Good Will to Men is a 1955 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon short directed by William Hannah and Joseph Barbera, about a post-apocalyptic world populated only by animals. It is a CinemaScope remake of an earlier 1939 cartoon, Peace on Earth.
A group of young mice is in the ruins of a church, practicing singing for an upcoming service. After singing an adulterated version of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," the mice wonder about the last line, "Good will to men." One of them asks the chorus master, an old mouse, "What are men?"
The old mouse explains that they all killed each other off by building bigger and more destructive weapons, first guns, then missiles, then bombs. At the end of the fighting, clouds are seen, implying that nuclear weapons were used by each side.
The old mouse shows the boys some rules to live by that men seem to have forgotten. He is reading from a Bible.
Fred Quimby, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera remade the cartoon in CinemaScope in 1955. This post-World War II version of the film, entitled Good Will to Men, featured updated and even more destructive forms of warfare technology such as flamethrowers, bazookas, and nuclear weapons. This version used a choir of mice as the main characters including a Deacon mouse who tell the story to his charges (voiced by Daws Butler-uncredited), and also had more direct religious references (though the Bible is simply referred to as the book of humans' rules in both, Good Will to Men includes a reference to the New Testament, while Peace on Earth only includes verses from the Old Testament). This new version was also nominated for the Best Animated Short Subject Oscar.
This cartoon was made available on the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Academy Awards Animation Collection in 2008.
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