- “Prove yourself brave, truthful, and unselfish, and someday, you will be a real boy.”
- ―The Blue Fairy to Pinocchio
Pinocchio is the protagonist of Disney's 1940 animated feature film of the same name. He is a living puppet who must prove himself worthy to become a real boy, with the help of Jiminy Cricket as his conscience.
In the original Italian serial by Carlo Collodi, Pinocchio was purposely portrayed as a bit more misbehaved, and obnoxious. The filmmakers stayed true to this once production on their adaptation began, resulting in a character that was wise-cracking and brazen, a drastically different interpretation of the final product. Walt Disney disliked this version of the character, both in terms of his personality and appearance; he was initially designed to resemble an actual puppet with a geometrical shape. Walt felt the character looked too lifeless, despite the accuracy. Animator Milt Kahl was also dissatisfied with the version of Pinocchio and did test animation of his own that featured a design much closer to what's in the final film. According to Kahl, the design came from the mindset that he was animating an actual little boy, rather than a puppet. Walt approved, and after further development, the look of Disney's Pinocchio was finalized.
Additionally, Pinocchio's personality was greatly reworked to portray that of a believable and innocent child. This shift was meant to make the character more likable to audiences, thus enhancing the overall appeal of the film, itself. Around the same time of this shift, Walt felt the story lacked "warmth" and "love"; to remedy this, he took a minor character from the Collodi stories (the "Talking Cricket") and developed him into a comedic, sidekick-character known as Jiminy Cricket, to act as Pinocchio's friend throughout the journey. The relationship between Pinocchio and Jiminy would thusly play a major role in the story's events and overall heart.
- “Remember, a boy who won't be good might just as well be made of wood.”
- ―The Blue Fairy
Once he is given life by the Blue Fairy, Pinocchio acts his age; he is very whimsical, childlike, and impressionable. Because of his youthful ignorance, he can be seen as rather mischievous, pretty gullible, over trusting, and often lands himself into trouble, albeit unintentionally. This is seen several times throughout the film, and the trait, unfortunately, makes Pinocchio an easy pawn in the schemes or motivations of various antagonists. Even so, as the film progresses, Pinocchio notably learns from experiences and takes them into account; eventually becoming selfless, sensible, brave, and obtaining impressive leadership qualities. This is finally put into the forefront once the film nears its climax, as Pinocchio is faced with the task of rescuing his father from the jaws of the deadly whale, Monstro, which he proceeds in carrying out by entirely using his own intelligence and craft. Pinocchio's daring decision to risk his life for his loved ones ultimately grants him his wish of becoming a real boy.
Pinocchio is a slender marionette that is made to look like a cute little boy with a round, chubby face. He has big, bright blue eyes and a fringe of jet-black hair adorned with a yellow hat with a red feather under a blue band wrapped around it. Like most animated characters in the day, he has four-fingered hands with white gloves (his hands become regular five-fingered hands without gloves after he becomes a real boy). He wears bright red cotton fabric short overalls with yellow buttons over a light yellow shirt. He also has a black vest, big blue bow tie, and brown wooden shoes.
Powers and Abilities
- Invulnerability: As a living puppet, Pinocchio is invulnerable to bodily harm to an extent and feels no pain. Early in the film, he lit his finger on fire without flinching, then later fell down some steps and got up unharmed.
- Limited shapeshifting: Whenever Pinocchio tells a lie, his nose grows longer than usual. Only when Pinocchio tells the truth will his nose return to its normal size.
- Limited Donkey physiology: During Pinocchio's visit to Pleasure Island, he begins to transform into a donkey like the other boys, but manages to escape the island before the transformation is complete, leaving him with a donkey's ears and tail until the Blue Fairy turns him into a real boy.
- Aquatic adaptation: As a puppet, Pinocchio does not require air and can survive and speak underwater. Being made of wood, however, he must use a stone to weigh his body down.
- Strategist: Over the course of the film, Pinocchio develops a degree of strategy and cunning, tying a stone to himself to travel underwater, then starting a fire inside Monstro's belly in order to escape from the whale.
In the film, Pinocchio is first introduced as a lifeless puppet. When it is time for bed, Geppetto catches sight of a wishing star and wishes for Pinocchio to become a real boy. Once Geppetto fell asleep, his home is visited by the Blue Fairy, who brings Pinocchio to life and appoints Jiminy Cricket as his official conscience to tell him right from wrong, for if Pinocchio proves himself brave, truthful, and unselfish, he will be transformed into a real boy. Geppetto discovers his puppet is alive and celebrates along with Figaro the kitten and Cleo the goldfish. As of that night, Pinocchio's journey to boyhood has begun.
