Peter Pan (2003 film)

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Peter Pan
Peter Pan 2003 film.jpg
American/Canadian Theatrical release poster
Directed by P. J. Hogan
Produced by Lucy Fisher
Douglas Wick
Patrick McCormick
Screenplay by P. J. Hogan
Michael Goldenberg
Based on Peter and Wendy 
by J. M. Barrie
Starring Jason Isaacs
Jeremy Sumpter
Richard Briers
Olivia Williams
Lynn Redgrave
Ludivine Sagnier
Music by James Newton Howard
Cinematography Donald McAlpine
Edited by Garth Craven
Michael Kahn
Distributed by Universal Pictures
(North America)
Columbia Pictures[1]
Release dates
  • November 22, 2003 (2003-11-22) (Australia)
  • December 24, 2003 (2003-12-24) (United Kingdom)
  • December 25, 2003 (2003-12-25) (United States and Canada)
Running time
115 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $130 million[2]
Box office $122 million[3]

Peter Pan is a 2003 American fantasy film released by Universal Pictures, Columbia Pictures and Revolution Studios. It was the first authorized and faithful film or TV adaptation of J.M. Barrie's play in half a century, after Disney's version in 1953. P. J. Hogan directed a screenplay co-written with Michael Goldenberg which is based on the classic play and novel by J. M. Barrie. Jason Isaacs plays the roles of Captain Hook and George Darling, Olivia Williams plays Mrs. Darling, while Jeremy Sumpter plays Peter Pan, Rachel Hurd-Wood portrays Wendy Darling, and Ludivine Sagnier plays Tinker Bell. Lynn Redgrave plays a supporting role as Aunt Millicent, a new character created for the film.

Contrary to the traditional stage casting, the film featured a young boy in the title role. Since the first stage production of the story, the title role has usually been played by a woman, a tradition followed in the first film adaptation. Two subsequent animated adaptations have featured a male voice actor as Peter Pan, and a Soviet live-action film adaptation for television cast a boy to play the role. This film was the first live-action theatrical release with a boy playing the part. The casting of a single actor to play both George Darling and Captain Hook follows a tradition also begun in the first staging of the play.


In the nursery of the Darling home located in Edwardian era London, Wendy Darling (Wood) tells her younger brothers, John (Harry Newell) and Michael (Freddie Popplewell), stories that enthrall Peter Pan (Jeremy Sumpter) and his fairy friend Tinker Bell (Ludivine Sagnier). Life is disrupted when their Aunt Millicent visits the family. Judging Wendy to be an "almost" full-grown woman, Aunt Millicent advises Mr. and Mrs. Darling (Jason Isaacs and Olivia Williams) to think of Wendy's future, saying that Wendy should spend less time with her brothers and more time with her as she learns how to be a proper young lady. The very idea terrifies the children.

That night, Wendy catches a glimpse of a mysterious young boy hovering over her bed. As the boy flees, the Darlings' dog Nana, who also serves as the nursemaid, snatches his shadow just as he escapes. The next morning at the school, Wendy is caught drawing a picture of the boy in her book instead of doing work. Later, while chasing the delivery boy to stop him from carrying a letter from Wendy's teacher to Mr. Darling at the bank, Wendy and Nana crash into him and spoil his chances of impressing his superiors. As a punishment, Mr. Darling chains Nana outside before he and Mrs. Darling leave for a party, leaving the children with Aunt Millicent. The young boy eventually visits the nursery again looking for his shadow, and introduces himself as Peter Pan. After being acquainted, Wendy sews his shadow back on and is enchanted by Peter's tales of his adventures in Neverland. She asks Peter if she can kiss him, but because he does not know what a kiss is, ends up giving him a thimble instead. He returns the "kiss" by plucking an acorn from his shirt and giving it to her. She attaches it to a gold chain and hangs it around her neck. Peter invites her to be "mother" to his gang of Lost Boys. She asks to bring her brothers, John and Michael, to which Peter agrees. He grabs Tinker Bell and shakes fairy dust on the children and tells them to think of happy thoughts. John and Michael fly out the window and Peter whispers into Wendy's ear, telling her to forget her troubles. Nana, having escaped her chain, leads Mr. and Mrs. Darling back home, but they arrive too late to stop the children.

