Anne of Avonlea (1987 film)

Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel

DVD cover
Created by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Based on Anne of Avonlea
by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Written by Kevin Sullivan
Directed by Kevin Sullivan
Starring Megan Follows
Colleen Dewhurst
Wendy Hiller
Frank Converse
Jonathan Crombie
Marilyn Lightstone
Schuyler Grant
Rosemary Dunsmore
Kate Lynch
Geneviève Appleton
James O'Regan
Theme music composer Hagood Hardy
Country of origin Canada
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Kevin Sullivan
Running time 230 minutes (approx.)
Original release May 19, 1987 on Disney and CBC
March 5 & 12, 1988 (PBS)
Preceded by Anne of Green Gables
Followed by Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story

Anne of Avonlea is a 1987 Canadian television miniseries film. It is a sequel to Anne of Green Gables, and the second of a tetralogy of films. The miniseries dramatizes material from several books in the eight-novel "Anne" series by Lucy Maud Montgomery; they are Anne of Avonlea (Book Two), Anne of the Island (Book Three) and Anne of Windy Poplars (Book Four). As well, the TV film introduces several characters and issues not present in the books.

The miniseries aired in four hour-long installments, in May and June 1987, on the Disney Channel as Anne of Avonlea: The Continuing Story of Anne of Green Gables, and in two 150-minute installments, in December 1987 on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and in March 1988 on PBS, as Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel.[1] The film was also shown theatrically in Israel, Japan and Europe as Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel and has been released on DVD under that title.


The film resumes the story of Anne Shirley, who at 16 had chosen to study for her college degree by correspondence in order to remain at Green Gables to help an aging Marilla, who has eyesight problems, look after the house and farm. Anne now holds a Teacher's Licence after completing the two-year post-secondary course at Charlottetown's Queens Academy in only one year.

Anne begins to teach at Avonlea School and has dreams of becoming a writer, but her story "Averil's Atonement" is rejected by a magazine. Leaving the post office one day, Anne runs into Gilbert Blythe, who tells her that her best friend Diana Barry is engaged to Fred Wright. Anne is initially bewildered by Diana's decision, calling it impulsive. Meanwhile, in the last two years, Marilla's eyesight has greatly improved. Having regained her independence, Marilla encourages Anne to resume her old ambition of attending college.

At the clambake celebrating Fred and Diana's engagement, Anne and Gilbert wander off to a bridge, where Gilbert proposes. Anne rejects his offer, convinced that their marriage would be unhappy and unsuccessful. She runs off.

At Diana's wedding, Anne sees Gilbert with a young woman named Christine Stuart. Gilbert tells Anne that he and Christine are just friends, then offers to wait for her if there is any hope of them getting together. Anne rejects him again, and Gilbert suspects that there is someone else, despite Anne's assertion there is no person she cares about more than him. Anne returns to Green Gables and decides to look into the job her former teacher Miss Muriel Stacey offered her. Eventually, Anne decides to take this job as an English teacher at Kingsport, Nova Scotia Ladies’ College in the hope that it will inspire her and give her something to write about.

Initially, Anne finds her new job to be difficult. A member of the local community — and member of the powerful Pringle family — had also tried for Anne's post and was rejected, causing resentment. However, Anne gradually earns the respect of her students, their families and her colleagues, including the severe and critical Katherine Brooke and the Pringle family. Anne organizes a play to raise money for the college, which is greatly appreciated. Her dream of being published is also finally achieved after she writes a series of short stories based on Avonlea inspired by a suggestion from Gilbert. While teaching at the Ladies' College, Anne grows close to one student, Emmeline Harris, at whose house she is boarding along with the stern, controlling grandmother Harris and her repressed daughter Pauline who is a virtual prisoner in the house. Anne is able to convince the grandmother, a hypochondriac, to leave the house and go to a community picnic, and to let Pauline attend a friend's wedding overnight in another town, where she strikes up a romance. Emmeline's widowed father Morgan Harris, a well-to-do traveling businessman, also proposes marriage to Anne, after Anne and Emmeline had visited his spacious house in Boston. Anne also succeeds in getting the spinster teacher Katherine Brooke to spend a badly-needed summer vacation at Avonlea, where she opens up her feelings to Anne.

