Also known as The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, Peter Pan is a literary classic and has been immortalised on stage and screen since his inception in the early twentieth century by the Scottish writer, James Matthew Barrie.
With this week’s Sunday night movie featuring the more than 100-year-old character in Pan, we thought we’d take a look at the film, and four others, inspired by the character and its creator.
Peter Pan (1953)
Growing up, Disney’s animated version is likely one of the first versions of the character you came across. Disney’s fourteenth animated feature film, the studio altered bits and pieces of Barrie’s original play, but was at heart the same story about Neverland, Tinker Bell, Captain Hook, Wendy, and the Lost Boys.
Another version you’re likely to have come across at a young age was this reimagining of the story, which saw Peter Pan as the boy who did grow up. Played by Robin Williams, Pan is now an adult with a family of his own – until he is pulled back to Neverland to rediscover the child inside. Directed by Steven Spielberg, it included memorable performances by Williams, as well as Julia Roberts as Tinker Bell and Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook.
Peter Pan (2003)
After 1991’s reimagining, this film went back to the roots of Barrie’s creation, faithfully sticking to the text. In an interesting manoeuvre, English actor Jason Isaacs was cast as both Captain Hook and the children’s father George Darling. Another interesting casting tidbit was that this was the first time Peter Pan was played by a male actor in a live-action feature film. If you know anything about this character, you’ll know that he was traditionally portrayed by a female, with Cathy Rigby becoming one of the most well-known actresses in the role.
Finding Neverland (2004)
Dustin Hoffman popped up in another Pan-inspired tale thirteen years later in this film based on the life of J.M. Barrie. Playing producer Charles Frohman to Johnny Depp’s Barrie, the film also included stellar performances by Kate Winslet and Julie Christie. Centring on the famous Scot, it follows his growing friendship with Sylvia Llewelyn Davies and her four sons, culminating in his most famous creation: Peter Pan.
A new film inspired by the character, it serves as a sort of prequel to the original story. While it does feature Peter Pan, as well as Captain Hook and several other familiar characters, there are others that have nothing to do with the play, most notably Hugh Jackman's Blackbeard who, unlike Hook, was a real pirate.
Fantasy not your thing? Select your other Sunday night movie, The Finest Hours, on 11 December at 20:30 on M-Net Movies Premiere.