Peter, Wendy, Michael and John fly over the streets of London and into the atmosphere until they arrive to Neverland. They spy on Captain Hook's (also played by Jason Isaacs) ship from a cloud. The pirates spot them and attack by shooting cannonballs at them. One knocks Wendy far away and the other causes Michael and John to fall towards the island below. Peter tells Tinker Bell to find Wendy and take her back to the hideout while he gets the boys. But Tinker Bell reaches the hideout without Wendy and out of jealousy, tricks the Lost Boys into shooting Wendy with an arrow. Tootles's arrow hits Wendy, sending her to fall from the sky and onto the ground in the forest. When the boys reach her, they realize it was not a bird they shot, but a young girl. Peter arrives on the scene and when he ask, he learns it was Tootles who shot her. In return, Peter nearly stabs Tootles, but Wendy is revealed not to have been killed as the arrow hit the acorn necklace hung around her neck. Peter orders the boys to build a sturdy house around her, and before they go, two of the Lost Boys reveal that it was Tinker Bell who tricked them into shooting down Wendy. Angry, Peter banishes Tinker Bell and ends their friendship.

When Wendy finally awakens and comes out of the hut, she finds the Lost Boys on their knees begging her to be their mother, which she accepts. They blindfold her and lead her to their hideout, and she finally realizes Michael and John are not among the Lost Boys. Meanwhile, Michael and John stumble across a cave inhabited by the crocodile that ate Hook's right hand and awaken it from its sleep. After, Tiger Lily (Carsen Gray), a member of the local Native American tribe, captures John and Michael in her hunting trap by accident, flipping them upside down, and exposing their bare behinds. This strikes Tiger Lily as incredibly funny, and in a fit of laughter, she slips and falls off her tree perch to find herself in front of Captain Hook and his pirates. Captain Hook captures Tiger Lily, as well as John and Michael and takes them to the Black Castle to use as bait for Peter Pan. All three of them are chained to a rock and gagged as the tide rises. That night, Wendy and Peter visit the mermaids' lagoon to ask the dark and unfriendly creatures to help in locating John and Michael, and learn that Hook has her brothers. Peter and Hook engage in a duel during which Hook gains the upper hand when he disarms Peter and captures him. However, he is stopped when he hears ticking clock of the crocodile, allowing Peter, Wendy, her brothers, and Tiger Lily to escape. The crocodile tries to eat Hook, but he and the pirates make a narrow escape.

That night, after a celebration at the Indians' camp, Peter shows Wendy the fairies' home and the two share a dance. Hook spies on the two and soon comes across Tinker Bell, who is still hurt and upset from being banished, and charms her into telling him more about Peter and Wendy. Peter becomes upset with Wendy after she tries to get him to tell her if he loves her in return and tells her to go home and grow up if she's not happy. Wendy, hurt, escapes to her little house and cries herself to sleep. Peter returns to the Darling house, and sees that Wendy's mother is still waiting for any sign of her missing children. He attempts to shut the window, but after a struggle, the Darlings manage to reopen the window, refusing to let it be closed, thus making it possible for their children to remember to come home.

Back in Neverland, Hook finds the sleeping Wendy and has her carried to his ship, the Jolly Roger. There, he entices her to remain on board to tell stories to the crew and to choose any pirate name of her liking, and she chooses Red Handed Jill. Hook then sends a spy to follow her to the Lost Boys' underground hideout. The next day, Peter hears of a new pirate joining Hook's crew, and an angry Wendy reveals that she is the pirate, leading to a fight between the two. Wendy soon comes to her senses and tells her brothers that the three of them will be going home, which upsets Peter. The Lost Boys ask if they can go too, upsetting Peter even more. Wendy tries to say goodbye to Peter but he turns away in sadness. She leaves him a cup of medicine and tells him not to forget to take it.

