A Troll in Central Park

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A Troll in Central Park
Theatrical release poster by John Alvin
Directed by
Produced by
Written byStu Krieger
Music byRobert Folk
Edited byFiona Trayler
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • October 7, 1994 (1994-10-07)
Running time
76 minutes
CountryUnited States[1]
Box office$71,368

A Troll in Central Park (released in some countries as Stanley's Magic Garden) is a 1994 American animated musical fantasy-comedy film directed by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, creators of their previous animated films: Rock-a-Doodle, The Land Before Time, All Dogs Go to Heaven, The Secret of NIMH and An American Tail. It was released by Warner Bros. Pictures under their Warner Bros. Family Entertainment label on October 7, 1994. The film grossed $71,368 at the North American box office becoming a Commercial flop.

The film features the voice talents of Dom DeLuise as Stanley, Cloris Leachman as Queen Gnorga, Charles Nelson Reilly as King Llort, Phillip Glasser as Gus, Tawny Sunshine Glover as Rosie, Hayley Mills as Hilary and Jonathan Pryce as Alan. It is the last Don Bluth film to star Dom DeLuise.

As of March 20, 2019, the film rights to A Troll in Central Park and Thumbelina, along with the international rights to The Pebble and the Penguin are now owned by the Walt Disney Studios through 20th Century Fox, which had obtained the film rights from Warner Bros. in the early-2000s.


Stanley is a troll who has a magical green thumb with the ability to bring flowers and plants to life at a touch, which is forbidden in his home, the Kingdom of Trolls. When he is discovered doing so, the other trolls take him as prisoner to Gnorga, the queen of the trolls, who concludes that Stanley "gives a bad name to trolls everywhere" and demands that he be turned to stone with her dark thumb (which is also purple when it glows). At the behest of her consort King Llort, Queen Gnorga instead banishes Stanley to New York City where, after a series of mishaps, he ends up in Central Park.

The next day, in a New York apartment, two young siblings named Gus and Rosie learn that their parents cannot take them to Central Park, because their father Alan has to go to court for an important case, and their mother Hilary has to attend the open house on Park Avenue. While left alone with their nanny, Maria, Gus takes Rosie to the park himself. While playing with Gus' toy boat by the river, Rosie follows a butterfly to the bridge where begins to follow Stanley into a cave and befriends him.

Gus goes after Rosie, only for his toy boat to be accidentally smashed in the process. After becoming surprised to meet Stanley and his crew of talking flowers, Gus tries to force Rosie to come home with him. Stanley then gets into an argument and struggle with Gus over Rosie which causes her to cry. At the Kingdom of Trolls, Gnorga enjoys her amusement of Rosie's sadness on her crystal, but when she discovers Stanley, she becomes furious. Having also witnessed Gus' frustration towards Rosie and Stanley, she decides to have an advantage and casts an evil spell on him, making Gus cry a gigantic flood of tears to drown Stanley along with his flowers and Rosie. Using his green thumb, Stanley enlarges Gus's toy boat which he repaired, turning it into a "dream boat" to save the kids, and they escape together.

Determined to suppress Stanley herself, Gnorga sends a tornado to transport her and Llort to Central Park while it destroys the park and everything green on it. Meanwhile, Gus and Rosie wake from their nap and decides to get back home. The two kids are then chased by Queen Gnorga and King Llort, who intend to use them as a bait for Stanley. Gnorga succeeds to kidnap Rosie, but Gus manages to elude her. He returns to the cave in the bridge and tries to persuade Stanley to help him. But Stanley, frightened of the reign of Gnorga, refuses and claims that his magic is no match for Gnorga's. Gus angrily accuses Stanley of being a coward and tells him that he will never have a dream come true if he's too scared to fight for what he believes in.

