|Directed by||Roberto Benigni|
|Produced by||Gianluigi Braschi|
|Based on||The Adventures of Pinocchio|
by Carlo Collodi
|Music by||Nicola Piovani|
|Edited by||Simona Paggi|
|Distributed by||Medusa Distribuzione|
|Box office||$41.3 million|
Pinocchio is a 2002 Italian fantasy comedy-drama film written, directed and starring Roberto Benigni. It is based on the 1883 novel The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, with Benigni portraying Pinocchio. Filming took place in Italy and Kalkara, Malta. It was dedicated to costume and production designer Danilo Donati, who died on 1 December 2001.
The film was released in Italy on 11 October 2002 by Medusa Distribuzione, which was met with mixed reviews. It received an English-language dub in the United States in December 2002, released by Miramax; this version was critically panned. Pinocchio was selected as the Italian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 75th Academy Awards, but it was not nominated.
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A magical log falls off a wagon and rolls through an Italian town, causing considerable damage and some injuries. It comes to rest in front of the house of Geppetto, a poor wood carver who carves, from the log, a puppet named Pinocchio. To Geppetto's surprise, the puppet comes to life and becomes very mischievous. Pinocchio runs away from home and along the street, turning the town upside down. The old carpenter is blamed for the damage, who is taken to prison by the carabinieri, while Pinocchio runs away.
Back home, Pinocchio finds a talking cricket, who reproaches him for the treachery committed, warning him several times to behave well; but Pinocchio, considering him annoying, throws a hammer at him to shut him up. Tired and hungry, Pinocchio falls asleep with his feet on the brazier. Shortly afterwards, Geppetto returns home, and saves Pinocchio from the flames with a bucket of water. Understanding his mistakes, Pinocchio decides to be forgiven, and promises his father that he will go to school and study: due to his economic condition, Geppetto sells his only coat to provide schoolbooks for Pinocchio. However, the rambunctious puppet goes on several adventures, dreading school.
Pinocchio joins a puppet theater, and is almost eaten by the gigantic puppet master Mangiafuoco. Pinocchio lies to get out of the situation, and the puppet master gives him five gold coins. He then meets The Fox and the Cat, two crooks who trick him out of his money, telling him to plant the coins in the ground to grow a 'money tree' in the Meadow of Miracles, outside of Grabadimwit. The watchful Blue Fairy, who encourages Pinocchio to give up his obnoxious ways, saves him from a hanging by the disguised crooks, with the help of her servant Medoro. She gives Pinocchio medicine and when he refuses it, coffin-bearing rabbits dressed as Undertakers appear. Pinocchio immediately consumes the medicine, lying that he wanted to drink it in the first place, but that the Fairy would not let him.
When the Blue Fairy asks Pinocchio about the gold coins he had, Pinocchio lies to her and says he lost them, causing his nose to grow. Knowing of his constant fibbing, the Blue Fairy tells him that there are two types of lies: those with short legs, and those with long noses. Pinocchio promises the Fairy that from there on, he will try his best to be good.
Pinocchio encounters the Fox and the Cat again, who remind him of digging his coins in the Meadow of Miracles outside of Grabadimwit. While Pinocchio is away waiting for the tree to grow, the Fox and the Cat dig up the coins and run off. Pinocchio finds that the coins have been dug up, as the Talking Cricket is told about it. Pinocchio brings up the Fox and the Cat's crimes to a gorilla judge and his fellow judges, and is sentenced to five years in jail for crimes of foolishness. While in jail, Pinocchio meets Lucignolo (Leonardo in the English dub), another truant thief who is let out soon after Pinocchio is admitted in. Geppetto continues his search for Pinocchio. Four months later, as part of a celebration for the birth of a King's son, Pinocchio is set free with the other inmates when he convinces the warden that he is a crook. He stumbles across the grave of the Blue Fairy, who supposedly died of grief because of his antics. A dove tells Pinocchio that she has seen his father, heading out to sea to look for him. Pinocchio arrives at the shores where he finds Geppetto on his ship.
After nearly drowning in an attempt to save his father, Pinocchio washes up on the shore of a city where he helps a lady carry her pitchers. Upon arriving at her house, Pinocchio discovers that she is actually the Blue Fairy in disguise. She states that she faked her death in order to forgive Pinocchio. Once again starting anew, he is on his way to school when he gets into a fight with his peers. One of them tries to throw a book at him, but when he ducks, the book instead hits Eugenio, who is knocked unconscious. Thinking that he is dead, the others run away, leaving Pinocchio at the scene. The carabinieri arrive, where they have Eugenio taken to the hospital while Pinocchio is arrested. Upon nearing the Blue Fairy's house, Pinocchio escapes from the carabinieri. He ends up in a trap that is placed by a grape farmer to take the place of his late guard dog Melampo, in order to guard his crops. Pinocchio is later freed by Lucignolo, and returns to the Blue Fairy's house where he ends up having to admit that he did not go to school. The Blue Fairy forgives Pinocchio for what has happened. The next day, the people at the school arrive at the Blue Fairy's party where the schoolmaster presides over this. Pinocchio leaves to look for Lucignolo.