The pirates are waiting outside and they kidnap the boys as they are leaving the tree. Wendy is bound and gagged before she can cry out to Peter Pan for help. Hook goes down into the tree to try to kill Peter once and for all, but is unable to reach him from the ledge he is on. He then puts a drop of poison in the medicine Wendy had left for him. Peter wakes up to discover that all the boys and Wendy are gone. He is about to drink the medicine, but Tinker Bell stops him and drinks the poison herself. Peter is angry at first, but soon realizes that she had done so to save him and she is going to die. Peter begins to cry, causing a snowstorm in Neverland, which makes Hook believe Peter is dead. Peter telepathically reaches out to children sleeping around the world, the Darlings, Aunt Millicent, the Lost Boys, and even the pirates to bring Tinker Bell back to assert their belief in fairies, which brings Tinker Bell back to life.

Peter and Tinker Bell save Wendy and the boys from walking the plank by creating a fake shadow of the crocodile flying behind sail, distracting Hook and his men, and the children then fight against the pirates. After discovering how to fly, Hook sprinkles himself with Tinker Bell's fairy dust and fights Peter in a duel while high up in the air. In order to gain the upper hand, Hook taunts him about Wendy abandoning him and forgetting all about him when she grows up. Weakened by those thoughts and unable to fight, Peter gives in to his inevitable death. Seeing this as goodbye, Wendy gives Peter her hidden kiss, which gives him the strength to recover. Peter re-engages Hook, who loses his confidence and falls in the water, where he is swallowed whole by the crocodile.

Peter takes control of the ship, and brings Wendy back to London with her brothers and the Lost Boys. Mr. and Mrs. Darling are overjoyed at the return of their children, and adopt the Lost Boys. Slightly, who got lost on the way to London and arrives at the house too late, is adopted by the lonely Aunt Millicent. Peter promises never to forget Wendy and to return someday before heading back to Neverland with Tinker Bell. According to the adult Wendy, she never saw Peter Pan, but she continues to tell his story to her own children and grandchildren so that his legacy will last forever.


  • Jeremy Sumpter as Peter Pan – the title character, a young boy who does not want to grow up. He develops romantic feelings for Wendy, clearly evident when Hook taunts him by insinuating Wendy will forget about him and he will be replaced by a husband. He is brave, determined, cocky, and optimistic as he is only able to think happy thoughts. He cares about Tink even though he gets angry at her, and attempts to revive her after she drinks the poison to save his life. He wants to always be a young boy who has everlasting fun and adventure. Unlike other versions, Peter Pan's own feelings, emotions and even mere presence affect various aspects of the weather.
  • Rachel Hurd-Wood as Wendy Darling/Red-handed Jill – the eldest of the Darling children. She is a motherly figure to the Lost Boys and her younger brothers, John and Michael. At first she does not want to grow up, but eventually, she accepts she must and returns home. She cares about Peter's safety and wellbeing and seems to reciprocate his feelings for her.
  • Jason Isaacs as Mr. George Darling/Captain Hook – the Darling children's father and a banker who knows the cost of everything, even a hug. He also plays Captain Hook, Peter Pan's archenemy since Peter cut off his hand and fed it to a crocodile which has followed Hook ever since. He is the captain of the Jolly Roger and many of his happy thoughts are murderous. He admits his hook can be quite useful, but mourns the loss of his right hand.
  • Lynn Redgrave as Aunt Millicent - the maternal aunt of the three Darling children, who wants to help Wendy into becoming an adult.
  • Richard Briers as Smee - Hook's humorous right-hand man.
  • Olivia Williams as Mrs. Mary Darling - the matriarch of the Darling family who is the loveliest lady in Bloomsbury. She is said to have a kiss that Wendy can never get and that is perfectly conspicuous on the right hand corner of her mouth.
  • Harry Newell as John Darling - the second eldest of the Darling family. Tiger Lily gives him a kiss which gives him strength to open the gate.
  • Freddie Popplewell as Michael Darling - the youngest who carries a teddy bear with him.
  • Ludivine Sagnier as Tinker Bell - a tinker fairy, and Peter Pan's friend. She is jealous of Wendy and cares so deeply for Peter that she is willing to sacrifice her life for him.
  • Rebel as Nana - the dog nurse of the Darling family.
  • Saffron Burrows - narrator/adult Wendy (the adult Wendy was eventually edited out before release, and only the rough cut of this sequence exists, though the narration remained)
  • Carsen Gray as Tiger Lily - the daughter of a Native American chief captured by Hook along with John and Michael as bait for Peter Pan

