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Pinocchio is a American animated feature produced by Walt Disney and based on the story Pinocchio: Tale of a Puppet by Carlo Collodi. The second film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics, it was made after the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and was released to theaters by RKO Radio Pictures on February 7, 1940.

The plot of the film involves a wooden puppet named Pinocchio (voice of Dickie Jones) being brought to life by a blue fairy (Evelyn Venable), who tells him he can become a real boy if he proves himself "brave, truthful, and unselfish". Thus begin the puppet's adventures to become a real boy, which involve many encounters with a host of unsavory characters.

The film was adapted by Aurelius Battaglia, William Cottrell, Otto Englander, Erdman Penner, Joseph Sabo, Ted Sears, and Webb Smith from Collodi's book. The production was supervised by Ben Sharpsteen and Hamilton Luske, and the film's sequences were directed by Norman Ferguson, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, and Bill Roberts.


Jiminy Cricket walks into the workshop of the woodworker Geppetto to warm himself from the cold. Jiminy watches as Geppetto finishes work on a puppet he names Pinocchio. Before falling asleep, Geppetto makes a wish on a falling star that Pinocchio could be a real boy. During the night, the Blue Fairy visits the workshop to grant Geppetto's wish. She makes Pinocchio come alive, although still a puppet. The fairy tells Pinocchio that if he wants to become a real boy of flesh and blood he must prove himself to be brave, truthful and unselfish and able to tell right from wrong by listening to his conscience. Pinocchio doesn't understand what a conscience is, and Jiminy appears to explain it to him. The Blue Fairy asks if Jiminy would serve as Pinocchio's conscience, a task he accepts.

Geppetto discovers that his wish has come true, and is filled with joy. The next day, he sends Pinocchio on his first day of school. However, Pinocchio is led astray by the conniving Honest John and Gideon, who convince him to join Stromboli's puppet show instead. Pinocchio becomes Stromboli's star attraction, but when Pinocchio offers to come back in the morning, Stromboli abuses Pinocchio. With the help of the Blue Fairy and Jiminy, Pinocchio escapes.

Unfortunately, on his way back to Geppetto's house, Pinocchio is once again led astray by Honest John and Gideon, who convince him to go to Pleasure Island. On his way he befriends Lampwick, a misbehaved and destructive boy. Soon Pinocchio and the other boys begin to enjoy gambling, smoking, getting drunk and destroying Pleasure Island, much to Jiminy's dismay. Then Jiminy discovers the island has the power to turn boys who "make jackasses of themselves" into real donkeys, who are then sold to work in the salt mines and circuses as part of an evil racket run by The Coachman. Lampwick is soon transformed into a donkey, but Pinocchio manages to escape with a donkey's ears and tail.

Upon returning home, they find the workshop empty and soon learn (from a letter by the Blue Fairy) that Geppetto, while venturing out to sea to rescue Pinocchio from Pleasure Island, had been swallowed by a giant whale named Monstro. Determined to rescue his father, Pinocchio jumps into the bottom of the ocean, with Jiminy accompanying him. However, Pinocchio is soon found and eaten by Monstro, where he is reunited with Geppetto and his pets inside the whale. Pinocchio devises an escape plan by burning wood in order to make Monstro sneeze. The plan works, but the enraged whale gives chase. Eventually, Pinocchio succeeds in getting Geppetto to safety in a cave under a cliff before Monstro rams into it, but Pinocchio dies in the process. As Geppetto, Jiminy and the pets mourn the loss, the Blue Fairy decides that Pinocchio has proven himself unselfish and thus fulfills her promise to turn him into a real boy, much to the delight of Geppetto and Jiminy.


The plan for the original film was considerably different from what was released. Numerous characters and plot points, many of which came from the original novel, were used in early drafts. Producer Walt Disney was displeased with the work that was being done and called a halt to the project midway into production so that the concept could be rethought and the characters redesigned.

Originally, Pinocchio was to be depicted as a Charlie McCarthy-esque wise guy, equally as rambunctious and sarcastic as the puppet in the original novel. He looked exactly like a real wooden puppet with, among other things, a long pointed nose, a peaked cap, and bare wooden hands. But Walt found that no one could really sympathize with such a character and so the designers had to redesign the puppet as much as possible. Eventually, they revised the puppet to make him look more like a real boy, with, among other things, a button nose, a child's Tyrolean hat, and standard cartoon character 4-fingered (or 3 and a thumb) hands with Mickey Mouse-type gloves on them. The only parts of him that still looked more or less like a puppet were his arms and legs. In this film, he is still led astray by deceiving characters, but gradually learns bit by bit, and even exhibits his good heart when he is offered to go to Pleasure Island by saying he needs to go home two times, before Honest John and Gideon pick him up themselves and carry him away.

