Sledgehammer features claymation, pixilation, and stop motion animation created by Aardman Animations and the Brothers Quay. The video ends with a large group of extras jerkily rotating around Gabriel, among them: Gabriel's daughters Anna and Melanie, the animators themselves, and director Stephen Johnson's girlfriend. Also included were six women who posed as the back-up singers of the song.
The video won nine MTV Video Music Awards. It was ranked at number four on MTV's 100 Greatest Music Videos Ever Made and is the most played music video on MTV. The video was also voted number seven on TMF's Ultimate 50 Videos You Must See. It ranked at number 2 on VH1's "Top 20 Videos of the 80's" as well as being named the #1 "Amazing Moment in Music" on the Australian TV show 20 to 1 in 2007.