Anne declines Morgan Harris' proposal and returns to Green Gables, where she learns that Gilbert is ill nearby with scarlet fever, having returned home from Halifax Medical School. Anne finally realizes her true feelings for Gilbert, and goes to visit him. After Gilbert regains his health, he proposes once more, and Anne accepts him with a kiss, declaring, "I don't want diamond sunbursts, or marble halls. I just want you."


Awards and nominations

Sequels and spinoffs

Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story was released in 2000 and followed Anne Shirley as she embarked on a new journey, taking her from her home in Prince Edward Island to New York City, London and into war-ravaged Europe.

Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning was released in fall 2008 serves as a prequel to the previous films in the Anne movie trilogy. Set between two different time periods, Anne Shirley, now in her fifties looks back on her early childhood before arriving at Green Gables only to uncover answers to questions that have plagued her throughout her life.

Road to Avonlea is a television series which was first broadcast in Canada and the United States between 1990 and 1996. It was inspired by a series of short stories and two novellas by Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables, which Sullivan had previously adapted as Anne of Green Gables in 1985 and Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel in 1987. Many of the actors in the Anne of Green Gables movies also appear in storylines crossing over into the long-running Emmy award-winning series.

Several actors from the first two Anne films can be seen in both Road to Avonlea and the Anne of Green Gables, including Rosemary Dunsmore, Patricia Hamilton, Colleen Dewhurst, Jonathan Crombie, Jackie Burroughs, Cedric Smith, Mag Ruffman, Marilyn Lightstone, James O'Regan and David Fox.


When Kevin Sullivan was commissioned by CBC, PBS and The Disney Channel to create a sequel he started by combining many different elements of Montgomery's three later books: Anne of Avonlea (1909), Anne of the Island (1915), and Anne of Windy Poplars (1936) into a cohesive screen story. Sullivan invented his own plotline relying on several of Montgomery's episodic storylines spread across the three sequels, He also looked at numerous other nineteenth century female authors for inspiration in fleshing out the screen story.

The film succeeded in re-popularizing Megan Follows and Colleen Dewhurst in their original roles. Sullivan also cast British veteran actress and Oscar winner, Wendy Hiller, in the role of the impossible Mrs. Harris, a character Sullivan specifically invented for the storyline, based on a composite of several matriarchs found in the series of novels.

In Canada, the film became the highest rated drama to air on network television in Canadian broadcasting history. This Sequel became known as Anne of Green Gables – The Sequel when shown around the world and as Anne of Avonlea – the Continuing Story of Anne of Green Gables when it premiered on The Disney Channel.

ACE Award nomination

Megan Follows was nominated for an ACE Award in 1988 by the National Academy of Cable Programing in the Ninth Annual System Awards for Cable Excellence for Disney's "Anne of Avonlea."[2]

Home Box Office led with 112 nominations for the ACE Award, or Award for Cable Excellence. Showtime got 48, Arts & Entertainment 33, and the Disney Channel and Cable News Network 10 each. 30 categories of the 174 ACE Awards were presented on a live broadcast on HBO on January 24, 1988. The other categories were presented at a non-televised dinner in Las Vegas on Jan. 22, 1988. The ACE awards were established after cable programs and performers were excluded from the Emmy Awards. The National Academy of Cable Programming[3] was established in March 1985 to promote excellence in cable television programming.[2]

External links


  1. "Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel". L.M. Montgomery Online. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  2. 1 2 "ACE Nominees Announced". HOUSTON CHRONICLE, Section Houston, Page 7, 2 STAR Edition. Associated Press. Nov 10, 1987. Retrieved Nov 10, 1987. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  3. "About the NCTA". National Cable & Telecommunications Association. Retrieved 1996. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
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