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The Adventures of Pinocchio character
Original art by Enrico Mazzanti
First appearanceThe Adventures of Pinocchio (1883)
Created byCarlo Collodi
SpeciesWooden marionette (later Human)
FamilyMister Geppetto (father)

Pinocchio (/pɪˈnki/ pih-NOH-kee-oh,[1] Italian: [piˈnɔkkjo]) is a fictional character and the protagonist of the children's novel The Adventures of Pinocchio (1883) by Italian writer Carlo Collodi of Florence, Tuscany.[2][3] Pinocchio was carved by a woodcarver named Geppetto in a Tuscan village. He was created as a wooden puppet but he dreams of becoming a real boy. He is notably characterized for his frequent tendency to lie, which causes his nose to grow.[4]

Pinocchio is a cultural icon. He is one of the most reimagined characters in children's literature. His story has been adapted into other media, notably the 1940 Disney film Pinocchio.[5] The origin of the name Pinocchio is uncertain; it may be related to the word pino (pine), as the puppet is made of wood, in the diminutive Tuscan form pinocchio (hence equivalent to "little piney") – the author used Florentine dialect frequently in the book – and is also similar to Pino, a nickname for Giuseppe (the Italian form of Joseph), of which Geppetto (the name of Pinocchio's maker) is also a nickname (hence equivalent to "little Joey").

Fictional character biography[edit]

Pinocchio, by Carlo Chiostri (1901)

Pinocchio's characterization varies across interpretations, but several aspects are consistent across all adaptations: Pinocchio is a puppet; Pinocchio's maker is Geppetto; and Pinocchio's nose grows when he lies.[6]

Pinocchio is known for having a short nose that becomes longer when he is under stress (chapter 3), especially while lying. In the original tale, Collodi describes him as a "rascal," "imp," "scapegrace," "disgrace," "ragamuffin," and "confirmed rogue," with even his father, carpenter Geppetto, referring to him as a "wretched boy." Upon being born, Pinocchio immediately laughs derisively in his creator's face, whereupon he steals the old man's wig.

Pinocchio's bad behavior, rather than being charming or endearing, is meant to serve as a warning. Collodi originally intended the story, which was first published in 1881, to be a tragedy. It concluded with the puppet’s execution. Pinocchio’s enemies, the Fox and the Cat, bind his arms, pass a noose around his throat, and hang him from the branch of an oak tree.[7]

a tempestuous northerly wind began to blow and roar angrily, and it beat the poor puppet from side to side, making him swing violently, like the clatter of a bell ringing for a wedding. And the swinging gave him atrocious spasms...His breath failed him and he could say no more. He shut his eyes, opened his mouth, stretched his legs, gave a long shudder, and hung stiff and insensible.

Clothing and character[edit]

Pinocchio is a wooden marionette (a puppet that is manipulated with wires) and not a hand puppet (directly controlled from inside by the puppeteer's hand). But the piece of wood from which he is derived is animated, and so Pinocchio moves independently. Basically good, he often gets carried away by bad company and is prone to lying. His nose will become longer and longer once he starts lying to others.[3] Because of these characteristics he often finds himself in trouble. Pinocchio undergoes transformations during the novel: he promises The Fairy with Turquoise Hair to become a real boy, flees with Candlewick to the Land of Toys, becomes a donkey, joins a circus, and becomes a puppet again. In the last chapter, out of the mouth of The Terrible Dogfish with Geppetto, Pinocchio finally stops being a puppet and becomes a real boy (thanks to the intervention of the Fairy in a dream).

In the novel, Pinocchio is often depicted with a pointy hat, a jacket and a pair of colored, knee-length pants. In the Disney version, the appearance is very different, and the character is dressed in Tyrolean style, with Lederhosen and a hat with a feather.


Pinocchio's nose is his best known characteristic. It grows in length when he tells a lie: this appears in chapter XVI. Collodi himself, in Note gaie claims how "to hide the truth of a speculum animae (mirror of the soul) face [ ... ] is added to the true nose another papier-mache nose". There is an inconsistency, however, because his nose grows when it is first carved by Geppetto, without Pinocchio ever lying.

The nose appears only a couple of times in the story, but it reveals the Blue Fairy's power over Pinocchio when he acts disobediently. After the boy's struggling and weeping over his deformed nose, the Blue Fairy summons woodpeckers to peck it back to normal.

Literary analysis[edit]

Some literary analysts have described Pinocchio as an epic hero. Like many Western literary heroes, such as Odysseus, Pinocchio descends into hell; he also experiences rebirth through metamorphosis, a common motif in fantasy literature.[8]

Before writing Pinocchio, Collodi wrote a number of didactic children's stories for the then-recently unified Italy, including a series about an unruly boy who undergoes humiliating experiences while traveling the country, titled Viaggio per l'Italia di Giannettino ("Little Johnny's voyage through Italy").[9] Throughout Pinocchio, Collodi chastises Pinocchio for his lack of moral fiber and his persistent rejection of responsibility and desire for fun.

