''The Night The Animals Talked'' is a [[UsefulNotes/TheDarkAgeOfAnimation 1970]] animated ChristmasSpecial, produced by Italian studio ''Gamma'' and directed by animation veteran ShamusCulhane.

The plot is an adaptation of the birth of UsefulNotes/{{Jesus}}, from the POV of the animals who were in the stable he was born in. The only twist, as the title gives away, is that the animals have somehow been given the gift of speech. However, the animals soon become at odds with each other, developing the worst flaws of humanity--vanity and racism, just as the donkey belonging to Mary comes along, asking for room to stay in.

This special is seldom aired on TV these days, and is very esoteric in contrast to the specials produced by other companies such as Rankin-Bass. It has also never seen an official VHS or DVD rerelease, although it is believed by several to have fallen into the PublicDomain. Regardless, It is an enjoyable, if brief, Christmas Special that certainly warrants watching, especially for Culhane's excellent direction.

Two versions of the film are posted on Youtube; one is a heavily abridged version in two parts, which can be seen [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Smu-KI0NpP4 here]], and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmkN283AivQ here.]] Another version, which is an unabridged cut of the film, can be found on multiple parts on the same site.


* Literature/TheBible: Specifically Luke 2:1--20.
* BittersweetEnding: The animals finally become at peace with each other and allow space for Mary to give birth to Jesus, but the animals lose their gift of speech before they can spread the news of his birth.
* ChristmasSpecial: One of the rare type that has nothing at all to do with SantaClaus or snow.
* EasternAnimation
* FantasticRacism: Against the pigs (who were arguably the least offensive animals in the special).
* HeelFaceTurn: [[spoiler:Every single animal (except the few that weren't heels to begin with) does this at the climax.]]
* AHouseDivided: The driving conflict of the story.
* MessyPig: Granted, the two pigs lived in a pigsty because they had no choice; if they tried to enter the stable, [[FantasticRacism the other animals drove them back out.]]
* NoNameGiven: The animals are never given names.
* OnlySaneMan: The dog, as well as the ox.
* PublicDomainAnimation: Is believed by some to be this.
* StarOfBethlehem: Its light is apparently what grants the animals the power of human speech.
* SuddenlyVoiced: In-universe example, for the animals.
* TalkingAnimal: It's in the title of the special, after all.
* TheUnseen: We don't get a glimpse of Jesus himself, and Mary and Joseph are only briefly seen from the sky. No other humans are even seen in the special.