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Western Animation / Good Will to Men

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Good Will to Men is a 1955 cartoon directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Basically The Remake of Peace on Earth, it was one of the last of the MGM One Shot Cartoons made before MGM closed down its animation studio in 1957.

The film is set in a snowy post-apocalyptic city at Christmas time. Mice are holding a worship service in the ruins of what was once a church. As they sing "Hark The Herald Angels Sing", one of the little mice in the chorus wonders about the lyric "good will to men", and asks what "men" are. The old mouse leading the service talks about how there were once creatures called "men", who all killed each other in apocalyptic wars.


  • After the End: Well, the end of Man anyway.
  • Animal Is the New Man: The surviving animals have taken over after humanity dies.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 3a (people go extinct from unnatural causes) to be precise. Humanity kills itself off in war.
  • Apocalypse Wow: They go through a lot of effort showing how humans killed each other off.
  • Artistic License – Nuclear Physics:
    • It would take a little bit more than just one atom bomb dropped on each side to cause a nuclear holocaust.
    • Animals are shown having outlived humans after a nuclear war, despite the fact that these animals would have no understanding or means of protection whatsoever from nuclear fallout or radiation poisoning. This can be excused as very little, if any, knowledge of nuclear fallout and radiation contamination was made known to the public at the time, which would have included this short's writers.
  • As the Good Book Says...: The title is derived from Luke 2:14 (in the King James translation) – "Glory to God in the highest; and on Earth, peace, good will toward men."
  • Carnivore Confusion: Wise Owl to curious mouse:
    "Thou shalt not kill! ...Looks like a mighty fine rule."
  • Christmas Special: A very melancholy post-apocalyptic one.
  • Cockroaches Will Rule the Earth: A city of mice, after all the humans are dead.
  • Humanity's Wake: All of humanity wiped out in war.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu: The given description of humans, which is reminiscent of a World War I-style soldier wearing a gas mask.
    "As I remember them, they were great big beasts with long snouts that went into their stomachs!"
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: So thinks the little mouse upon hearing how violent humanity was.
    "Gee, I'm sure glad there ain't no more men around!"
  • Mouse World: Mice in the bottom of a bombed-out church, who have made their own church, complete with tiny pews and tiny organ.
  • Nuke 'em: Ends with each of the enemy forces dropping a nuke on the other, wiping out the whole human race.
  • The Owl-Knowing One: Apparently he's the only animal that learned how to read somewhere.
  • "Pan Up to the Sky" Ending: Ends with a pan up to the sky above the ruined church, and a twinkling Christmas star.
  • The Remake: Close to a Shot-for-Shot Remake with similar scenes and some of the same dialogue. The main differences are that 1) this version changed the squirrels to mice, and 2) more importantly, this post-war cartoon threw in the nuclear bomb as the means of man's final destruction.
  • Scavenged Punk: The village the mice live in.
  • Scenery Gorn: The ruins of a destroyed city. Plus lots of other shots of humanity bombing and destroying its cities.
  • Sinister Schnoz: The Chorus Master mouse mistakes the filter hose of the human's gas masks for "long snoots that... fastened onto their stomachs".
  • Space Whale Aesop: If war is allowed to continue, humanity will end up driving themselves to extinction and then cutesy animals will become intelligent and reclaim the world as their own.
  • Sugar Apocalypse: Inverted. Amid the wreckage of a massive war that completely destroyed humanity, a bunch of talking animals build a new civilization which is an outright Sugar Bowl.
  • Title Drop: "Hark, The Herald Angels Sing" is reworked into a less overtly religious song, with the lyric "glory to the newborn king", being replace by "peace on earth, good will to men."
  • War Is Hell: And not only that, but the moral of the story seems to be that war is pointless and will eventually kill our species off.


Video Example(s):


Good Will to Men

An elderly mouse tells the story of how men destroyed themselves, and animals inherited the earth (and Christianity, strangely enough).

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / AnimalIsTheNewMan

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