The next morning, Pinocchio is on his way to school, but is stopped by a pair of shady con artists: a sly fox named J. Worthington Foulfellow (a.k.a. "Honest John") and his mute minion, Gideon, who trick him into working for Stromboli, a puppeteer, explaining to Pinocchio that being rich and famous is the only way to live. Pinocchio listens, believes, and ends up following the wrong path. Jiminy tries to stop him, but is unsuccessful, so he chases after him.
Pinocchio immediately becomes the star of Stromboli's marionette show, and Stromboli is paid beyond his wildest dreams for Pinocchio's magnificent performance. After the show, Pinocchio and Stromboli are dining and the man's true nature is revealed as parsimonious, evil, and rotten. He locks Pinocchio in a birdcage and threatens to chop him into firewood if he refuses to cooperate. Pinocchio tries to tell the Blue Fairy the truth, but he does not know how. Eventually, Pinocchio manages to escape and flee with the help of Jiminy and the Blue Fairy.
Pinocchio and Jiminy race home, but Pinocchio is stopped once again by Foulfellow and Gideon. They tell Pinocchio he's sick and the only cure is a vacation on Pleasure Island. Pinocchio refuses to go, but they do not listen and take him to the Coachman, along with many other boys, including a brat named Lampwick, who Pinocchio quickly befriends.
Once the place is torn apart, everyone has vanished, except for Lampwick and Pinocchio, who are smoking and drinking while playing pool. Once Jiminy confronts the two, he is so upset he storms out. Soon, Jiminy discovers the plan: Pleasure Island has the terrifying power to transform bad boys into donkeys, which the Coachman sells into slavery, and rushes back to get Pinocchio. Pinocchio accidentally brays like a donkey while laughing at him when Lampwick's hideous transformation is complete, but Pinocchio and Jiminy manage to escape the island. Unfortunately, Pleasure Island's curse still affects Pinocchio, as he has grown donkey ears and a tail himself, but thankfully he escaped before he could get any worse.
The two finally reach home, but find that the house is empty. As Pinocchio and Jiminy sit and wait for everyone to return, the Blue Fairy comes in the shape of a dove and gives them a letter which tells them Geppetto was swallowed by Monstro the Whale while searching for Pinocchio.
The pair search the ocean for Monstro with very little luck. When they ask for help from sea creatures such as clams and seahorses, they all swim and hide in fear at the mention of Monstro's name. Meanwhile, after a nap, Monstro awakens and begins a feeding frenzy. Everything in his path is either devoured or destroyed (including Pinocchio). Once inside Monstro, Pinocchio reunites with Geppetto, Figaro, and Cleo. Pinocchio soon thinks of a plan to escape Monstro by lighting a bonfire, creating enough smoke to make him sneeze.
Once Pinocchio is able to get Monstro to sneeze, the enraged whale chases after him and his father. The whale destroys the raft with his tail, sending Pinocchio and Geppetto into the water. After witnessing his father almost drowning, Pinocchio grabs him and attempts to swim to a nearby sea cave, but it's too late. Even before he gets there, Monstro slams into the rocks surrounding the cave, sending Pinocchio and his father gushing through to the shore. While Geppetto, Figaro, Cleo, and Jiminy survive, Jiminy looks for Pinocchio, and makes a very depressing discovery: Pinocchio is lying face down in a large puddle, dead on impact.
Geppetto, Figaro, Cleo, and Jiminy return home and mourn the loss of Pinocchio. Then, the Blue Fairy revives Pinocchio and transforms him into a real human boy because he has now proved himself brave, truthful, and unselfish, much to the joy of the others. Jiminy is then awarded a certified 14-karat conscience badge.
Pinocchio, in his puppet form, made numerous cameo appearances in the television series House of Mouse.
His most prominent appearance on the show was in the episode "Jiminy Cricket", in which Pain and Panic convince him to hang out with them and ditch Jiminy. He is sad when he finds out that Jiminy is now Mickey Mouse's conscience instead of his, so he leaves with Pain and Panic. In the end, however, Pinocchio and Jiminy are reunited.
In "Goofy's Menu Magic", Pinocchio and Geppetto can be briefly seen sailing on their raft in a sea of Goofy's stew.
In Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse Pinocchio is seen onscreen telling Mickey what he wants for Christmas: no strings to hold him down.
Other animated productions
In All Together, a wartime cartoon, Pinocchio (in his puppet form) is seen with other characters from his film during the parade.
