Animation Adventures

The Timeless Lessons of Disney’s The Practical Pig

The Practical Pig – A Classic Disney Short Film

When it comes to classic Disney animated films, there are none more iconic than “The Practical Pig.” First released in 1939, this 8-minute short film features three little pigs and their adversary, the Big Bad Wolf. In this article, we will delve into the synopsis of this beloved classic that has captivated generations.The Practical Pig is part of the “Silly Symphony” series of Disney short films that began in 1929.

The series was created as a showcase for Disney’s musical animation techniques. The Practical Pig stands out as one of the most popular and beloved films in the series.


The Practical Pig is the third and final installment in the Three Little Pigs series. This time, the pigs live alone in their own homes but are still pursued by the Big Bad Wolf.

However, the pigs have learned from their previous run-ins with the wolf and have taken precautions to protect themselves. The first pig builds a house of straw but lines it with wolf traps.

When the wolf comes to blow it down, he falls into the traps and is caught. The second pig builds a house of sticks and lines it with glue.

When the wolf comes, he gets stuck in the glue and is captured. The third pig builds a strong brick house, but the wolf knows he cannot blow this one down.

He comes up with a plan to try and trick the pig by pretending to be a lost lamb. The pig recognizes the wolf and outsmarts him by cooking him in a pot.


The Practical Pig is not just a fun and entertaining animated film, it also has a few underlying themes. For one, the story teaches children the value of being prepared and cautious.

It also emphasizes the importance of putting in the effort to protect oneself from danger. Additionally, it shows the cleverness of the pigs and the wolf who use their wits to outsmart each other throughout the story.


In conclusion, The Practical Pig is a beloved Disney classic that has entertained generations with its catchy songs, vivid animation, and valuable life lessons. The imaginative plot and colorful characters make it relatable for both children and adults alike.

Despite being over 80 years old, the charm of this film has not faded away and will continue to captivate audiences for years to come. The plot of The Practical Pig is a quintessential story of a conflict between good and evil.

The three little pigs represent the forces of good, while the Big Bad Wolf symbolizes the forces of evil. Through their interactions, the film teaches important values such as resilience, creativity, and self-reliance.

At the beginning of the film, we see that the pigs have learned from their past experiences with the wolf. They have separated and each built their own homes out of different materials, determined to protect themselves from any threats that may come their way.

This shows their resilience and determination to overcome adversity. The first pig’s choice of material may seem inadequate, but his use of wolf traps demonstrates creativity and resourcefulness in overcoming limitations.

The second pig opts for a slightly stronger home made of sticks, but enhances it with the clever use of glue. This shows that even with limited resources, one can find creative ways to strengthen defenses against danger.

The third pig is the most self-reliant, having built a sturdy brick house that serves as the ultimate protector from harm. The Big Bad Wolf, on the other hand, represents evil but also cunning.

The wolf is powerful and clever, having almost succeeded in devouring the pigs in the past. He can also be thought of as a trickster who uses deception as a tool for achieving his aims.

This time around, he arrives at each of the pigs’ homes with the intention of blowing them down. However, the pigs’ ingenuity makes it impossible for the wolf to gain easy access to their homes, as they anticipated his every move and counteracted accordingly.

One of the standout moments in the plot is when the wolf tries to fool the third pig by disguising himself as a lost lamb. This scene is loaded with symbolism, as it highlights the fact that evil often uses deception and disguise to achieve its goals.

The third pig sees through the disguise and isn’t fooled, demonstrating the power of discernment. With his quick thinking, he promptly sets a pot of boiling water on the fireplace to which he tricks the Big Bad Wolf into falling into, literally cooking him in his own cunning.

Throughout the film, we see that good planning, resilience, creativity, and self-reliance are essential in overcoming obstacles. The film highlights the fact that when we are well-prepared and expect adversity, we can overcome it with ease.

The pigs were aware that the Big Bad Wolf was coming, ready with traps, glue, and a sturdy house to take him on and triumph over him. Finally, the characters’ use of humor also underpins the plot as a vital element for telling the story.

The songs and catchphrases that the pigs use give the film a light-hearted feel in spite of the message it carries. A great example is the little jingle that the pigs sing, “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf.” This catchy song is unforgettable and has become a pop culture reference that gets utilized even today, prompting audiences to smile and remember the message of the film.