Additionally, it was at this stage that the character of the cricket was expanded. Jiminy Cricket became central to the story. Originally the cricket wasn't even in the film. Once added, he was depicted as an actual (that is, less anthropomorphized) cricket with toothed legs and waving antennae. But again Walt wanted someone more likable, so Ward Kimball conjured up "a little man with no ears. That was the only thing about him that was like an insect."

Mel Blanc (most famous for voicing many of the characters in Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons), was hired to perform the voice of Gideon the Cat, who was Foulfellow the Fox's sidekick. However, it was eventually decided for Gideon to be mute (just like Dopey, whose whimsical, Harpo Marx-style persona made him one of Snow White's most comic and popular characters). All of Blanc's recorded dialogue in this film was subsequently deleted, save for a solitary hiccup, which was heard three times in the film.

The influential abstract animator Oskar Fischinger contributed to the effects animation of the Blue Fairy's wand.


  • Pinocchio, voiced by Dickie Jones, is a happy wooden puppet made by Geppetto and turned into a living puppet by the Blue Fairy. He serves at the main protagonist of the film.
  • Jiminy Cricket, voiced by Cliff Edwards. Jiminy is a cheerful cricket who acts as Pinocchio's "conscience" and the partial narrator of the story.
  • Geppetto, voiced by Christian Rub, is a woodcarver who creates Pinocchio and wishes for him to become a real boy.
  • Figaro and Cleo are Geppetto's tuxedo cat and goldfish, respectively, who don't like each other very much until the end of the movie when Pinocchio becomes a real boy.
  • John Worthington Foulfellow, voiced by Walter Catlett, otherwise known as Honest John, is a sly anthropomorphic fox and known criminal who tricks Pinocchio twice in the film. He is the first (and possibly the primary) antagonist that Pinocchio encounters.
  • Gideon is Honest John's mute and crafty anthropomorphic feline accomplice. His voice was originally to be supplied by Mel Blanc of Looney Tunes fame, but they deleted his dialogue in favor of a mute performance (i.e. Harpo Marx) just like Dopey of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. However, Gideon's hiccups were provided by Blanc.
  • Stromboli, voiced by Charles Judels, is a large, sinister, bearded puppet maker who forces Pinocchio to perform onstage in order to make money. He speaks in an Italian Accent, though he is identified as being a gypsy.
  • The Blue Fairy, voiced by Evelyn Venable, is the beautiful fairy who brings Pinocchio to life and turns him into a real boy at the end.
  • The Coachman, voiced by Charles Judels, is a corrupt and sadistic coachman who owns and operates Pleasure Island. He also enjoys turning unruly boys into donkeys. He speaks in a Cockney accent.
  • Lampwick, voiced by Frankie Darro, is a naughty boy Pinocchio meets and befriends on his way to Pleasure Island. He turns into a donkey while the boys are shooting pool.
  • Monstro is the whale that swallows Geppetto, Figaro, and Cleo during their search for Pinocchio. Pinocchio is then swallowed when Monstro is eating and he and Geppetto reunite. Monstro is the final villain of the film.


Unlike Snow White, Pinocchio was not a financial success when originally released. Produced for a total negative cost of $2.289 million, Disney had recouped only $1.423 million of the film's cost by 1947. The film's release in Europe and Asia was delayed because of World War II and its immediate aftermath, which hindered its financial success initially.

The film received generally positive reviews. Archer Winsten, who had criticized Snow White, wrote: "The faults that were in Snow White no longer exist. In writing of Pinocchio, you are limited only by your own power of expressing enthusiasm." Jiminy Cricket's song, "When You Wish upon a Star," became a major hit and is still identified with the film, and later as a fanfare for The Walt Disney Company itself. Pinocchio also won the Academy Award for Best Song and the Academy Award for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture, making it the first Disney film to win not only either Oscar, but also both at the same time. In 1994, Pinocchio was added to the United States National Film Registry as being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." In 2001 Terry Gilliam selected it as one of the ten best animated films of all time and in 2005 named it one of the 100 best movies of the last 80 years. Many film historians consider this to be the film that most closely approaches technical perfection of all the Disney animated features.Subsequent re-releases would tally Pinocchio's lifetime gross to $84,254,167 at the box office.

In June 2008, the American Film Institute revealed its "Ten top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Pinocchio was acknowledged as the second best film in the animation genre, after Snow White.

Film critic Leonard Maltin stated that "with Pinocchio, Disney reached not only the height of his powers, but the apex of what many critics consider to be the realm of the animated cartoon."