Pinocchio, in his puppet form, makes a cameo appearance at the end of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, among the group of toons wondering what sort of Toon that Judge Doom really was. Pinocchio suggests that he could not have been a little wooden boy. Peter Westy voiced Pinocchio in the film.
Pinocchio made a cameo appearance at the beginning of the Teacher's Pet film. During the opening sequence, Spot Helperman has a dream where he watches Pinocchio.
Pinocchio makes two interesting cameos in Phineas and Ferb. The first is in the episode "Unfair Science Fair". A human boy baring a great resemblance to him is shown to be the kid Heinz Doofenshmirtz lost his first science fair to. His other cameo is in "Wizard of Odd", where he's shown to be among the many people, including Santa Claus, that Good Witch Isabella tells to take the yellow brick road. This cameo notably depicts Pinocchio bearing more resemblance to a typical puppet and looks quite different from his usual design in Disney productions.
Pinocchio makes a cameo appearance alongside Geppetto in the Mickey Mouse episode "Wonders of the Deep". Here, he speaks in a proper Italian accent, as opposed to the American accent heard in most media.
Pinocchio made recurring appearances in the live-action wrap-around skits alongside the other costumed characters and celebrity guests.
Pinocchio appears in the 2000 TV film Geppetto portrayed by Seth Adkins (in his first project performing the role for Disney). While it is heavily implied that Pinocchio is having the same adventure he had in the 1940 film, he is more of a side-character in this iteration, as it follows his father, as the title would suggest, and his pursuit of Pinocchio, and in doing so learning lessons on what it takes to be an actual parent. It is thus Geppetto's actions that make Pinocchio a human being, as the Blue Fairy reveals that Pinocchio could not be a real boy, without a real father to raise him.
Pinocchio (Eion Bailey, Jakob Davies as a young Pinocchio) is a puppet Geppetto carved from an enchanted tree. As a little boy puppet, he gives his life to save Geppetto from drowning in a storm. As a reward, the Blue Fairy turns Pinocchio into a real boy, promising that the spell will hold so long as he is selfless and good. However, the boy remained mischievous, though he means no harm. The Blue Fairy asks Geppetto to carve another enchanted tree into a magical wardrobe with the ability to save two people, the pregnant Snow White and Prince James, from the Evil Queen's curse. However, the curse will send everyone else to a land without magic and happy endings.
Pinocchio, who is a real boy because of magic, may turn back into a puppet. Geppetto bargains with the Blue Fairy to use the second spot for Pinocchio instead and the Blue Fairy lies to the others and says that the wardrobe can only save one. However, Snow White gives birth to Emma. Instead of giving up Pinocchio's spot to Snow as the Blue Fairy asks, Geppetto sends his son ahead and asks him to protect the child and get her to believe when the time is right. After emerging in the real world, Pinocchio and the infant Emma are taken to an orphanage, where Pinocchio looked after her like a sister. However, he leaves Emma to run away as the man taking care of them was cruel.
August Wayne Booth (Eion Bailey), previously known as The Stranger, is a mysterious young man visiting Storybrooke. He first appears at the end of "True North" after Henry Mills states that no one ever comes to Storybrooke and Emma is the first stranger there. Shortly after, he rides into town on his motorcycle and asks Henry and Emma for directions to a place to stay, but never names himself. He also carries everywhere a large wooden box whose contents are unknown until Emma confronts him at the diner and he tells her that he will show her what is in the wooden box if she agrees to let him buy her a drink sometime. She agrees, and he shows her that the box contains a typewriter and he tells her that he is a writer. Later, he is revealed to have possession of Henry's storybook, which was hidden then lost. He finally names himself when he tries to take Emma out for the drink she promised him, but she refuses to let him because she believes a man who will not tell her his name is probably hiding other things. He is later seen working with the storybook in a dark room: applying chemicals to the pages and reassembling the book. He plants it by Emma's car to make it look like it washed away in a storm; she finds it and returns the book to Henry. He later tells Henry that he believes in the curse and wants to convince Emma that it is real. He later tries to control Mr. Gold with the Dark One's dagger, who is Rumplestiltskin in the Enchanted Forest. Mr. Gold calls his bluff and threatens to kill him.