Pinocchio is told by Lucignolo where he is on a trip to 'Fun Forever Land', where all is play and no work or school, after Lucignolo explained to Pinocchio about it. Later that night, Pinocchio and Lucignolo board a stagecoach bound for Fun Forever Land. When at Fun Forever Land, Pinocchio has some fun while the Talking Cricket is trying to find Pinocchio. When the Talking Cricket does find him, he tries to warn every boy present that they will turn into donkeys if they do not leave Fun Forever Land. The next day, Pinocchio awakens to find that he has sprouted donkey ears, and goes to find Lucignolo. The Talking Cricket arrives and tells Pinocchio that boys turn into donkeys who are sold for hard labor. Pinocchio soon changes into a donkey, and is sold to a circus under its ringmaster. During his performance, Pinocchio injures himself and is thrown into the sea by the Ringmaster's clowns. When the Blue Fairy appears on the shore, upon Pinocchio emerging from the water in his normal form, he vows to make up for his misdeeds, as Blue Fairy starts to warn Pinocchio that a giant shark is pursuing him. Pinocchio starts to swim, but is swallowed by the shark. Upon being reunited with Geppetto, inside the shark, and with Pinocchio apologising to him, they work together to escape from its belly.
Pinocchio walks Geppetto to a farm owned by Farmer George, in order to help Geppetto recuperate. While working on the farm, Pinocchio finds Lucignolo's donkey form dying in a stable on the farm. As Pinocchio is mourning his death, the farmer asks Pinocchio how he knows the donkey. While weaving the baskets outside that night, Pinocchio is visited by the Blue Fairy, Medoro, and the Talking Cricket, who are just passing by. As a reward for his efforts to strive for moral prudence, the Blue Fairy finally reforms Pinocchio and he becomes a real boy. The film ends with Pinocchio going to school at last, while his shadow - in the shape of a puppet - chases a butterfly into the countryside.
|Character||Original Italian actor||English dubbing actor|
|Pinocchio||Roberto Benigni||Breckin Meyer|
|Blue Fairy||Nicoletta Braschi||Glenn Close|
|Medoro||Mino Bellei||Eric Idle|
|Geppetto||Carlo Giuffrè||David Suchet|
|Talking Cricket||Peppe Barra||John Cleese|
|Mangiafuoco||Franco Javarone||Kevin James|
|The Cat||Max Cavallari||Eddie Griffin|
|The Fox||Bruno Arena||Cheech Marin|
|Gorilla Judge||Corrado Pani||David Suchet|
|Lucignolo / Leonardo||Kim Rossi Stuart||Topher Grace|
|Coachman||Luis Molteni||Erik Bergmann|
|Ringmaster||Alessandro Bergonzoni||Regis Philbin|
|Farmer George||Andrea Nardi||Jim Belushi|
|Carabiniere #1||Alfredo Cavazzoni||David Coburn|
|Carabiniere #2||Vincenzo Bonanno||Rufus Collins|
|Carabiniere #3||Marco Tullio Cao||David Coburn|
|Carabiniere #4||Michele Mazzanti||Rufus Collins|
|Green Grocer||Claudio Bellante||N/A|
|Furcoat Man||Giuliano Ghiselli||Ray Iannicelli|
|Street Vendor||Fausto Marchini||N/A|
|Student||Valerio Ceccarelli||Matthew Labyorteaux|
|Pulcinella||Tommaso Bianco||Tom Amundson|
|Mrs. Rosaura||Silvia Floridi||N/A|
|Pantalone||Franco Mescolini||Bob Papenbrook|
|Harlequin||Stefano Onofri||Tony Abatemarco|
|Innkeeper of the Gambero Rosso||Giorgio Ariani||Harry Murphy|
|First Doctor||Donato Castellaneta||Steve Bulen|
|Second Doctor||Lamberto Consani||Nicholas Guest|
|Undertaker Rabbit||N/A||David Coburn|
|Judge #2||Giovanni Febraro||N/A|
|Jailer||Camillo Grassi||David Coburn|
|Fisherman||Luigi Delli||Stephen Mellor|
|Lady with Pitchers||Paola Braschi de Giovanni||Nicole Orth-Pallavicini|
|Eugenio||Riccardo Bizzarri||Stephen Apostolina|
|Gendarme #1||Totò Onnis||N/A|
|Gendarme #2||Danilo Nigrelli||N/A|
|Melampo's Owner||Sandro Dori||Peter Gerety|
|Boy #1||Giorgio Noè||N/A|
|Boy #2||Mario Orfei||N/A|
|Boy #3||Dodo Otrecolli||N/A|
|Boy #4||Francesco Guzzo||N/A|
|Boy #5||Max Galligani||N/A|
|Boy #6||Stefano Scandaletti||N/A|
|Man with the Mustache||Vincenzo Cerami||Peter Gerety|
|Man with Fur||Franco Casaglieri||N/A|
Differences from the novel
In making the film, Benigni tried to be as faithful as possible to Collodi's work, and in fact, there are few differences between them.
