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Released February 4, 1996 (miniseries)
Duration 120 min (miniseries)
187 min (full movie)
Director Charles Sturridge
Written by Simon Moore
Jonathan Swift (novel)
Music Trevor Jones
Studio Hallmark Entertainment
Rated PG

Promotional poster

Gulliver's Travels was a two-part 1996 miniseries adaptation of the Jonathan Swift novel. A co-production between Channel 4 Television Corporation, Jim Henson Productions, and RHI Entertainment Inc., Gulliver's Travels starred Ted Danson as Gulliver and featured an international all-star cast. It aired on NBC over two consecutive nights, on February 4 and February 5.

The production had been in the works since 1989, shortly after the cancellation of The Jim Henson Hour, when it was intended as a four hour mini-series combining animatronics and live actors, initially scheduled for Easter 1990. Jim Henson was set to executive produce.[1] Producer Duncan Kenworthy recalled the situation:

β€œIt was something I'd been developing while Jim was still alive. He was in on some of the meetings, but we just couldn't raise the money. We wanted to do the whole book -- nobody had ever done it before, and this is what interested Jim. I could have financed a film of the first two parts instantly, but not the rest.[2]”

The project remained on the schedule following Henson's death and the dissolution of the Disney deal,[3] but actual filming did not begin until 1995. As Kenworthy recalled, "I thought that after four years of trying to find the financing, it was never going to get made... I was so thrilled that the project finally got off the ground."[2] While the final production was co-produced by the Jim Henson Company, the involvement of Jim Henson's Creature Shop was limited to make-up effects for the Yahoos and the construction of a rod-puppet giant wasp.

Gulliver's Travels was hailed for its inclusion of all four "books" of Jonathan Swift's novel. The film added a new parallel frame story, however, in which Gulliver, returned to England, is placed in Bedlam by a designing doctor, and must prove his sanity. Other alterations include a more malevolent conceptualization of the governor of Glubbdubdrib (rechristened "The Sorceror") and a softened ending, regarding Gulliver's reunion with family. The production itself was a family affair; apart from Ted Danson's teaming with wife Mary Steenburgen, director Charles Sturridge's wife played Phoebe Nicholls played the Empress of Lilliput and their son Thomas Sturridge played Tom Gulliver while brothers James Fox and Edward Fox played Dr. Bates and General Limtoc respectively.


Additional Credits


Ted Danson as Lemuel Gulliver
Mary Steenburgen as Mary Gulliver
James Fox as Dr. Bates
Ned Beatty as Farmer Grultrud
Geraldine Chaplin as Empress Munodi
Graham Crowden as Professor of Politics
Edward Fox as General Limtoc
John Gielgud as Professor of Sunlight
Robert Hardy as Dr. Parnell
Isabelle Huppert as the voice of Mistress
Shashi Kapoor as the Rajah
Nicholas Lyndhurst as Clustril
Phoebe Nicholls as Empress of Lilliput
Karyn Parsons as Lady-in-Waiting
Edward Petherbridge as Dr. Pritchard
Kristin Scott Thomas as the Immortal Gatekeeper
Omar Sharif as the Sorceror
John Standing as Admiral Bolgolam
John Wells as Flimnap the Treasurer
Richard Wilson as the Professor of Languages
Alfre Woodard as the Queen of Brobdingnag
Edward Woodward as Drunlo
Peter O'Toole as the Emperor of Lilliput
Warwick Davis as Grildrig
Kate Maberly as Glumdalclitch
Thomas Sturridge as Tom Gulliver
Annette Badland as Farmer Grultrud's Wife
Navin Chowdhry as Prince Munodi

See also


  1. ↑ "Elsewhere in Television." Associate Press wire. July 29, 1989.
  2. ↑ 2.0 2.1 Bacon, Matt. No Strings Attached. p. 151
  3. ↑ Kolson, Ann. Knight-Ridder new service. June 9, 1990.