August reveals that he is deathly ill and needs magic to get better, so he tried to help Emma bring magic to Storybrooke. However, he believes that Emma will be too late to save him. Gold points out that not even he can help August as there is no magic in Storybrooke and leaves August to find a different way. His illness turns out to be that he is turning back into wood because he broke his promise to Geppetto. Desperate, he conspires with Gold to force Emma to ask August for help to beat Regina. When she does, August takes her out of Storybrooke to tell her his story. He reveals that he is the seven-year-old boy who found the infant Emma. He says he was across the world when Emma decided to stay in Storybrooke and his leg began to feel pain as time began to move forward again. He tries to prove the curse's existence by showing his now-wooden leg but Emma's denial is so strong that she does not see it as wood. Afterward, he goes to see Marco, who is his father Geppetto and tells him that he failed his father and though he tried to keep his promise, he tried too late.
Marco says that if he had a son, that would be enough. August offers to work as Marco's assistant though he cannot be paid, stating that he simply likes to fix things. When Emma tries to leave Storybrooke, Henry comes to August, who shows that his arm is also turning into wood and says that soon he will be completely wooden. He gives up on making Emma believe in the curse and wants to spend his remaining time with his father. When Emma finally believes, she goes to August for help. However, August completely turns to wood before her eyes. It is not known whether August's life as Pinocchio had him returning to normal was regained after the curse was lifted.
In the second season premiere, August is seen still laying in his bed at Granny's Bed and Breakfast, and he blinks. Later, Marco is putting up missing posters, believing his son to be lost and still a child. After an uproar in which many citizens, Henry Mills reveals August's true identity to Marco. Marco visits August's room in Granny's but discovers an empty bed. It is revealed later on that after the curse was broken, August was able to move again but was trapped in his wooden form, much like when he was as a child. He had been living in the forest in a trailer, afraid of how everyone, especially Marco, would think of him. Mary Margaret (Snow White) finds him while practicing archery, having accidentally hit him with one of her arrows. He tells her to keep the encounter a secret because of his guilt for selfish actions, which she promises. However, he is found by Tamara, a woman whom he stole money from to cure himself in Hong Kong, who offers him the cure that she managed to take back from him when he robbed her.
Deciding to get the cure, August drives out of Storybrooke to Tamara's apartment in New York using her car. Just as he leaves, he then finds a photo of Tamara with her grandmother, the valuable object she was supposed to give the healer along with the money to receive the cure for her cancer. Remembering the day when he came back to find the healer dead, August realizes that Tamara was the one who killed him and was trying to get August out of Storybrooke. August rushes back to Storybrooke to warn Emma and the others but is confronted by Tamara herself. He reveals to her that he knew she did not have cancer but was actually after the cure to discover the magic within it.
She quips at this and tells him that he was a weak and selfish man who needed the cure for himself, but August defends himself stating that he never needed magic, but by correcting his mistakes he will break the curse and will start by stopping Tamara. Tamara, in response, shocks him with a taser before he attacks. In his last few moments, August trudges quickly to the others to try and warn them. He is caught by Marco as he falls, as father and son are finally reunited. August apologizes and admits for all his selfish deeds, but finally dies as he is about to tell the group of Tamara's treachery. However, Henry notices that August died admitting his mistakes and doing what he could to help the others, making him selfless, brave, and true. This meant that August could receive a second chance and be revived if this was true. The Blue Fairy quickly tests this, and August is revived, but instead of becoming his own self he reverts to his human form as a child, Pinocchio.
In the fourth season, the Evil Queen, infiltrating the villains, learns they want to find the Author. On their orders, she kidnaps Pinocchio, and with Maleficent, they take him to a cabin in the woods, where Rumplestiltskin reverts the boy into August with his dagger, hence returning his lost memories so that they can torture him for information about the Author.
Under questioning, August states he obtained research about the Author from the Dragon, but Rumplestiltskin suspects he is lying and steals a potion from the nuns to force him to tell the truth. After being force-fed the concoction, August briefly reverts to wood, which causes his nose to grow for every lie he tells. Eventually, he admits the Sorcerer trapped the Author behind a door. Rumplestiltskin demands to know where the door is, and although August has no idea where it is, he insists Regina knows about a storybook page illustration of the door. While Rumplestiltskin believes the door is in another physical location, in truth, the door on the page itself can be opened to free the Author, though August does not say this. However, since August does not know that Henry currently has the page, the answer he gives the villains about the door's whereabouts is regarded as truthful and does not trigger the potion's lie detector. Once Regina and Maleficent leave with Rumplestiltskin to search the Sorcerer's mansion for the door, Cruella stays to guard him until Emma Swan and her parents take her out to rescue him. They are stopped by Ursula, who relents after regaining her singing voice and reconciling with her father Poseidon. While resting at the loft, August learns Regina is actually spying on the villains, and he reveals the door in the illustration can be opened to free the Author.
