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Barney's Great Adventure

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Barney's Great Adventure
Film poster
Directed bySteve Gomer
Produced bySheryl Leach
Screenplay byStephen White
Story byStephen White
Sheryl Leach
Dennis DeShazer
Based onBarney and the Backyard Gang and Barney & Friends
by Sheryl Leach & Kathy O'Rourke-Parker
Music byVan Dyke Parks (Credited only in trailer)
CinematographySandi Sissel
Edited byRichard Halsey
Distributed byPolyGram Filmed Entertainment
Release date
  • April 3, 1998 (1998-04-03)
Running time
76 minutes
CountryUnited States
Canada (Filming locations)
Budget$15 million
Box office$12,218,638

Barney's Great Adventure (also known by its promotional title Barney's Great Adventure: The Movie) is a 1998 American musical adventure film based on the children's television series Barney & Friends, featuring Barney the Dinosaur in his first ever feature length film. The plot follows Barney, along with 3 young children named Cody, Abby, and Marcella, as they discover a magical egg in a barn. After learning that the egg is a dream maker, Barney and the gang must return the egg to the barn before it hatches. The film was written by Stephen White, directed by Steve Gomer, produced by Sheryl Leach and Lyrick Studios and released by PolyGram Filmed Entertainment on March 27, 1998 in the United States and Canada at the height of Barney's popularity. This was the third and final film to be produced by Lyrick Studios before it was folded into HIT Entertainment in 2001. It is also the only theatrical Barney film as all other Barney films were just direct to video productions.


Cody, Abby, Marcella, and Fig are dropped off to their grandparents farm. As Cody believes there's nothing exciting at the farm, Abby and Marcella rub a Barney doll in his face. Cody starts a game of "keep-away" by taking the Barney doll and running off with it. The two go after Cody, who hides the doll in in the bathroom. The girls catch up with Cody, who tells them to use their imagination and laughs when he thinks that nothing happened. However, the doll comes to life as Barney the Dinosaur takes the girls to play in the barn. Cody refuses to believe in Barney, and claims that real dinosaurs don't talk.

That night, Cody wishes for a real adventure and to do things no one else has done before. A shooting star deposits an egg in the barn, and Cody discovers it the next day. Barney and the kids go tell their grandparents about this, but Barney gets distracted when he hears Fig cry. Grandma suggests to Abby and Marcella that they go see Mrs. Goldfinch. Cody finds Barney who and takes him to see his grandparents, but Abby and Marcella take Cody and Barney to see Mrs. Goldfinch, who tells them that the egg is a dreammaker. Cody accidentally knocks the egg off the table which lands on a birdseed truck. Barney and the others recover it through a parade as the egg avoids being cracked by the people in the parade. Barney's friend B.J. catches it when it almost lands on the ground, but tosses it away. Barney and the gang chase the egg through a French restaurant where Barney sings If All The Raindrops, a circus where Barney and the kids sing We're Gonna Find A Way, and finally, they fly through the sky to continue their pursuit of it. However, they eventually make it back to the barn in time. All the while, Baby Bop is looking for her blanket and B.J. and Baby Bop arrive just in time to see the egg hatch.

After they return the egg to the barn, it finally hatches into a koala-like being named Twinken who shows everyone Abby's dream, then Barney's. Cody apologizes to Barney for being mean and says that he's cool. Barney accepts his apology and tells Cody he thinks he's cool too and the two share a hug. Twinken shows everyone a magical fireworks display which lands in Barney's arms. Barney begins to sing "I Love You", and everyone else sings with him. Baby Bop gets sleepy, which prompts B.J. to decide they are ready to go home. The film ends with Twinken sitting next to Barney who has reverted into his doll form.


  • David Joyner as Barney (costume)
  • Trevor Morgan as Cody
  • Diana Rice as Abby
  • Kyla Pratt as Marcella
  • Jeff Ayers as Baby Bop (costume)
    • Julie Johnson as Baby Bop (voice)
  • Jeff Brooks as B.J. (costume)
    • Patty Wirtz as B.J. (voice)
  • George Hearn as Grandpa
  • Shirley Douglas as Grandma
  • David and Edouard Larouche as Baby Fig
  • Renee Madeline Le Guerrier as Mildred Goldfinch
  • Roch Jutras as Mr. Millet
  • Alan Fawcett as Dad
  • Jane Wheeler as Mom



Word of a Barney film first arose in November 1992 when Debbie Ries, sales director for The Lyons Group said plans for a movie was in the works.[1] In 1993, it was later announced by creator Sheryl Leach at The National Press Club in Washington, D.C. that a movie is coming.[citation needed] Later in 1994, a Barney Magazine article had stated that Barney the Dinosaur would star in his first ever film entitled Barney: The Movie.[citation needed]

It was originally going to be distributed worldwide by Geffen Pictures through Warner Bros. and produced by Sheryl Leach and Dennis DeShazer.[citation needed] According to Sheryl Leach, it had a release date for summer 1995.[citation needed] Warner Bros. and Lyons had disagreements over marketing, leading the latter to bring the film (with help from now former producer Geffen) to Polygram.[2]

