A Hungarian Fairy Tale

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A Hungarian Fairy Tale
Hungarian poster
Directed by Gyula Gazdag
Written by Gyula Gazdag
Miklós Györffy
Starring Dávid Vermes
Frantisek Husák
Mária Varga
Eszter Csákányi
Music by István Márta
Cinematography Elemér Ragályi
Edited by Júlia Sívó
Release date
  • 15 August 1987 (1987-08-15) (Hungry)

  • December 28, 1988 (1988-12-28) (USA)
Running time
97 minutes
Country Hungary
Language Hungarian

A Hungarian Fairy Tale (original title: Hol volt, hol nem volt) is a 1987 Hungarian film directed by Gyula Gazdag.


Andris is a child living in Budapest. He is conceived when his mother Maria is attracted to a mysterious stranger during a performance of "The Magic Flute". The stranger disappears after the conception, and as a result Andris does not know his father. The law states that a boy should have his father's name, even if the father is unknown, to avoid the taint of illegitimacy. When Maria tries to register Andris with the child custody department, Andris is given the name of a fictitious father. She enters on Andris' birth certificate the name of the bureaucrat she is dealing with, Antal Orban.

Maria dies when she is hit on the head by a falling brick, an accident resulting from being in the wrong place at the wrong time, leaving Andris suddenly motherless. He then goes off in search of his nonexistent father. Along the way he meets and is helped by The Girl, the young nurse who delivered him, and who is alone like Andris. Meanwhile, the kindly Orban becomes tired of the tyrannical bureaucracy, and decides to destroy the files of children he has helped to legitimize by giving them fictitious fathers. He then sets out to find Andris. Andris and The Girl finally meet Orban, and they form their own family.

They meet scouts being trained as instruments of the state, and the scouts pursue Andris, Orban and The Girl. The three of them climb onto the back of a stone eagle, which takes off in flight.



The film won the following awards:

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