Pippi Longstocking

Sweden/Germany/Canada 1997

Reviewed by Pamela Church Gibson


Our synopses give away the plot in full, including surprise twists.

The 20th century. Nine-year-old Pippi Longstocking is the strongest girl in the world. Her mother long dead, she has spent most of her life on her father's ship. When her father is swept overboard during a storm, Pippi is confident he will survive. Back in Sweden, Pippi travels to their home Villa Villekulla just outside a small country town to await his return.

With her two companions - Mr Nilsson, a monkey, and her trusty steed Horse - Pippi's menage attracts the attention of Mrs Prysselius, the local busybody. Discovering Pippi is living unsupervised, Prysselius decides she should be put in a children's home and entreats the two local policemen to take action, but they'd rather go fishing. Two criminals, Thunder-Karlsson and his sidekick Bloom, escape from jail. Having overheard Prysselius saying Pippi has a chest full of gold coins, they set off to steal them. Pippi, meanwhile, has befriended two neighbouring children, Tommy and Annika. The criminals attempt several times to steal the coins, but are always foiled. Finally, the criminals seize an opportunity but the police capture them. Pippi's father returns, so Pippi prepares to return to sea, but changes her mind after seeing tears on Annika's face.


The first of Astrid Lindgren's children's stories about the tomboy Pippi Longstocking appeared in English 50 years ago. Since then, they've been translated into more than 50 languages and made into feature films in both Sweden (Lindgren's birthplace) and Germany. This latest animated version of the first book is, like so much Euro-animation, an international co-production. Canadian-based Nelvana was one of production companies responsible for the abundantly merchandised and cheaply animated The Care Bears Movie, and this is no great improvement.

Pippi is, for some feminist mothers, a positive role model for young women. The strongest girl in the world, she is resourceful and kindhearted, often throwing the adult world into chaos. Her amiable and anarchic heroics went down well with some of the little girls in the preview audience I saw the film with. Well, they were at least quiet.

But this cartoon Pippi is far less engaging than the original illustrations. Her broad grin seems horribly fixed, and more worryingly, her long legs and the constant flashes of thigh between stocking top and pelmet skirt are a paedophile's wet dream. The oversized boots that she wears simply reinforce the tomboy-Lolita look. And surrounded by adult actors with cod-Swedish accents, Pippi's voice is that of a noisy, over-confident American child. As this film is a semi-musical, like almost all animated feature films now, one would think an actress with a less strident singing voice might have been chosen.

Here, Pippi's dislike of conformity, attractive on the printed page, seems selfish and tiresome rather than spirited. Annika's mother looks genuinely distressed as Pippi wrecks the tea party she has worked all day to prepare. Other parents aren't likely to warm to this Pippi either. Indeed, both adults and children may find her cartoon incarnation annoying, her small friends saccharine and characterless, and the supposedly engaging antics of fishing-obsessed criminals and cops resolutely unfunny.


