On the Manor Farm, Old Major, gathers the animals for a meeting and inspires them to be strong and stand up for themselves against the humans. Although he dies, two pigs, Napoleon and Snowball, now continue his work, and lead the others in driving off the unfit, drunken farmer Mr. jones. The pigs of the farm begin to establish a new government where animals have rights.
The animals begin to read and write and have beliefs. They use the commandments to educate all the young. Food is plentiful, and the farm runs nicely. However, when Napoleon doesn't agree with Snowball, a struggle for power begins. Napoleon wins by having his dogs chase Snowball off the farm.
As supreme leader, Napoleon changes all the meetings of all animals with a committee of pigs who will run the farm. Eventually, Napoleon's supremacy has him paranoid that someone will try to overthrow him.
Napoleon begins to blame Snowball, the pig he chased away, for incidents happening on the farm. Using Snowball as a scapegoat, Napoleon begins to accuse other animals of trying to find Snowball, and attacking them with dogs.
The animals become convinced that they were better off with the farmer, Mr. Jones, than the evil betrayer Napoleon. Things get a lot worse on the farm. Animals are worked out and starved to the point of collapsing on the spot, and it is clear that the commandments have been rewritten.
Animals are no longer equal. The pigs are beginning to take on human qualities - like walking with two feet. As the animals look at pigs and humans, they realize they can no longer tell the two apart.