On June 20, 1997, Barney himself announced the film at a news conference at the Beverly Hills Hotel.[citation needed] Later in 1997, teaser traliers for the film, now entitled Barney's Great Adventure: The Movie, arose on VHS cassettes of some Barney Home Videos.[citation needed] To Sheryl Leach, it was a joy of filming as she stated:

It was a joy to do the film because it took me back to the early days in Barney's development. Just like the beginning days of Barney, this movie takes him to places children have never experienced with him before. The film was a great opportunity to open new storylines and environments so that children travel to new places with their friend Barney. The film goes to some incredible places that we hope will appeal to not only for children but to adults as well.[citation needed]

Leach adds that the film allowed them to "take the familiar Barney and put him outdoors and in other very different settings from his traditional environments."[citation needed]


The film was shot on locations outside Montreal, Canada, including the reowned Ste. AnnedeBellevue's Morgan Arboretum, a popular wildlife sanctuary. The veteran film crew was initially a bit skeptical of the large purple star.[3]

Original version

According to writer Stephen White, in the original script, the egg was going to hatch a giant bird who misses its mother, Baby Bop and BJ were expected to make a lot more screen time, appearing in the farmhouse attic, but those scenes were soon scrapped, as director Steve Gomer claimed the scenes to be "unaffordable", Miss. Goldfinch was originally planned to be a comedic character, as opposed to the more subdued character of the final film, the circus scenes and the "Collector" character were not in the original drafts, as well as rather than using a log, Barney and the gang would have built a plane out of cardboard boxes.[4]


Critical reception

The film received mixed to negative reviews from film critics, owing to it being based on the aforementioned television program which is aimed for young children aged 1–8, the growing popularity of "anti-Barney humor", and the general unpopularity of the Barney series outside of its target audience of preschoolers. John Petrakis wrote in the Chicago Tribune, "If my 21-month-old son had any inkling that I was giving a less than stellar review to [this film,] he would no doubt shoot me that look he tends to give when his milk is warm or his Cheerios a bit stale."[5] The New York Times' Anita Gates wrote that it was a film "his young, undemanding fans are likely to enjoy."[6]

Another review, from the Los Angeles Times, read: "The creators of the great purple scourge, Barney the Dinosaur, have an unspoken contract with parents palatable for all involved: We buy their videos and an occasional plush toy for our 3- and 4-year-olds and make Barney's brain trust obscenely wealthy; they in turn create benignly lobotomized entertainment that holds our non-demanding kids in thrall; our kids watch TV and allow us a few precious minutes of peace. The most important element is parental trust in Barney to be blandly wholesome, so that we have to endure only a few seconds of it while we cue up the VCR for our tykes. Family movies, on the other hand, imply a rather different contract: Parents buy tickets and popcorn for the whole family; filmmakers deliver light entertainment that kowtows to kids yet is not so brain-dead as to alienate sentient adults. 'Barney's Great Adventure: The Movie,' the first theatrical film featuring the green-bellied beast, takes that big old fat foot of Barney's and stomps that contract beyond recognition. [. . .] The flat lighting and two-dimensional sets of the TV screen serve Barney far better than a modestly expanded budget and a director insistent on using locations, romantic lighting and mildly adventurous camera angles. Barney looks both more real and more magical on video; on film, he's clearly a doofus in a felt outfit."[7]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film currently has a "Rotten" score of 26%, based on 23 reviews with only 6 fresh reviews, and a rating of a 4.2 out of 10.[8]

It was nominated for two awards at the 19th Golden Raspberry Awards: Barney himself was nominated "Worst New Star" and won in a tie with Jerry Springer in Ringmaster. The Jerry Herman-penned "Barney, the Song" was nominated for "Worst Original Song", but lost to "I Wanna Be Mike Ovitz!" from An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn.

Box office

In its limited release weekend, the film grossed $2,203,865 and ranked #11.[9] A week later, in wide release, it grossed $1,382,373 and ranked #15.[10] By the end of its run, the film grossed $12,218,638 in the domestic box office, almost returning its $15 million budget.[11]

Home media

The film was released on VHS and DVD on September 1, 1998. It was also released on DVD in the UK in 2002 and it was re-released on DVD in 2012.


  1. ^ "BONKERS FOR BARNEY!". The Washington Post. November 22, 1992. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  2. ^ "Polygram grabs 'Barney'". Variety. April 23, 1997. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  3. ^ "Barney Movie Production Notes".
  4. ^ "Interview with Stephen White". Playground Hollywood. November 2015. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  5. ^ Petrakis, John (1998-04-03). "In Barney Film, Purple Guy Gets Room To Roam". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-09-09.
  6. ^ Gates, Anita (1998-03-27). "FILM IN REVIEW – Review". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-10-05.
  7. ^ Kronke, David (1998-04-03). "Barney Chases Magical Egg in 'Adventure'". Los Angeles TImes. Retrieved 2010-09-09.
  8. ^ Barney's Great Adventure at Rotten Tomatoes
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Barney's Great Adventure at Box Office Mojo

External links