Gus leaves to face Gnorga himself. Arriving at the abandoned building where Gnorga and Llort are waiting for Stanley, Gus finds Rosie in a kennel and sets her free. But seeing the children get away, Gnorga and Llort chase them out the building, leading to a battle. During the fight, Gnorga transforms Gus into a troll with her dark thumb, and Rosie falls into a chasm. Stanley appears on Gus' toy boat; now transformed into a flying boat with leaf wings, having saved the uninjured Rosie. Then he steps forward and challenges Gnorga to a thumb-wrestling match. Stanley manages to win, planting roses all around Gnorga's body. As Stanley, Gus, and Rosie escape and celebrate their victory, Gnorga uses Gus's thumb to turn Stanley to stone. Gus' toy boat turns back to normal, sending the two kids falling through the open window and into their apartment room, while Stanley (in his statue form) lands on top of the nearby trash can. As Gnorga declares her job done, the last of Stanley's power changes her into a rose bush. Then the tornado reappeared and sucked Gnorga, Llort, and their dog back to the Kingdom of Trolls in defeat, while Gus returns to his human form.

The next morning, Gus, Rosie, and their parents visit Central Park, where Gus and Rosie place the petrified Stanley on a makeshift pedestal. Gus attempts to revive him with his instant-temporarily green thumb and appears to fail. As they prepare to leave, he and Rosie turn back to find Stanley gone. Then hearing Stanley's whistle, they see Stanley standing on the tree with his flowers; restored to life. Stanley revives Central Park and covers the entire city of Manhattan in vegetation and flowers.

In the Kingdom of Trolls, the powerless Gnorga is dethroned and planted. Llort is welcomed as much kinder ruler.



A Troll in Central Park
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedFebruary 14, 2012[2]
LabelIntrada Records
ProducerRobert Folk
Don Bluth Music of Films chronology
A Troll in Central Park
The Pebble and the Penguin

The music for A Troll in Central Park was composed and conducted by Robert Folk, who previously provided the soundtrack for Rock-a-Doodle (1991), and was performed by the Irish Film Orchestra.[2] Although a commercial soundtrack was not released alongside the film in 1994, a limited edition CD containing 15 tracks from the movie was made available on February 12, 2012, by Intrada Records as part of their Intrada Special Collection.[3] The tracks were taken from the original digital session masters, with three songs written by Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Norman Gimbel and Robert Folk ultimately omitted due to being permanently wedded to sound effects and dialogue from the film.[3]


Box office[edit]

The film grossed $71,368 in North America.[4] It was Don Bluth's lowest-grossing film to date, though not his film to lose the most money overall. Gary Goldman has said the reason for this was that the film was released without any sign of promotion and its release was limited. He also stated that its distributor Warner Bros. did not have any confidence in the film.

Critical reception[edit]

A Troll in Central Park holds an approval rating of 17% with an average of 3.6 out of 10 based on six reviews from Rotten Tomatoes.[5] TV Guide gave the movie two out of five stars and felt that the film's appeal was very age-limited, calling it "Pastel-pretty and cloyingly sweet," and that "A Troll in Central Park is strictly for the youngest members of the moviegoing audience."[6] The A.V. Club wrote that A Troll in Central Park is "widely considered to be [Don Bluth's] worst film."[7]

In the July 2001 issue of his magazine ToonTalk, Don Bluth said that "the development of a story is like the development of a child in a womb; it takes time and it must be done right and building A Troll in Central Park, taught us this lesson, the hard way."

Home media[edit]

On January 10, 1995, Warner Home Video released A Troll in Central Park on VHS and LaserDisc in the United States and Canada.[8] In the UK, the movie was released on VHS under the title Stanley's Magic Garden.[9] 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released the film on DVD for the first time on February 19, 2002.[10]


  1. ^ "A Troll in Central Park (1994)". British Film Institute. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "A Troll in Central Park (1994)". Soundtrack.Net. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "TROLL IN CENTRAL PARK, A". Intrada Records. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  4. ^ "A Troll in Central Park (1994)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  5. ^ "A Troll in Central Park (1994)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  6. ^ "A Troll in Central Park - Movie Reviews and Movie Ratings". TVGuide.com. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  7. ^ Siede, Caroline (August 19, 2014). "Don Bluth offered a dark alternative to Disney animation". Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  8. ^ Fitzpatrick, Eileen (December 3, 1994). "Home Video". Billboard. Vol. 106 no. 49. p. 90.
  9. ^ "Stanley's Magic Garden [VHS]". Amazon UK. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  10. ^ "A Troll in Central Park". Amazon.com. Retrieved October 21, 2015.

External links[edit]