Pinocchio (1940 movie)

1940 American animated film

Pinocchio is the second animated Disney movie, made by Walt Disney Productions and first released to movie theaters by RKO Radio Pictures on February 7, 1940. Based on the story Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, it was made in response to the huge success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Along with Fantasia, it was one of the first ever Disney animated movies released in the same year as each other.

Directed bySupervising Directors
Ben Sharpsteen
Hamilton Luske
Sequence Directors
Bill Roberts
Norman Ferguson
Jack Kinney
Wilfred Jackson
T. Hee
Screenplay byTed Sears
Otto Englander
Webb Smith
William Cottrell
Joseph Sabo
Erdman Penner
Aurelius Battaglia
Produced byWalt Disney
StarringCliff Edwards
Dickie Jones
Christian Rub
Mel Blanc
Walter Catlett
Charles Judels
Evelyn Venable
Frankie Darro
Music byLeigh Harline
Paul J. Smith
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release dates
  • February 7, 1940 (1940-02-07) (Center Theatre)
  • February 23, 1940 (1940-02-23)[1]
Running time
88 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$84.2 million[3]

The movie tells the story of Pinocchio, a wooden puppet made by a man named Geppetto and brought to life by the Blue fairy, after Geppetto wishes he could have a son. She tells him he can become a real boy if he proves himself "brave, truthful and unselfish." Pinocchio must try to be good so he can become a real boy, with the help of his friend, Jiminy Cricket. Thus begins the adventures of the puppet into a real boy, which involve many encounters with a series of unpleasant characters.

The movie 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.

It features the song, "When You Wish Upon A Star", which has immediately become the official anthem of the Walt Disney Company and has been used at the start of most Disney movies since 1985.

The story


A man called Geppetto makes a wood puppet called Pinocchio. He wishes that Pinocchio were a real boy, and the Blue Fairy makes Geppetto's wish come true. But to become a real boy instead of a live puppet, Pinocchio has to prove that he's good. The Blue Fairy assigns a cricket named Jiminy Cricket to guide him and keep him out of trouble. This is a hard job, and Pinocchio does a lot of things wrong.

On his first day of school, two crooks, a fox named Honest John and his mute sidekick named Gideon, trick Pinocchio to join Stromboli's puppet show instead. Pinocchio is popular in the show, but Stromboli is cruel to him and locks him in a bird cage. The Blue Fairy asks Pinocchio how this happened, but Pinocchio lies, and his nose grows longer. With the help of the Blue Fairy and Jiminy, Pinocchio escapes from the cage.

The crooks trick Pinocchio again, and tell him to go to Pleasure Island. He meets Lampwick, a bad boy who convinces him to gamble, smoke, drink, vandalize and other bad things. The island is magical, and the boys who act like "jackasses" (donkeys) turn into donkeys. These donkeys are sold to work in the circus and in the salt mines.

Lampwick becomes a donkey, but Pinocchio only changes part way, with donkey ears and a donkey tail. He escapes from Pleasure Island and returns to Geppetto's house. But Geppetto is not there. He has gone to sea, to search for Pinocchio on Pleasure Island.

Pinocchio and Jiminy go looking for Geppetto, but they are eaten by the huge whale Monstro. Monstro has also swallowed Geppetto while trying to look for Pinocchio on Pleasure Island. Pinocchio builds a fire to make Monstro sneeze, and this frees them all. But they are lost in the ocean and Geppetto is drowning. He tells Pinocchio to swim to shore and save himself, but Pinocchio grabs Geppetto and carries him to shore. Geppetto survives, but Pinocchio appears to be dead.

Geppetto and Jiminy are sad and return home with Pinocchio's body. The Blue Fairy decides that Pinocchio has proven that he is good enough, and brings him back to life... and also turns him into a real boy. Everyone is happy and they celebrate. The movie ends with Jiminy Cricket getting a badge of soild gold and a chorus sings a reprise of the song "When You Wish Upon A Star" as the word "The End" appears, and the movie ends as the song finishes.



The original plan for the movie was very different from what they made. Many characters and events from the original book were used in early versions. Producer Walt Disney was unhappy with this version and had them change a lot of the story and characters.

At first, Pinocchio was going to look like a real wooden puppet, with a long pointed nose, a pointed hat, and bare wood hands. He was going to act more grown-up and do bad things on purpose, instead of being tricked into doing bad things. But Walt Disney did not think that people would like this character, so they changed his appearance and the way he acted. They made him look more like a real boy, with a small nose, a child's hat, and regular hands with gloves. The only parts of him that still looked like a puppet were his arms and legs.