- Geppetto finds the piece of wood on the street, whereas in the book, it is given to him by Master Ciliegia (who does not appear in the film). Furthermore, in the film, it is specified that the piece of wood is pine. In the book, it is not specified which tree the log comes from.
- In the film, Mangiafuoco, angry with Pinocchio for spoiling his puppet show, shows his intention to eat him for lunch. In the book, he would like to use him as firewood to cook a mutton roast.
- In the book, the Fox pretends to be lame and the Cat pretends to be blind while. In the film, they do not have disabilities.
- In the book, Pinocchio had to defend himself from the killers who tried to open his mouth to take the gold coins; he bites off the hand of one of the two and then, spitting it on the ground, realizes that it is actually a cat's paw. In the film, this detail is omitted.
- In the film, Pinocchio met Lucignolo for the first time in prison when he was arrested by the Carabinieri of Acchiappacitrulli, accusing the Cat and the Fox for the theft of gold coins. In the book, he met him at school, when he moved to the Country of the Industrious Bees.
- The King of Acchiappacitrulli decides to free the prisoners from prisons to celebrate the birth of his son - not for a military victory, as in the book.
- When Pinocchio is arrested by the Carabinieri, who believe that he has hit Eugenio, he escapes from the Carabinieri (upon seeing the Blue Fairy) and then ends up in the field of the farmer who hires him as a guard dog (where in the book, he tries to steal the grapes, which he does not do in the movie). Pinocchio also escapes from the farmer, thanks to Lucignolo (who wants to steal chickens instead of martens). In the book, Pinocchio regains his freedom by completing the aforementioned task. Furthermore, in the film, the kidnapping by the master of Melampo replaces that by the Green Fisherman. In the book, the first occurs after his ordeal in Acchiappacitrulli, and before Pinocchio finds the alleged tomb of the Blue Fairy.
- In the film, after the misfortune with the farmer who forces him to watch over him, Pinocchio returns home still chained and full of shame and, when the Blue Fairy asks him how the day went, the puppet's nose grows long due to the lies he tells. However, in the book, after running away from the Green Fisherman (who had stripped and floured Pinocchio to fry him), Pinocchio obtains a dress from a bag for the lupins and, returning home, is left out in the cold all night because the snail - whom he asks to open it - takes nine hours to reach the door.
- When Pinocchio and Lucignolo realize that they are being turned into donkeys, in the Land of Toys, the Talking Cricket speaks to Pinocchio of his ignorance; while in the book, the puppet is warned by his roommate the dormouse. In addition, the Talking Cricket also replaces the Parrot, who warns Pinocchio of the theft of the coins by the Cat and the Fox.
- When Pinocchio is transformed into a donkey, he is led to a circus and injures himself by jumping a circle of fire, and the circus director, when he realizes that the donkey has broken his leg, sends his clowns to drown him in the sea. But in the book, the circus director decides to sell Pinocchio to a drum seller, who himself drowns the puppet - not the clowns.
- When Pinocchio returns to being a puppet, the Fairy - aware of the giant shark that was chasing him - maintains her human aspect in the film, instead of becoming a goat as in the book.
- When Pinocchio meets Geppetto in the shark's mouth, the puppet brings his father to safety by irritating him by taking his wig. In the book, they flee on the back of a tuna, already met by Pinocchio as soon as he is swallowed (who does not appear in the film) while the shark sleeps. Whereas in the film, when Pinocchio meets Geppetto he pretends to be a tuna but after a while, he reveals his true identity to the father because Geppetto is initially angry with him. (A similar scene also happened in the 1947 film adaptation of the same book).
In the United States and Canada, Miramax released the film on Christmas Day with no advance screening. Miramax said that this is because they needed to do post-production looping to insert the English dub for its English-speaking release. Edward Guthmann, a film reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle, thought that this was because Miramax knew the film would not be well-received, and sought to have it released before critics placed their opinions on the film. The English version includes some differences, such as changed dialogues, some shortened scenes and narration by David Suchet added. After the English dubbed version was poorly received, Miramax reissued the film in Italian with English subtitles on February 7, 2003.