The structure of the story of Pinocchio follows that of the folktales of peasants who venture out into the world but are naïvely unprepared for what they find, and get into ridiculous situations.[10] At the time of the writing of the book, this was a serious problem, arising partly from the industrialization of Italy, which led to a growing need for reliable labour in the cities; the problem was exacerbated by similar, more or less simultaneous, demands for labour in the industrialization of other countries. One major effect was the emigration of much of the Italian peasantry to cities and to foreign countries such as the United States.

The main imperatives demanded of Pinocchio are to work, be good, and study. And in the end Pinocchio's willingness to provide for his father and devote himself to these things transforms him into a real boy with modern comforts.[8]

Media portrayals[edit]

Earliest adaptations[edit]

Disney's version[edit]

Pinocchio 1940.jpg
Pinocchio as seen in Walt Disney's Pinocchio
First appearancePinocchio (1940)
Created byCarlo Collodi
Walt Disney
Voiced by
  • Dickie Jones (original film)
  • Peter Westy (Who Framed Roger Rabbit)
  • Michael Welch (Disney's House of Mouse)
  • Seth Adkins (Kingdom Hearts)

When Walt Disney Productions was developing the story for their film version of Pinocchio (1940), they intended to keep the obnoxious aspects of the original character, but Walt Disney himself felt that this made the character too unlikable, so alterations were made to incorporate traits of mischief and innocence to make Pinocchio more likable. Pinocchio was voiced by Dickie Jones. Today, the film is considered one of the finest Disney features ever made, and one of the greatest animated films of all time, with a rare 100% rating on the website Rotten Tomatoes. In the video game adaptation of the film, Pinocchio lives out (mostly) the same role as the film, traveling through the world filled with temptations and battling various forces.

This Disney incarnation was later used in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, voiced by Peter Westy; Disney's House of Mouse, voiced by Michael Welch; and Kingdom Hearts, voiced by Seth Adkins. Pinocchio makes cameo appearances in Aladdin, Teacher's Pet, the Mickey Mouse television series, and Tangled.[11]

In the early 1990s Elijah Wood portrayed the real-boy version of Pinocchio in the live-action segments for the updated Jiminy Cricket educational serials I'm No Fool and You, in addition to the new shorts of I'm No Fool.

In the video game Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion Pinocchio is featured as one of the many iconic Disney characters kidnapped by the evil witch Mizrabel in her plot to dominate their world; he is imprisoned alongside Genie in the Cave of Wonders until eventually being rescued by Mickey Mouse.

Later 20th-century adaptations[edit]

Totò portrayed Pinocchio in Toto in Color
  • Italian comedian Totò portrayed Pinocchio in the 1952 film Toto in Color (Totò a colori).
  • Actor Mel Blanc voiced Pinocchio in a 1953 radio adaptation of the story. This is the second adaptation of Pinocchio with Mel Blanc involved, as Blanc voiced Gideon the Cat in the 1940 Disney film until all of his lines were deleted, save for three hiccups.
  • Musician and comedian Spike Jones portrayed Pinocchio in the first television adaptation, a satirical version aired 24 April 1954 as an episode of The Spike Jones Show.
  • Pinocchio was portrayed by thirteen-year-old Andrew Irvine as 'Nokie'[12] in the 1955 ITV children's series Round at the Redways.
  • Pinocchio (Turlis Abenteuer) (1967) is an East German film, directed by Walter Beck. Pinocchio (Turli) is a puppet, voiced by actress Gina Presgott. In the final scene, as a boy, he is portrayed by Uwe Thielisch.
  • De avonturen van Pinokkio (1968–69) is a Dutch TV miniseries. Pinocchio is portrayed by actress Wieteke van Dort.
Pinocchio and Geppetto in Pinocchio: The Series
  • Tatsunoko Productions created a 52-episode anime series entitled Pinocchio: The Series, first aired in 1972. This series has a distinctly darker, more sadistic theme, and portrays the main character Pinocchio (Mokku) as suffering from constant physical and psychological abuse and freak accidents. Pinocchio was voiced by actress Yuko Maruyama and in the 1992 English-dubbed version by actor Thor Bishopric.
Pinocchio as portrayed in Giuliano Cenci's film The Adventures of Pinocchio (1972)
  • The 1977 animated film Spinnolio, created by John Weldon for the National Film Board of Canada, parodies Pinocchio with the story of a wooden boy who never comes to life, but nobody notices because his apparent skill at listening without talking makes him the ideal candidate for a job as manager of a department store's complaints desk.[13]
  • Si Boneka Kayu, Pinokio (Pinocchio the wood puppet) is the 1979 Indonesian musical film, directed by Willy Willianto, written by Imam Tantowi and based on the original story with some additional adaptations. Pinocchio is portrayed by the Indonesian actor and comedian Ateng.
  • He was portrayed by actor Carmelo Bene in the Italian TV movie Pinocchio ovvero lo spettacolo della provvidenza (1999).