Clive Smith
Waldemar Bergendahl
Hasmi Giakoumis
Merle-Anne Ridley
Michael Schaack
Catharina Stackelberg
Based on the books by
Astrid Lindgren
Camera Supervisor
Graham Tiernan
Picture Editor
Noda Tsamardos
Design Supervisors
Dermot Walshe
Paul Riley
Anders Berglund
©AB Svensk Filmindustri/Iduna Produktiongesellschaft GmbH & Co/TFC
Trickompany Filmproduktion GmbH/Nelvana Limited
Production Companies
A AB Svensk Filmindustri/Iduna Film/TFC Trickompany/Nelvana co-production
Produced with the participation of Telefilm Canada
Produced with the participation of Teletoon and with the assistance of the Government of Canada - Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit program
Executive Producers
Michael Hirsh
Patrick Loubert
Clive Smith
Lennart Wiklund
Co-executive Producer
David Ferguson
Supervising Producer
Jo Hahn
Co-ordinating Producer
Jürgen Polaszek
Oversea Supervisors
Keith Bambury
Edson Basarin
Christoph Baum
Andrea Czedula
Mark Hodkinson
Anna Jander
Ute von Münchow-Pohl
Graham Tiernan
Production Co-ordinators
Alice Hyatt
Phetsamone Racksasouk
Nina Peters
Pete Turner
Vincianne Hubert
Belén Ramirez
Production Managers
Kim Thompson
Christiane Rittner
Director of Post-production
Rob Kirkpatrick
Post-production Supervisors
Peter Bengtsson
Tim Roberts
Tracy Grant
Associate Directors
Waldemar Bergendahl
Michael Schaak
Catharina Stackelberg
Casting Director/Voice Director
Jessie Thomson
Casting Co-ordinator
Karyn Tester
Storyboard Supervisors
Clive Smith
Frank Nissen
Additional Dialogue
Ken Sobol
Frank Nissen
Story Consultant
Susan Snooks
Colour Design
Mary Bertoia
Michelle Davis
Annie Elvin
Computer Animation Supervisor
Klaus Witte
Computer Animation
Paulo J. Rodrigues Marques
Jörn Radel
Animation Directors
Ute von Münchow-Pohl
Edson Basarin
Robin Budd
Bill Giggie
Character Design
Frank Nissen
Animation Design
Paul Bolger
Supervising Animators
Chris Doyle
Angel Izquierdo
Thierry Schiel
Enzo Avolio
Jan Baudouin De Courtenay
Adrienne Bell
Peter Bohl
David Degrande
Ursula Don
Claus Dzalakowski
Marc Fontaine
Carlos Galatola
Florentino J. Gopez
Javier Granados
Allan Jeffery
Sophia Kolokouri
Xavier Lamouche
John Lee
Nathalie Legrand
Karen Lessmann
Neil McNeil
Piotr Morawski
Robin Müller
Ansgar Niebuhr
Lynn Reist
Gilles Rudziak
Maureen Shelleau
Hélio Takahashi
Thierry Torres
Carlos Varela
Florian Wagner
Régine Waleffe
Steve Whitehouse
Jamie Whitney
Helena Wolf
Effects Animation Supervisor
Ian Mah
Effects Animator
Natalie Garceau-Turner
Layout Supervisors
Dermot Walshe
John Yee
Tobias Genkel
Jerry Benninger
Layout Artists
Tobias Anker
Glenn Chadwick
Hans Devolder
Robert Elliott
Joe Gosselin
Eddie Haan
Chad Hicks
Glenn Jeffs
George Juhasz
Kevin Q. Klis
Mark Komza
Adalbert Korona
Andrej Krystoforski
Trent Larson
Brian Lee
Ed Lee
John Lei
Nigel Lucas
Jeffrey N. Lyons
Eugene McDermott
Chris Minz
Thesa Pakarnyk
David Pletila
Dinah Postma
Karin Röster
Terry Rotsaert
Robert Schlunze
Birgit Schulz
John Stuart
Tony Tarantini
Walter Van Gasse
Layout/Animation Co-ordinator
Rodica Mihailescu
Background Supervisor
Anna Jander
Key Background Painters
Monica Herman
Stephan Köhler
Volker Krafzel
Tilman Seelenmeyer
Branislav Perkovic
Pre-production Editors
John Dubiel
Rick Dubiel
Sheila Murray
Art Directors
Christoph Baum
Clive Powsey
Robin Budd
Ross Campbell
Trevor Deane-Freeman
Natalie Garceau-Turner
Alex Gatsis
Joe Gosselin
Alex Hawley
Peggy Hawley
Neil McNeil
Leif Norheim
Cynthia Ward
John Yee
Storyboard Artists
Robin Budd
Rick Durante
John Flagg
Alex Hawley
Peter Hudecki
Raymond Jafelice
Luc LaTulippe
Frank Nissen
Bob Smith
Mike Smukavic
Andrew Tan
John Van Bruggen
Main Title Design
Ohlsson & Co. Reklamproduktion AB
Music Co-ordinator
Rossi Ayres
Music Consultant
Stephen Hudecki
"What Shall I Do Today" by Carl Lenox, Tim Thorney, Tom Thorney, Brent Barkman, Erica M. Miechowsky; "Hey-Ho, I'm Pippi", "Pluttifikation" by Anders Berglund, Ture Rangström, Peter Bishop, Carl Lenox, Tim Thorney, Brent Barkman; "Recipe for Life" by Carl Lenox, Tim Thorney, Tom Thorney, Brent Barkman; "A Bowler and a New Gold Tooth" by Asher Ettinger, Tony Kosinec, Lisa Lambert, arranged by Thinkmusic (Toronto); "The Schottish" by Anders Berglund
Dialogue Recording Engineer
Bob Cobban
Re-recording Engineers
Berndt Frithiof
Leif Westerlund
Supervising Sound Editor
Glen Barna
Dialogue Editors
Scott McCrorie
Keith Traver
Sound Effects Editors
Ryan Araki
John Baktis
Eric Mattar-Hurlbut
Craig Marshall
Andy Malcolm
Goro Koyama
Tony Van Der Akker
Voice Cast
Catherine O'Hara
Mrs Prysselius
Dave Thomas
Gordon Pinsent
Captain Longstocking
Wayne Robson
Melissa Altro
Pippi Longstocking
Carole Pope
the teacher
Richard Binsley
Mr Nilsson/Dog
Rick Jones
Chris Wiggins
Rick Jones
Philip Williams
Noah Reid
Olivia Garratt
Judy Tate
Annika's vocals
Karen Bernstein
Mrs Settergren
Martin Lavut
Mr Settergren
Mari Trainor
Mrs Klang
Elva Mai Hoover
Mrs Kling
Philip Williams
Melleny Melody
Snake Lady
Howard Jerome
Kyle Fairley
Zachary Spider Brown Smith
Brent Barkman
Emily Barlow
Marieve Herington
Michael Hughes
Carl Lenox
Annick Obonsawin
Scott Pietrangelo
Clive Smith
Tim Thorney
Tom Thorney
group singers
Optimum Releasing
6,991 feet
77 minutes 41 seconds
In Colour
Last Updated: 20 Dec 2011