In Italy and Europe, Pinocchio grossed over $7 million within the first three days of its release. It went on to gross $3.67 million in the United States, and $37.7 million in other territories (of which €26 million was in Italy), for a worldwide total of $41.3 million, against a production budget of $40 million.
Pinocchio received mixed reviews. Some praised the sets, costumes, photography and soundtrack, but criticised the characters and humor. David Rooney of Variety wrote: 'In Roberto Benigni's take on Carlo Collodi's classic fairy tale, Pinocchio, the spirit of the late Federico Fellini - with whom Benigni talked of doing the project together - surfaces repeatedly. But that spirit fails to enliven a film substantially lacking in personality, energy, magic and humor ... The union between the Tuscan fairy tale and the region’s most talented contemporary offspring would seem like the perfect marriage. In fact, it comes off as artificially exuberant and a little precious.'
Pinocchio went on to receive six nominations at the David di Donatello Awards, winning two in the process: Best Sets and Decorations and Best Costumes, both to Danilo Donati. It was also nominated for at the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists.
The English-dubbed recut version by Miramax was met with critical panning in the United States. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the English-language version of the film, with 55 reviews, has a rare approval rating of 0% – meaning no favorable reviews whatsoever – receiving an average rating of 2.70/10. The site's consensus states: 'Roberto Benigni misfires wildly with this adaptation of Pinocchio, and the result is an unfunny, poorly-made, creepy vanity project'. Metacritic gave the film an 11/100 based on 15 critics, which suggests 'overwhelming dislike'. Jonathan Rosenbaum stated on Chicago Reader that "the recut American version is truly awful, but a good 75% of the awfulness is attributable to Miramax".
Amongst other issues, the English dub was heavily criticized, with many critics founding that Breckin Meyer chosen as Benigni's voice was too young. David Noh of Film Journal International referred to Meyer's performance as a "ridiculously inappropriate Valley Boy voice". Elvis Mitchell of The New York Times stated that the voices "are so sloppy you might feel as if you're watching a 1978 Hong Kong action picture: the dubbed mouths of the Italian cast are probably still moving an hour after the film is over". Mitchell also called it "an oddity that will be avoided by millions of people" and criticized Benigni's decision to play the titular character, opining that his role as Pinocchio is 'as believable as Diana Ross playing Dorothy in The Wiz".
Ken Fox of TV Guide wrote: "there's no getting past the shockingly poorly dubbed voice work of the English-speaking cast; Meyer's voice is particularly shrill and grating", but praised Benigni's performance and make up effects, stating: "he's one Italian icon playing another, and physically, he's actually quite good" and "the art direction is often exquisite, and the anthropomorphic animal characters are beautifully realized through clever makeup design".
- David di Donatello:
- Nastro d'Argento:
- Worst Picture
- Worst Director
- Worst Screenplay
- Worst Actor (Roberto Benigni "Dubbed Godzilla-style" by Breckin Meyer) — won
- Worst Remake or Sequel
- Worst Screen Couple (Roberto Benigni and Nicoletta Braschi)
- Pinocchio - another adaption (from 2019) that Roberto Benigni starred in, but this time in a different role (as Geppetto).
- "PINOCCHIO: IL SET - Cinecittà News - Luce Cinecittà" (in Italian).
- "Pinocchio (2002)". The Numbers. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
- "Pinocchio (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
- "Film-makers race to reclaim the dark soul of Pinocchio". the Guardian. 12 November 2017.
- Arnold, Thomas K. (22 December 2002). "Benigni brings 'Pinocchio' to life". USA Today. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
- Guthmann, Edward. "Benigni's 'Pinocchio' -- so much deadwood". San Francisco Chronicle. December 28, 2002. Retrieved on September 25, 2009.
- "Benigni's 'Pinocchio' Out With Subtitles". Plainview Herald. 8 February 2003.
- Bruni, Frank (28 December 2002). "Pulling The Strings". tribunedigital-sunsentinel. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
- "Pinocchio (2002) Recensione". MoviePlayer (in Italian).
- Rooney, David; Rooney, David (8 October 2002). "Pinocchio".
- "Don't Dub It In|The Village Voice".
- "The Worst of the Worst Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 26 February 2008. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
- Jonathan Rosenbaum. "Pinocchio". Chicago Reader.
- David Noh. "Pinocchio". Film Journal International.
- Mitchell, Elvis (26 December 2002). "FILM REVIEW; How Many Actors Does It Take to Make a Log Talk?". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
- Ken Fox. "Pinocchio". TV Guide.
- "David di Donatello 2003". Film.it (in Italian).
- "Nastro d'Argento 2003". Cinecittà (in Italian).
- "Entire RAZZIE History, Year-by-Year: 1980–2008". The Golden Raspberry Award Foundation. Archived from the original on 6 July 2009. Retrieved 24 December 2009.