Conclusion, The Practical Pig is a classic animated short film that succeeds in delivering its message in an entertaining and engaging way. Its powerful symbolism and relatable characters make it timeless, offering insights that are still valuable to viewers over eight decades later.

This film celebrates the triumph of good over evil through resilience, creativity, and self-reliance. Beyond the plot and characters, the production of The Practical Pig is an excellent example of the technical and artistic skills required in animation production.

Even for a short film, the production required considerable teamwork, prior visualization and design effort, and attention to detail in every aspect of implementation. The first stage of film production is pre-production, where the entire production plan is put together.

For The Practical Pig, the pre-production stage required that the team focused on storyboarding to capture every scene for the storyboard artist to be able to visualize what the animation would look like. An important aspect of the pre-production stage was character design.

As the story revolves around the three little pigs and the Big Bad Wolf, the creation of their unique, distinct, yet relatable appearances was critical. The animators made use of anthropomorphism, which gave the animals human qualities, enhancing their relatability.

The next stages of film production were layout and animation. Here, the blueprint from the pre-production stage came into reality.

Layout involves the placing of storyboarded scenes into a visual or animated form. The animators had to draw over every frame to create the necessary movement and fluidity.

The methods used in creating the animation are, by modern standards, traditional and labor-intensive. For instance, animator drafts each frame separately by hand, a total of 10 to 12 drawings for each second of a film.

These drawings are then photographed and digitally compiled into a full motion sequence.

Being a part of the “Silly Symphony” series, music makes up a significant component of The Practical Pig and had to be integrated into the animation process.

With music playing a pivotal role in creating a fun, happy, and entertaining atmosphere, the musical accompaniment was developed simultaneously with the storyboard phase. The music complements the story, and the scenes were choreographed to match the rhythms and orchestration of the different musical pieces arranged for the film.

Finally, the production process culminates with post-production. It is in this stage that sound effects, color patterns, and music are incorporated into the animation to bring the final cohesive product together.

The film was a Technicolor production, the use of multiple colors created a vivid and vibrant nearly seamless experience. In addition to the music, these creative choices contributed to the movie’s accessibility, portraying the story in a manner that appealed to both young and old audiences.

In conclusion, The Practical Pig’s production process is an excellent example of the many aspects of filmmaking that come into play when creating an animation. Between the careful scripting, character development, and technical organization, each element comes together in post-production to create an impressive work of art that has upheld its place in pop culture for decades.

The release of The Practical Pig is as important as its production and plot. It’s often said that ‘distribution is everything’ as it plays a pivotal role in determining the film’s success or failure.

The premiere of The Practical Pig took place on February 24, 1939, at the Mayfair Theatre in New York City. It’s estimated that a total of 483 theaters screened the film that year, with an additional 630 screenings in 1942, an indication of its appeal.

The audience reception of The Practical Pig was overwhelmingly positive, with critics and viewers alike highlighting its humor, catchy music, and impressive animation. Variety Magazine even went ahead and called it “the best screen takeoff on the Three Little Pigs,” while the New York Times praised it as “an animated classic.”

Apart from its success in the United States, The Practical Pig achieved commercial success when released worldwide as well.

It proved successful in England, where it received favorable reviews in Film Weekly, with one reviewer describing it as “a fine demonstration of success achieved through adequate production, good characterization, and an amusing storyline.” The film was eventually dubbed in several regional languages, thus widening its global appeal. Another aspect of The Practical Pig’s release was its execution of a comprehensive marketing strategy by the Disney Studio management.

The film was included in Disney’s 1946 “Disney Educational” campaign, a series of films produced by Disney to aid in educational programs for schools. The messaging of the campaign positioned The Practical Pig as a tool for educating good moral values to children, thus tapping into the educational system as its potential target audience.

The Practical Pig has also had a notable economic impact since its release, generating millions of dollars in revenue. The film has been repackaged numerous times over the years.

It’s been part of various Disney home releases as well as remastered into Blu-ray and digital formats. These ongoing profits demonstrate that The Practical Pig has stood the test of time, appealing to both old and young audiences.

In conclusion, The Practical Pig’s release was a significant event in the history of animation. Its commercial success reflects the creativity and artistry of the film’s technical teams.

The film’s popularity has proved incredibly enduring, consistently winning over new audiences generation after generation. Ultimately, it’s the universality of The Practical Pig’s message that has allowed it to endure so long – a testament to the timeless qualities of humor, art, and values.

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