21st-century adaptations[edit]

  • Pinocchio is a recurring character in the television series Once Upon a Time (2011–16). He appears in Storybrooke in the form of a mysterious man named August Booth (played by Eion Bailey). In the Enchanted Forest, his younger self is played by Jakob Davies, but he was released into our world before the curse by Geppetto; Geppetto had been charged with making a magic cabinet to allow Snow White and series protagonist Emma Swan to escape the curse, but Geppetto arranged for Pinocchio to enter the cabinet instead as he feared that his son would cease to exist if the curse was cast as there would have been no way for him to be born without magic. August begins to return to his wooden state towards the end of the first season due to his selfishness, but following his near death by Tamara, the Blue Fairy restored Pinocchio to his child self for his compassion and courage and he resumes living with Geppetto. In the fourth season, he was restored to his adult state by Rumplestiltskin so that he could torture him for information about the Author. In the sixth season, it was revealed that August was the one who inspired Emma to take on the surname Swan after he shared with her the fairy tale The Ugly Duckling when they were kids.
  • Pinocchio was the subject of the 2015 satirical novel Splintered: A Political Fairy Tale by Thomas London.
  • Musical "Pinocchio - Superstar" produced by Norberto Bertassi and performed by young talents association Teatro. Premiered on 20 July 2016 in Mödling, Austria.
  • Pinocchio, a 2014–2015 South Korean television series starring Lee Jong-suk and Park Shin-hye.
  • Rooster Teeth's web series RWBY features a character named Penny Polendina, who alludes to Pinocchio.

In popular culture[edit]

  • The story is set in a villa in Collodi, where Carlo Collodi had spent his youth, in 1826. This villa is now named Villa Pinocchio.[15]
  • In the paintings series "La morte di Pinocchio", Walther Jervolino (1944-2012), an Italian painter and engraver, shows Pinocchio being executed with arrows or decapitated, thus presenting an alternative story ending.
  • In A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), the story of Pinocchio is woven throughout the story as a robot, an artificial boy, struggles to become real through a search for the Blue Fairy.[16]
  • In Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), the story of Pinocchio is referenced to symbolize the cybernetic villain Ultron becoming free of his masters (the Avengers) orders'. A dark version of the Disney Pinocchio song "I've Got No Strings" is also quoted by him, and used in promotional material for the film.[17]
  • Unicode emoji list since version 9.0 (2016) includes character U+1F925 🤥 LYING FACE with description "face, lie, lying face, Pinocchio".[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "pinocchio noun - Definition, pictures, pronunciation and usage notes | Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary at". 2014-10-16. Retrieved 2019-08-02.
  2. ^ Joy Lo Dico (2009-05-02). "Classics corner: Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi | Culture". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-10-01.
  3. ^ a b Martin, Clancy (2015-02-06). "What the Original "Pinocchio" Really Says About Lying". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2015-10-01.
  4. ^ Reardon, Sara (2013-06-07). "Carlo Collodi's Pinocchio: Why is the original Pinocchio subjected to such sadistic treatment?". Retrieved 2013-06-17.
  5. ^ "Pinocchio: Carlo Collodi - Children's Literature Review". Retrieved 2015-10-01.
  6. ^ Linda Falcone (2007). Italian, It's All Greek to Me: Everything You Don't Know About Italian ... ISBN 9781571431714. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
  7. ^ Rich, Nathaniel (2011-10-24). "Carlo Collodi's Pinocchio: Why is the original Pinocchio subjected to such sadistic treatment?". Retrieved 2015-10-01.
  8. ^ a b Morrissey, Thomas J., and Richard Wunderlich. "Death and Rebirth in Pinocchio." Children's Literature 11 (1983): 64–75.
  9. ^ Gaetana Marrone; Paolo Puppa (26 December 2006). Encyclopedia of Italian Literary Studies. Routledge. pp. 485–. ISBN 978-1-135-45530-9.
  10. ^ Collodi, Carlo (1996). "Introduction". In Zipes, Jack (ed.). Pinocchio. Penguin Books. pp. xiii–xv.
  11. ^ "Video Interview with TANGLED Directors Nathan Greno and Byron Howard". Collider. 2010-11-21. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  12. ^ "Andy Ivine: Bio, Chapter 1". 2012-10-14. Retrieved 2015-10-01.
  13. ^ "Canadian animation recommended—for Canadians". Baltimore Sun, January 28, 1983.
  14. ^ Trumbore, Dave (6 November 2018). "Netflix Sets Guillermo del Toro's 'Pinocchio' and Henry Selick's 'Wendell & Wild' for 2021". Collider. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  15. ^ "Pinocchio's Luxury Villa For Sale In Tuscany". Lionard. Retrieved 2015-10-01.
  16. ^ West, Rebecca (2002). "The Persistent Puppet: Pinocchio's Heirs in Contemporary Fiction and Film". University of Chicago. Retrieved 2016-07-06.
  17. ^ McMillan, Graeme (2014-10-22). "What's Revealed in the Leaked 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Trailer?". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-07-06.
  18. ^ "Emoji List, v11.0". Retrieved 2018-10-24.

External links[edit]