Jiminy Cricket (voiced by Cliff "Ukelele Ike" Edwards) became a more important character. He was not included in the first version of the story. When they added him, he looked more like a real cricket, but Walt wanted more people to like him, so Ward Kimball changed him into "a little man with no ears. That was the only thing about him that was like an insect."


  • Jiminy Cricket, voiced by Cliff Edwards, is a cricket who acts as Pinocchio's "conscience" and tells parts of the story. He is the main protagonist.
  • Pinocchio, voiced by Dickie Jones, is a wooden puppet made by Geppetto and turned into a living puppet by the Blue Fairy. He is the deurtagonist.
  • Geppetto, voiced by Christian Rub, is a toymaker who creates Pinocchio and wishes for him to become a real boy.
  • Figaro and Cleo are Geppetto's black and white housecat and goldfish.
  • J. Worthington "Honest John" Foulfellow, voiced by Walter Catlett, is a sly anthropomorphic fox who tricks Pinocchio twice in the movie. Foulfellow is the major antagonist.
  • Gideon is Honest John's dumb, mute, anthropomorphic cat sidekick. He was originally to be voiced by Mel Blanc, but they deleted his dialogue in favor of a mute performance. However, Gideon's hiccups were provided by Blanc. Gideon is the minor antagonist.
  • Stromboli, voiced by Charles Judels, is a large, sinister, bearded puppet maker who forces Pinocchio to perform onstage in order to make money. He is the primary antagonist. He speaks Italian with an Italian accent.
  • 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. A corrupt coachman who owns and operates Pleasure Island. He is the secondary antagonist. He speaks Cockney with a Cockney accent.
  • Lampwick, voiced by Frankie Darro, is a naughty boy Pinocchio meets on his way to Pleasure Island. He turns into a donkey while the boys are hanging out. He speaks Brooklyn with a Brooklyn accent.
  • Monstro is the whale that swallows Geppetto, Figaro, and Cleo during their search for Pinocchio. Monstro is the final antagonist.



With the re-release of Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs in 1944 came the tradition of re-releasing Disney movies 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 one scene at a time, getrting rid of blurry sound, and making the color lighter. The movie also received four video releases (and two DVD releases), being a big-seller in 1985 (this print was re-mastered and re-issued in 1986). Then the more complex digital restoration that was done for the 1992 re-issue was released on VHS, followed by the final VHS release (which was also the movie's first release on Disney DVD as well as the first in the Walt Disney Gold Classics Collection VHS/DVD line) in 1999. The second Disney DVD release (a 60th anniversary) 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), and like the 2008 Sleeping Beauty release, the Blu-ray package featured two discs, and a bonus DVD of the movie also included.[4]

Country Premiere
  United States February 23, 1940
  Canada February 25, 1940
  Brazil February 26, 1940
  Argentina March 13, 1940
  United Kingdom May 13, 1940
  Australia May 16, 1940
  Mexico July 19, 1940
  Ireland September 6, 1940
  Portugal October 7, 1940
  Sweden February 3, 1941
 -  Argentinian inChilean Spanish August 1, 1941
  Hungary December 21, 1941
  Chile February 12, 1942
   Switzerland May 13, 1942 (German speaking region)
  Egypt November 22, 1942
  Finland January 31, 1943
  Belgium June 13, 1946
  Norway September 5, 1946
  France October 2, 1946
  Hong Kong December 19, 1946
  Italy November 5, 1947
  Poland February 7, 1949
  Netherlands July 15, 1949
  Denmark May 25, 1950
  West Germany March 23, 1951
  Austria April 1, 1952
  Japan May 17, 1952
  Guyana May 14, 1954
  East Germany 1967
  Lebanon March 25, 1967
  El Salvador August 17, 1976
  Kuwait October 6, 1985

Home video release history

  • July 16, 1985 (VHS, Betamax and Laserdisc, Classics edition)
  • July 16, 1986 (VHS, Betamax and Laserdisc, Hendring UK)
  • October 14, 1986 (VHS and Betamax, remastered Classics edition)
  • November 3, 1986 (VHS, A.M.T. Video Gems/Screen Legends UK)
  • March 26, 1993 (VHS and Laserdisc, restored Classics edition)
  • 1995 (VHS, restored Disney Video UK)
  • 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, Walt Disney Golden Classic Collection)
  • March 10, 2009[4] (70th Anniversary Platinum Edition DVD and Blu-ray)
  • February 9, 2016 (Diamond Edition DVD and Blu-ray)



Pinocchio was not successful at the box office when first released, and Disney only earned $1.9 million against a $2.6 million budget. The movie made some success at the American box office, but was not able to profit, due to its poor performance in Europe.[5] The timing of the move's release was a reason, with World War II cutting off European markets. Although the United States had not yet gotten into the war, people's interests may have not have meant much among Americans in seeing fantasy stories as they were in the days of Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs. It also lacked the romance element that had proven popular in Snow White.

