Pinocchio: A Timeless Story |

Who doesn’t know the story of Pinocchio, the puppet who wants to become a real child? Unfortunately, his sly temper, a bit of a bully, but very naive joker, makes him the perfect candidate for pranks, calamities and deceptions to his detriment.

This is why it is a work loved by young and old, because we see the growth path of the protagonist made up of mistakes, missteps, dangers that lead him to grow, to become responsible, to be a real person.

If you love the most famous puppet in the world like us and are curious to know much more about the animated and cinematographic adaptations of the work of Carlo Collodi, waiting for the live action adaptation of the work Disney on the Disney + platform, this article is for you. The wooden boy with the long pointed nose, in fact, has already had many adaptations on small and large screens.

The origin of everything: 1883, Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi

An edition of the work of Carlo Collodi

Before examining the different film versions, it is worth starting from the original story of Carlo Collodi. The first version of the puppet’s adventures was published in 1883 and it was an immediate success. Collodi stated that the creation of this work was inspired by his love for children.

He wanted to create a story that they liked and that gave them a chance to understand the different aspects of life. This is evident from the different themes present in the book, such as the disciplineL’parental lovethe distinguishing of the true friendships from fictitious ones. A work that manages to blend perfectly the growth narrative with the typical hero’s journey.

1940: The first Disney adaptation

Disney's 1940 adaptation
The Disney adaptation, 1940

The first film adaptation of this timeless work it happened in 1940 with the Disney animated feature film. As with any re-adaptation, the story has many similar aspects to the original work, but there are also notable differences. In the first place, the story is set in an era that is not well defined, but that from the settings and backdrops used do not correspond to the contemporary one, that is the era of Collodi. Another element, the character of the Blue Fairy had a great importance also in the book, but not as marked as in the animated transposition.

1972: The Italian television series

The Italian TV series, 1972
The Italian TV series, 1972

In the 1972 is being broadcast for the first time the Italian television series The adventures of Pinocchio. This series is the first interpretation of the Collodi’s book in a modern key. The series, consisting of 6 episodes, is the version that for a long time has been the most popular in Italy. Try asking your uncles or grandparents if they remember this adaptation: they will be able to tell you in detail!

Also, this drama has a very special curiosity: Riccardo Billi, actor of the 30-40s and also one of the first voice actors in Italian history, in this script he lent his voice to Mastro Ciliegia and at the same time he interpreted the little man of butter. But the most curious thing is that Billi voiced the Jiminy Cricket in the song A star falls in the 1940 Disney adaptation.

1972: The anime version

The new adventures of pinocchio, 1972
The anime version, 1972

In the same year as the Italian drama, another adaptation of the puppet’s adventures is released in Japan. Maybe if you are over 20 you will vaguely remember seeing this series on some local TV channel while you were zapping from boredom.

If the beginning could still have some aspect in common with the original work, 50 episodes out of 52 total are really something surprising. Pinocchio hunting vampires, or his environmentalist and animalist versionor in the Hercules version against a three-headed snakein Egypt or in the jungle. In short, not quite what you would expect!

1996: the horror movie you don’t expect, Pinocchio’s Revenge

A scene from the 1996 horror film
A scene from the 1996 horror film

One of the most interesting and unusual adaptations in the history of the puppet is theall horror interpretation of 1996, The revenge of Pinocchio. It all begins with the conviction of a alleged serial killer that only kills children. Her attorney, Jennifer Garrick, believes her client is innocent and mentally unstable. Indeed, he claims it was the puppetcreated for her son, to kill all children.

But the death penalty of the alleged murderer has now arrived and theattorney brings proof to his office, or rather the puppet. Zoe, the little girl daughter of the lawyer, entering her mother’s office, she thinks that the puppet is a gift for her, since she would soon be birthday. Although her client told her everything about that piece of wood, Jennifer decides to have her daughter keep the puppet.

After a while the little girl begins to establish a strange relationship with the toy. The puppet starts talking to her and orders her to remove her strings. The little girl does it and it starts to happen new murders at the hands of the evil puppet.

Consider it for one horror movie night!

2000: Geppetto, the first live action musical by Disney

Geppetto, Disney 2000 live action adaptation
Geppetto, Disney 2000 live action adaptation

The one coming out on Disney + is not the first live action adaptation on the most famous puppet in the world made by the house of magic! In fact, it dates back to 2000 when Disney released Geppetto. If you have a chance, get it back! It is a very enjoyable movie to watch that takes its own direction. In some respects, the plot is vaguely reminiscent Finding Nemo.

In this version, Stromboli (a replacement character for Mangiafuoco) takes the protagonist away with him under the eyes of Geppetto, who sets out in search of his son to bring him back home, chasing him in the Land of Toys and ending up with him inside the Whale, as he tried to chase the ship loaded with donkeys headed for the black market.

If you like musicals, live action and Disney, you will find it all in this opera!

Roberto Benigni as Pinocchio (2002) and as Geppetto (2019)

Roberto benigni and his interpretations
Roberto Benigni and his interpretations

In the 2002the Italian actor and director Roberto Benigni played the role of the puppet in the live action adaptation of Collodi’s original story. Maybe it’s not the best of adaptations. In many quarters, critics have described it as a well-done class test, but one that fails to convey the sense of too much, of the magic and of the amazement that a work like this should convey. So why are we talking about it?

Because after a little less than 20 years, in 2019Benigni starred in another movie about the most famous puppet in the world this time playing the role of Geppetto. This version has tried to bring back the same vibe of the Italian drama of the 70s that we told you about a few paragraphs above, but it has also brought about important changes making in some ways the story more adventurous than the original. Also on RottenTomatos it is considered a good film.

2022: The Netflix re-adaptation signed by Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del toro's version, 2022
Guillermo del Toro’s version

The last adaptation we want to tell you about is Pinocchio, stop motion animation film exclusively on Netflix with an absolutely not insignificant director: Guillermo del Toro. Already the fact that it is shot in stop motion makes this film very curious. If we then take into consideration that we wanted to set the story in Italy during the fascist periodthe thing takes a decidedly unexpected turn.

Like the original counterpart, the protagonist is a mischievous boy who does damage and mess, one after the other. Not quite the best in the historical context that required rigorous discipline.


Pinocchio is a timeless story that has been adapted many times and has been told in many different ways. The story is as relevant today as it was in 1883, when the book was first published.

It is a story that explores the themes of friendship, growth and the importance of having a moral compass. In their own way, all the adaptations we told you about in this article (except the horror version) reflect the moral of the original work.

What versions did you know? And which ones aren’t? Is there any adaptation that you will recover before proceeding with the vision of the latest Disney live action?

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Pinocchio: A Timeless Story |