The Gruffalo (film)

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The Gruffalo
The Gruffalo (film) poster.jpg
Poster for The Gruffalo
Based on The Gruffalo
by Julia Donaldson
Written by Julia Donaldson
Axel Scheffler
Directed by Max Lang
Jakob Schuh
Starring James Corden
Robbie Coltrane
Helena Bonham Carter
John Hurt
Rob Brydon
Tom Wilkinson
Theme music composer René Aubry
Country of origin United Kingdom, Germany
Original language(s) English, German
Producer(s) Martin Pope
Michael Rose
Running time 27 minutes
Production company(s) Magic Light Pictures
Studio Soi
Distributor Magic Light Pictures
Original network BBC One
Original release
  • 25 December 2009 (2009-12-25)

The Gruffalo is a 2009 British-German short computer animated TV film based on the picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

Directed by Jakob Schuh and Max Lang, the film was produced by Michael Rose and Martin Pope of Magic Light Pictures, London, in association with the award winning Studio Soi in Ludwigsburg, Germany, who developed and created the film.[1]

The cast includes Helena Bonham Carter, Rob Brydon, Robbie Coltrane, James Corden, John Hurt and Tom Wilkinson.

9.8 million people watched the UK premiere on BBC One, Friday 25 December 2009 and the film went on to receive both an Academy Award[2] and a BAFTA nomination.[3] The short will be screened in US theaters, where it will be distributed by Kidtoon Films. Also, a The Wiggles feature will be screened alongside it. In December 2012, the film and its sequel The Gruffalo's Child premiered on television in the United States on PBS Kids Sprout.[4]


A mother squirrel tells a story to her two sons about a mouse who takes a walk through the woods in search of a nut. Encountering three predators who all wish to eat him - first a fox, then an owl, then a snake - the plucky mouse uses his wits to survive. He lies to each one that he is meeting a monster with terrible features (calling his imaginary creature a ‘Gruffalo’), says that its favourite food is whichever animal he is speaking to at the time, and that he is meeting the Gruffalo "right here". Each predator then panics and runs away.

Mouse is confident until he suddenly comes face to face with a real Gruffalo, exactly as he had described it. Mouse then says that everyone is afraid of him in the forest, asking the Gruffalo to follow him and see. As the two of them meet animals in the forest, the presence of the Gruffalo frightens them: The Gruffalo believes they are afraid of the mouse. Mouse's tummy rumbles and he says his favourite food is Gruffalo Crumble. Finally safe, he finds a nut, and can eat it in peace.


Background and production[edit]

The Gruffalo, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, was published in 1999 and has sold over 5 million copies worldwide. In a BBC Radio 2 poll in 2009, the book was voted as the UK’s favourite bedtime story.[5] The book has been adapted into a 27-minute animated film, which was broadcast on BBC One in the UK on 25 December 2009. This new version features Robbie Coltrane in the title role and James Corden as the mouse as well as Helena Bonham Carter as the mother squirrel narrator and Rob Brydon as the Snake. The production was animated at the award winning Studio Soi in Germany and produced through Magic Light Pictures. The film also has the voices of John Hurt as the Owl and Tom Wilkinson as the Fox. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Short Film (Animated) on 25 January 2011. The film was also nominated for a BAFTA in 2010.


The film premiered on BBC One, Christmas Day 2009, watched by 9.8 million people, with The Daily Mirror hailing it as "a family classic for years to come".[6] Review website Den of Geek described it as an "utterly charming piece of magic".[7] Paul Connolly of The Daily Mail called it "captivating".

The film has been broadcast across the world, including on ZDF in Germany. It premiered on United States television on 9 December 2010 on ABC Family during its 25 Days of Christmas programming block.[8] It also aired on YTV in Canada on 18 December 2011.

The Gruffalo has also been shown on Nick Jr in the UK and is distributed on DVD by Entertainment One. NCircle distribute the DVD in the USA, Phase 4 in Canada and Concorde in Germany.

A Scottish Gaelic version has also been produced, with the voice of the Gruffalo provided by Bill Paterson. An Gruffalo was first shown on BBC Alba on Christmas Eve 2010.

The film has also proved a hit with festival audiences around the world. On top of its Academy Award and BAFTA nominations it has also been awarded prizes at festivals including Annecy International Animation Festival (France), Anima Mundi (Brazil), The Broadcast Awards 2011 (UK), Cartoons on the Bay (Italy), Chicago International Children's Festival (Canada), CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival (Canada), Ottawa International Animation Festival (Canada), Prix Jeunesse (Germany), Sapporo Short Fest (Japan), Shanghai Television Festival (China) and Internationales Trick Film Festival (Germany). The Gruffalo was also nominated for the prestigious Cartoon d'or 2011.

Awards and Nominations[edit]

Ceremony Recipient Category Result
83rd Academy Awards[2] Jakob Schuh
Max Lang
Best Animated Short Film Nominated
63rd British Academy Film Awards[3] Michael Rose
Martin Pope
Jakob Schuh
Max Lang
Best Short Animation Nominated
Cartoon d'or [9] Jakob Schuh
Max Lang
Cartoon d’Or Nominated
Anima Mundi Festival 2010 [10] Jakob Schuh
Max Lang
Best Short For Children Won
Annecy International Animated Film Festival 2010 [11] Jakob Schuh
Max Lang
Award For Best TV Special Won
Broadcast Awards 2011[12] Magic Light Pictures in association with Studio Soi Best Children's Programme Won
CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival 2011[13] Jakob Schuh
Max Lang
Audience Award Won
Chicago International Children's Film Festival Jakob Schuh
Max Lang
Best of the Fest Won
Ottawa International Animation Festival 2010 [14] Jakob Schuh
Max Lang
Best Television Animation Made for Children Won
Sapporo Short Fest 2010[15] Jakob Schuh
Max Lang
Children's Choice Award Silver Won


The sequel to the Gruffalo, based on the follow-up to the picture book, was shown on BBC One on Christmas Day 2011.


  1. ^ "highlights - 25.12.2010 euromaxx". Deutsche Welle (YouTube). 2010-12-25. Retrieved 2012-02-23. 
  2. ^ a b "Nominees for the 83rd Academy Awards". Retrieved 2011-01-25. 
  3. ^ a b "Film Awards Nominations". BAFTA website. 21 January 2010. 
  4. ^ Sarto, Dan (7 December 2012). "Gruffalo’s Child to Premiere on Sprout". Animation World Network. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "Children's favourite, the Gruffalo, has landed his own TV show". Mail Online (London: Daily Mail). 21 November 2009. Retrieved 25 December 2009. 
  6. ^ The Daily Mail (13 May 2010). "The Daily Mail review of the Gruffalo". The Daily Mail. 
  7. ^ Pete Dillon-Trenchard (26 December 2009). "The Gruffalo review". Den of Geek. 
  8. ^ Robert Seidman (2 November 2010). "ABC Christmas Schedule". TV By The Numbers. 
  9. ^ "Cartoon d’Or nominations". The Cartoon d’Or. Retrieved 2011-10-12. 
  10. ^ "Anima Mundi Award winners accessdate=2011-10-13". 
  11. ^ "Annecy Animation Festival Award Winners". Retrieved 2011-10-13. 
  12. ^ "Broadcast Awards winners accessdate=2011-10-13". 
  13. ^ Vlessing, Etan (2011-06-06). "'The Gruffalo' Takes Audience Award in Toronto". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2011-06-06. 
  14. ^ "Ottawa International Animation Festival Award winners accessdate=2011-10-13". 
  15. ^ "Sapporo Award winners". Retrieved 2011-10-13. 

External links[edit]