Pinocchio (2002 film)


Theatrical poster
Directed by Roberto Benigni
Produced by Gianluigi Braschi
Written by
  • Roberto Benigni
  • Vincenzo Cerami
Based on The Adventures of Pinocchio
by Carlo Collodi
Narrated by David Suchet (US version)
Music by Nicola Piovani
Cinematography Dante Spinotti
Edited by Simona Paggi
  • Cecchi Gori Group
  • Melampo Cinematografica
Distributed by
Release dates
  • 11 October 2002 (2002-10-11) (Italy)
  • 25 December 2002 (2002-12-25) (United States/Canada)
Running time
108 minutes
  • Italy
  • France
  • Germany
  • United States
Language Italian
Budget 40 million
Box office $41.3 million[1]

Pinocchio is a 2002 Italian fantasy comedy-drama film directed by and starring Roberto Benigni. The film is based on The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, with Benigni portraying Pinocchio. It was shot in Italy and Kalkara, Malta. Pinocchio was released in Italy in October 2002, and in the United States (in a dubbed version) in December 2002.


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 a puppet named Pinocchio from it. To Geppetto's surprise, the puppet comes to life and to his dismay, it becomes very mischievous. Geppetto sells his only coat to provide schoolbooks for Pinocchio. However, the rambunctious puppet goes on several adventures, dreading school.

He joins a puppet theater and is almost eaten by the gigantic puppet master Mangiafuoco. Pinocchio lies to get out of the situation, claiming misery and poverty in his family 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 in order to grow a "money tree" in the Meadow of Miracles outside of Grabadimwit. The watchful Blue Fairy, who encourages him 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. The Blue Fairy, knowing of his constant fibbing, 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, he meets Lucignolo, 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, he 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 the ocean in an attempt to save his father, he washes up on the shore of a city where he helps a lady carry her pitchers. Upon arriving at the woman's house, Pinocchio discovers that the lady is actually the Blue Fairy in disguise. She states that she has 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 schoolmates. One of them tries to throw a book at him, but when he ducks the book hits his classmate Eugenio instead, who is knocked unconscious. Thinking that he is dead, the others run away leaving Pinocchio at the scene. The carabineer arrive where they have Eugenio taken to the hospital while Pinocchio is arrested. Upon nearing the Blue Fairy's house, Pinocchio escapes from the carabineer. Pinocchio 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. He is later freed by Lucignolo and Pinocchio returns to the Blue Fairy's house where he ends up having to admit that he didn't arrive at the local school. The Blue Fairy forgives Pinocchio for what happened. The next day, the people at the school arrive at the Blue Fairy's party where the schoolmaster presides over this. Pinocchio leaves the party in order 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 finds Pinocchio, he tries to warn every boy present that they will turn into donkeys if they don't 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 as the Talking Cricket explains this to Pinocchio. Pinocchio is soon changed 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 to the Blue Fairy who starts to warn Pinocchio that a giant shark is pursuing him. Pinocchio starts to swim as fast as he can and is swallowed by the giant shark. Upon being reunited with Geppetto with Pinocchio apologizing 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 a farm owned by Farmer George, Pinocchio finds Lucignolo's donkey form dying in a stable on the farm. As Pinocchio is mourning Lucignolo's death, the farmer asks Pinocchio on 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. Besides Pinocchio waking up as a real boy, Geppetto's hair is shown to be real. The film ends with Pinocchio going to school at last, while his shadow, still in the shape of a puppet, chases a butterfly into the hills of the countryside, a lasting memory of his adventures.


Original Italian cast

English voice-dubbing cast


North America

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 be not well-received, and sought to have it released before critics placed their opinions on the film.[2] However, it was released in theaters again, in its original format on February 7, 2003 for a limited time screening in North America.

To go along with the release of the film the fast food restaurant, McDonald's sold toys with their happy meals that each resembled a character of the film, these being Pinocchio, Geppetto, The Blue Fairy, Medoro, The Cat, and The Cricket.[3]

Critical reception

In the United States, Pinocchio was lambasted by critics, in particular for the English dub and for the choice of Meyer as Benigni's voice, considered too young.[4] Rotten Tomatoes ranked the English-language version of the film fourth on their list of the 100 worst-reviewed films of the 2000s, with it receiving a 0% approval rating from critics,[5] based on 55 reviews, with an average rating of 2.4/10. 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."

The English-dubbed version was nominated for six Razzie Awards (a first for a foreign-language film) including Worst Picture, Worst Director, Worst Screenplay, Worst Remake or Sequel and Worst Screen Couple (Roberto Benigni and Nicoletta Braschi) with Benigni winning the Razzie for Worst Actor.[6] The original Italian version was not so poorly greeted and received six nominations at the David di Donatello Awards, winning two, as well as winning one of the two awards it was nominated for at the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists.[7]


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