From TV, Cromwell went on to small roles in numerous 1970s and '80s films, including Murder by Death, The Cheap Detective, The Man with Two Brains, Revenge of the Nerds and Pink Cadillac. Ironically, he appeared in the 1992 film The Babe (the Babe Ruth biopic) but soared to fame three years later as Farmer Hoggett in Babe (the talking-pig family classic). Cromwell was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for that performance and repeated the role in the sequel Babe: Pig in the City.
Later roles include Star Trek: First Contact, Eraser, L.A. Confidential, The Green Mile, I, Robot and Angels in America.