The Lost Boys


After the script was written, Stephen Cox, Chief Press Officer for Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, gave the hospital's approval, saying, "We have read the script by P. J. Hogan and Michael Goldenberg and are delighted to report that we feel that it is in keeping with the original work whilst communicating to an audience with modern sensibilities."[4] The visual effects in the film are a mixture of practical and digital. The fairies that appear in the film are actors composited into the film with some digital enhancements. According to actor Jason Isaacs, the filmmakers were impressed with actress Ludivine Sagnier's performance and decided to abandon their plans to make Tinker Bell entirely computer animated.[5] The film also features a large, computer-generated crocodile. Another character, an animatronic parrot, appears in some scenes on the pirate ship. A complex harness was built to send the live-action actors rotating and gliding through the air for the flight sequences. They were then composited into the shots of London and Never Land, although they are sometimes replaced with computer-generated figures. One other aspect of bringing the story to life was the complex sword-fighting sequences, for which the actors were trained. Sumpter said that, "I had to train for five months before the shoot. I had to do harness training to learn how to fly and learn how to swordfight," and that, "I got stabbed a couple of times with a sword."[6] Hogan says that the flying scenes were very difficult to accomplish, but that, "it was tougher on the kids than it was for me. They were up there on the harness 12' off the ground, having to make it look like flying is easy and fun."[7] Sumpter grew several inches over the course of the film's production, requiring staging tricks to retain Hook's height advantage over Peter in face-to-face scenes late in the process. Hollywood-based producer Lucy Fisher also said that, "The window he flies out of had to be enlarged twice."[5] The film is dedicated to Dodi Al-Fayed, who was executive producer of the 1991 film Hook. Al-Fayed planned to produce a live action version of Peter Pan, and shared his ideas with Princess Diana (who was President of Great Ormond St Hospital), who said she "could not wait to see the production once it was underway." Al-Fayed's father, Mohammed Al-Fayed, co-produced the 2003 adaptation of the classic tale after his son died in the car crash which also killed Princess Diana.[8] Finding Neverland, a film about J. M. Barrie and the creation of Peter Pan, was originally scheduled to be released in 2003, but the producers of this film – who held the screen rights to the story – refused permission for that film to use scenes from the play unless its release was delayed until the following year.[citation needed] Filming, which lasted about twelve months and ended in June 2003, took place entirely inside sound stages on Australia's Gold Coast, Queensland.[9] According to Fisher, the decision to shoot in Australia was based on the low value of the Australian dollar at that time.[9] Hogan had originally planned on filming in a variety of locations such as Tahiti, New Zealand, and London but abandoned this idea after scouting some of the locations.[10] Filming on sound stages did help "retain some of the theatricality of the original play", something which Hogan thought was important.[11] Universal distributed in France and in all countries where English was the primary language (including the US and Canada), while Columbia/Revolution released the film in the rest of the world. The US TV rights are owned by Debmar-Mercury/Lions Gate Entertainment under license from Revolution, and co-distributed by 20th Television.

Deleted epilogue[edit]

An alternate, extended ending based on Barrie's epilogue is featured on the DVD, but with unfinished special effects and no music. In this version, Peter returns to the London house years later, finding an adult Wendy. He is deeply hurt when she tells him she has grown up, and walks over to her own daughter, asleep in bed. His sobbing awakes the little girl, and she introduces herself as Jane. Peter grins excitedly at Wendy, and with her mother's permission, Jane flies away with Peter to Neverland as Wendy watches them through the window.


