abattoirs
- Farm to fridge – narrated by James Cromwell (the farmer from Babe who became a vegan while making the movie). Similar to the Paul McCartney video.
Dolphin slaughter in Denmark – slideshow of images of the barbaric ‘right-of-passage’ dolphin slaughter in the Faroe Islands.
Earthlings – this full-length movie is available to stream free online, but brace yourself, it’s heart breaking and highlights the use of animals for food, science, entertainment, clothing, pets…and probably more.
Fast food nation – Another good one for people who aren’t vegan yet. Lots of familiar faces and a pretty good story line.
Food Inc. – Ellen Degeneres described this as “a Disney movie, compared to Earthlings”, and that pretty much describes it. If you’re still consuming animals, but can’t face Earthlings, this is a good place to start. But don’t get me wrong, it’s still very disturbing.
Forks over knives – This one is a great motivator for anyone thinking about going vegan for health reasons. Focuses on the diseases of excess: obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, etc. Also a great reminder that high-fat, processed vegan food is probably not the best option either!
Ghosts in our machine, The – A heartbreaking look at the way humans treat other animals.
Gorillas in the mist – The story of Dian Fossey’s efforts to protect the gorillas of Rwanda. Her work continues through the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. You can follow them on Facebook.
Maximum tolerated dose – Another heart breaker. Feature-length documentary highlighting the cruel treatment of animals in scientific experiment.
Meat the truth – Watch this one online. It challenged Al Gore to face up to the damage that animal agriculture has caused to the environment…and now he eats a plant-based diet.
Our Hen House TV show – Community/internet TV show version of the podcast. Aimed at a general audience, rather than a vegan audience, like the podcast.
Peaceable kingdom: The journey home – Hard to get hold of in Australia, because we can’t watch or download it online. Australians have to order a disk from the US, but it’s cheap and worth it.
Planeat – Watch this one online for around $5. It’s an eye opener that explains the benefits of a plant-based (vegan) diet for both health and the environment.
Speciesism the move – A great one to show people who aren’t already vegan.
Sustainability lie, The – the story of the effects of ‘sustainable’ palm oil production on indigenous communities of Indonesia.
Texas chainsaw massacre – yes, really. Watch it again from a vegan point of view! (The original)
Year of the dog – I love this one, probably because I started watching it without knowing it was going to have vegan messages. I’d almost recommend it for older kids, but only if they won’t get upset about the dog. (You’ve been warned.)
For cooking inspiration:
I wish there were more vegetarian cooking shows. Instead, they always seem to feature wagyu beef and pork belly recipes. 😦
Make it vegan – Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s series of cooking videos sponsored by Breville.
The Sweetest Vegan – More indulgence: cupcakes, pies, and a whole lot of other treats, for when the cravings hit.
Vegan Mashup – A web-based TV show. Famous chefs, including Terry Hope Romero and Miyoko Schinner. You pay a very small fee to watch or buy each episode or series. Well worth the small price.
VegNews TV – This channel has a whole range of vegan-themed videos and lots of them are really good recipes. They cover vegan events and lifestyle stories too.
For kids (and for fun):
Babe – of course! And who can resist James Cromwell?
Bambi – Anyone who saw this as a tiny kid was probably haunted by the scene when Bambi’s mum is shot by the hunters – so be careful who you show it to!
Charlotte’s web (the animated version from my childhood)
Charlotte’s web (the more recent Dakota Fanning version)
Fly away home – Not really for little kids, because it’s a bit sad. Amy’s mother dies and she helps some orphaned geese learn to fly south for the winter.
Free birds – Released for the United States 2013 Thanksgiving. I haven’t seen it yet, so I can’t vouch for it, but it sounds fantastic.
Miss Liberty (this one is in production, but sounds like it might be interesting)