With the re-release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1944 came the tradition of re-releasing Disney films every seven to ten years. Pinocchio has been theatrically re-released in 1945, 1954, 1962, 1971, 1978, 1984, and 1992. The 1992 re-issue was digitally restored by cleaning and removing scratches from the original negatives one frame at a time, eliminating soundtrack distortions, and revitalizing the color. The film also received four video releases, three DVD releases, and one Blu-ray release,the first video release being a hot-seller in 1985 (this print was re-mastered and re-issued in 1986).

A more comprehensive digital restoration that was done for the 1992 re-issue was released on VHS in 1993, followed by the final VHS release and first release on Disney DVD in 1999. This film did not make it into the Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection. The second Disney DVD release (the first in the Walt Disney Gold Classics Collection VHS/DVD line) premiered the following year in 2000. The third DVD release and first Blu-ray Disc release (the second Blu-Ray in the Walt Disney Platinum Editions series) were released on March 10, 2009 (March 11, 2009 in Australia). Like the 2008 Sleeping Beauty Blu-Ray release, the Pinocchio Blu-ray package featured a new restoration by Lowry Digital in a two-disc Blu-Ray set, with a bonus DVD version of the film also included.

Home media

  • July 16, 1985 (VHS, Betamax and Laserdisc, Classics edition)
  • October 14, 1986 (VHS and Betamax, remastered Classics edition)
  • March 26, 1993 (VHS and Laserdisc, restored Classics edition)
  • July 1993 (VHS made in Brazil - Abril Vídeo/Walt Disney Home Video)
  • April 16, 1995 (VHS, Spanish-dubbed Clásicos edition)
  • October 26, 1999 (60th Anniversary Edition, as well as a Limited Issue DVD)
  • March 7, 2000 (VHS and DVD, Gold Classic Edition)
  • March 10, 2009 (70th Anniversary Platinum Edition DVD and Blu-ray)

Awards and honors

American Film Institute recognition


The songs in Pinocchio were composed by Leigh Harline, Ned Washington and Frank Churchill. Paul J. Smith composed the incidental music score.

On Classic Disney: 60 Years of Musical Magic, this includes When You Wish upon a Star on the blue disc, Give a Little Whistle on the purple disc, and I've Got No Strings on the orange disc.And on Disney's Greatest Hits, this also includes When You Wish upon a Star on another blue disc, I've Got No Strings on the green disc, and Give a Little Whistle on the red disc.

Little Wooden Head and Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee are not included on Classic Disney: 60 Years of Musical Magic or Disney's Greatest Hits.

Songs written for film but not used

  • "I'm a Happy-Go-Lucky Fellow" - Jiminy Cricket (this song eventually showed up in Fun and Fancy Free)
  • "As I Was Saying To the Duchess" - J. Worthington Foulfellow (this line is spoken briefly by Foulfellow in the film, however)
  • "Three Cheers For Anything" - Lampwick; Pinocchio; Alexander; Other Boys
  • "Monstro the Whale" - Chorus
  • "Honest John" (this song appears as a bonus feature on the 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition Blu-Ray and DVD)
  • "Turn On the Old Music Box" - Jiminy Cricket

Media and merchandise

Theme parks

Cruise Ships

  • Pinocchio's Pizzeria is a quick service restaurant aboard both the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder that serves multiple types of pizzas.

Ice show

Disney on Ice starring Pinocchio, toured internationally from 1987 to 1992. A shorter version of the story is also presented in the current Disney on ice production "100 Years of Magic"

Video games

Aside from the Sega Mega Drive(Or Genesis), Game Boy, and Super Nintendo games based on the animated film, Geppetto and Pinocchio also appear as characters in the game Kingdom Hearts. The inside of Monstro is also featured as one of the worlds. Jiminy Cricket appears as well, acting as a recorder, keeping a journal of the game's progress in Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and, Kingdom Hearts II. A world based on the movie was slated to appear in Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, but was omitted due to time constraints, although talk-sprites of Pinocchio, Geppetto, Honest John and Gideon have been revealed.


  1. Moritz, William. Fischinger at Disney - or Oskar in the Mousetrap. Millimeter. 5. 2 (1977): 25-28, 65-67. Center for Visual Music
  2. A Disney Classic: "Pinocchio"
  3. Disney Archives | "Pinocchio" Movie History
  4. Movie Box Office Figures
  5. Maltin, Leonard (1973). Pinocchio. In Leonard Maltin (Ed.), The Disney Book, pp. 37. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc.
  6. DVD Empire
  7. Disneyland California’s Pinocchio’s Daring Journey Page
  8. Tokyo Disney’s Pinocchio’s Daring Journey Page
  9. Disneyland Paris’ Les Voyages de Pinocchio Page
  10. Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Page
  11. Kingdom Hearts Official Page

External links

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