Nevertheless, there were positive reactions to the movie as well. Archer Winsten, who had criticized Snow White, said that "The faults (mistakes) that were in Snow White no longer exist. In writing of Pinocchio, you are limited only by your own power of expressing enthusiasm". Also, despite the poor timing of the release, the movie did do well both critically and at the box office in the United States. Jiminy Cricket's song, "When You Wish Upon a Star," became a major success and still is today, and is the fanfare for The Walt Disney Company. Pinocchio also won the Academy Award for Best Song and the Academy Award for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture. In 1994, Pinocchio was added to the United States National Film Registry as being very important in culture, history, or aesthetic. In 2001 Terry Gilliam picked it as one of the ten best animated movies of all time[6] and in 2005 named it one of the 100 best movies of the last 80 years. Many movie historians consider this to be the movie that is the closest to technical perfection of all the Disney animated features.[7] Pinocchio earned $84,254,167 at the box office.[8]

In June 2008, the American Film Institute revealed its "Ten top Ten"—the best ten movies in ten "classic" American movie genres. After polling over 1,500 people from the creative community, Pinocchio was acknowledged as the second best movie in the animation genre, after Snow White.[9] Pinocchio was re-released a lot of times after the war and ended up making a lot of money. After inflation, it’s the ninth highest grossing animated movie that anyone has made yet.

The songs in Pinocchio were composed by Leigh Harline, Ned Washington and Oliver Wallace, who had no screen credit as the film conductor while Paul J. Smith composed the incidental music score.

  • "When You Wish upon a Star" - Jiminy Cricket; Chorus; this song is heard in the opening credits
  • "Little Wooden Head" - Geppetto; this song is heard in the movie
  • "Give a Little Whistle" - Jiminy Cricket; Pinocchio; also heard in the movie
  • "Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee (An Actor's Life for Me)" - J. Worthington Foulfellow; again heard in the movie
  • "I've Got No Strings" - Pinocchio; once again heard in the movie
  • "Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee (reprise)" - J. Worthington Foulfellow; and again, heard in the movie
  • "When You Wish upon a Star (reprise)" - Jiminy Cricket; Chorus; this song is heard in the ending

There is a collection of CDs named Classic Disney: 60 Years of Musical Magic. It includes When You Wish upon a Star on the second disc (the blue one), Give a Little Whistle on the fourth disc (the purple one), and I've Got No Strings on the fifth disc (the orange one). Another collection of CDs named Disney's Greatest Hits includes When You Wish upon a Star on the Volume 1 disc (another blue one), I've Got No Strings on the Volume 2 disc (the green one), and Give a Little Whistle on the Volume 3 disc (the red one).

Songs written for movie but not used anywhere

  • "I'm a Happy-Go-Lucky Fellow" - Jiminy Cricket (this song eventually showed up in Fun and Fancy Free, and was sung by the same voice actor of Jiminy Cricket)
  • "As I Was Saying To the Duchess" - J. Worthington Foulfellow (this line is spoken briefly by Foulfellow in the movie, however, but this song is not even heard anywhere)
  • "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 DVD, although this song is not heard anywhere)

Theme park references


Ice show


Disney on ice starring Pinocchio, toured nationally & internationally from 1987 - 1992. A Shorter version of the story is also presented in the current Disney on ice production "100 Years of Magic"

Directing animators


Sequence directors



  1. "Pinocchio: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  2. Barrier 1999, p. 269-73.
  3. "Pinocchio". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 10, 2009.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Pinocchio: 70th Anniversary - Platinum Edition (DVD 1940) | DVD Empire".
  5. A Disney Classic: "Pinocchio"
  6. Gilliam, Terry (April 27, 2001). "Terry Gilliam Picks the Ten Best Animated movies of All Time". The Guardian.
  7. Disney Archives | "Pinocchio" Movie History
  8. Movie Box Office Figures
  9. "AFI's 10 Top 10". American Film Institute. 2008-06-17. Retrieved 2008-06-18.

Other websites