For the promotion of the film, the original novel of Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie was released with the cover that was the same look as the teaser poster. A video game was also released only for the Game Boy Advance on November 4, 2003. In it players can fly, fight, and solve various puzzles and collect special objects for special prizes and bonus points. The game received mixed reviews overall with Gamezone giving it a 6.4/10, Cubed3 giving it a 5.2/10, and Nintendo Power giving it a 2.2/5.[citation needed] Cubed3 criticised the game for the bad dialogue and repetitive and rushed gameplay, but praising the graphics and sound.


This film releases on in theater on November 22, 2003 in Australia, on December 24, 2003 in the United Kingdom of Britain and on December 25, 2003 in the United States of America and Canada. On March 2004, This film was released on VHS and DVD on May 4, 2004. This film had aires on Encore Starz on Demand with Babe: Pig in the City, Casper, The Borrowers and The Little Rascals since March 2004. and on HDNet Movies since July 2005.


The film received generally positive reviews from film critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 77% based on 141 reviews.[12] Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film three and a half out of four stars.[13] MovieGuide has also favourably reviewed the film, strongly praising its quality with four out of four stars, and calling it "a wonderfully crafted, morally uplifting movie that intentionally emphasizes the fantasy elements of the story both in dialogue and design of the film."[14] The film earned $48,462,608 at the box office in the United States and another $73.5 million outside the US, which brings the world wide total to nearly $122 million.[3] It faced competition from the highly anticipated The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King released the week before, and Cheaper by the Dozen which opened on the same day. Jeremy Sumpter won a Saturn Award for Best Performance by a younger actor,[15] for which Rachel Hurd-Wood was also nominated. The film was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Film. Sumpter also won a 2004 Young Artist Award; Harry Newell, Rachel Hurd-Wood, and Carsen Gray were all nominated.[16]


  1. ^ a b "Peter Pan (2003): Full Production Credits". New York Times. Retrieved 29 March 2012. 
  2. ^ "‘Gigli’s’ Real Price Tag — Or, How Studios Lie About Budgets". The Wrap. 
  3. ^ a b "Peter Pan (2003)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 1 September 2009. 
  4. ^ ""Peter Pan" Soars Again". 24 June 2002. Retrieved 4 January 2009. 
  5. ^ a b Wloszczyna, Susan (7 August 2003). "A Mature Peter Pan". USA Today. Retrieved 10 September 2008. 
  6. ^ Murray, Rebecca. "Interview with "Peter Pan" Star, Jeremy Sumpter". Retrieved 16 September 2008. 
  7. ^ Murray, Rebecca. "Director PJ Hogan Discovers Neverland With "Peter Pan"". Retrieved 16 September 2008. 
  8. ^ "Dodi Al-Fayed – Peter Pan". The first step was for Dodi to negotiate an extension of the rights granted by the hospital to his father. He was in the process of doing that when he was killed. 
  9. ^ a b Mitchell, Peter (23 December 2003). "Dark days loom for Aussie film industry". The Age. Australia: The Age Company Ltd. Retrieved 11 September 2008. 
  10. ^ Whipp, Glenn (29 December 2003). "Latest 'Pan' film lets boys be boys, preserves spirit of classic". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 16 September 2008. [dead link]
  11. ^ Ramshaw, Mark. "Peter Pan: Hook, Line and Tinker". VFXWorld. AWN,Inc. Retrieved 15 January 2004. 
  12. ^ "Peter Pan (2003)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 1 September 2009. 
  13. ^ Ebert, Roger (24 December 2003). "Peter Pan Review". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 1 September 2009. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Past Saturn Awards". The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. Retrieved 11 September 2008. 
  16. ^ "Awards for Peter Pan (2003)"., Inc. Retrieved 11 September 2008. 

External links[edit]