As August's condition deteriorates due to the recent magic used on him, he is taken to the fairies, where the Blue Fairy looks after him. While Emma continues to worry about August, Captain Hook becomes jealous over her concern for him. To reassure him, she elaborates on her difficulty in making friends after shutting out her first friend, and August has been the only exception since then. Once August gets better, Snow White and Prince Charming visit him, and Hook notifies Emma. After showing August the discovered key to the door illustration, she expresses interest in asking the Author questions about her story. However, there's no guarantee this Author wrote her story as August reveals there have been many Authors over time; each chosen by the Sorcerer and his Apprentice to record tales in the book. With the last Author, as August explains, he began manipulating stories, so the Apprentice imprisoned him in the door illustration. Despite this, Emma recognizes the Author can still alter the course of things and she unlocks the door with the key. The Author, Isaac, is freed, but before she can ask anything, he flees.
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.
Pinocchio makes a cameo at the beginning of the game. His image is the first of the Disney heroes to be found on the door to the storybook. However, unlike the other characters, his world is not featured anywhere in the game other than his friend Jiminy Cricket helping the player throughout the game.
Pinocchio is a recurring character in the popular series.
In the original Kingdom Hearts, Pinocchio's world was destroyed by the Heartless, separating his family. Jiminy ends up in Disney Castle, a world ruled by Mickey Mouse, whilst Geppetto's whereabouts remain unknown. As for Pinocchio, he finds himself in Traverse Town, eventually bumping into Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Jiminy. Jiminy is able to set him straight after learning the wooden boy has been misbehaving without his conscience by his side. Pinocchio then explains his troubles in trying to find Geppetto, to which Jiminy replies by offering to have Sora and company search whilst Pinocchio stays in Traverse Town where it's safe.
Later on, after the heroes are eaten by a wandering Monstro the Whale, they find Pinocchio trapped inside as well, along with Geppetto, who's revealed to have been trapped within the monstrous whale the whole time. The reunion is short-lived as Pinocchio soon runs into Riku and is captured by the Parasite Cage Heartless in Monstro's Bowels. Sora and company travel through the creature's body to rescue him, but after the Parasite Cage spits Pinocchio out, Riku takes him hostage in the hopes his heart could revive Kairi. Sora and the others chase Riku to Monstro's Stomach to rescue Pinocchio, eventually succeeding when Riku retreats as the Parasite Cage returns for another fight and is defeated for good. After being freed from the whale, Geppetto and Pinocchio take residence in Traverse Town, along with other characters who've unfortunately lost their worlds. After the primary antagonist of the story is defeated and the worlds are restored, it can be assumed Pinocchio and Geppetto returned to their rightful home. The end credits show Pinocchio having been made a real boy and celebrating as Geppetto laughs with pride.
A larger role for the puppet comes to fruition in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, where Pinocchio's world, Prankster's Paradise, is revealed for the first time.
Pinocchio appears as a meet-and-greet character next to Dumbo the Flying Elephant in Fantasyland and has several quests for the player, one of which includes getting some toffee apples for him and his school friends. At one point in the game, Pinocchio's school books are eaten by Monstro. Pinocchio and the player then use some pepper pots to make Monstro sneeze, thus returning the books. For a school assignment, Pinocchio asks the player to take a few pictures so that he can complete some of his books. Later on, Pinocchio is playing by the lake and accidentally loses Geppetto's lamp. To retrieve the lamp, the player uses the fishing pole given to them by Stinky Pete.
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's imprisoned alongside Genie in the Cave of Wonders until eventually being rescued by Mickey Mouse.
Pinocchio appears as an audio-animatronic in the dark ride, Pinocchio's Daring Journey where he plays the same role as he did in the film.
In the Disneyland version of Fantasmic!, Pinocchio has a small bit where he appears dancing alongside female puppets. For a few years, he also appeared on the Mark Twain riverboat, though he was removed in 2008.
Pinocchio has his own spell card known as "Pinocchio's Sawdust Blast" in the attraction Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom.
In the Magic Kingdom park, Pinocchio can be seen, daily, during the Festival of Fantasy parade's final unit. In the same park, Pinocchio's likeness is featured inside of the Pinocchio Village Haus restaurant. He also appears in the Once Upon a Time castle show.
In the Tokyo DisneySea version of Fantasmic!, Pinocchio appears during the finale with Geppetto and Jiminy Cricket. In the same park, Pinocchio can often be found for meet-and-greets along the World Bazaar area, and others.
In One Man's Dream II: The Magic Lives On, Pinocchio is seen in the opening dance number and later during the show's finale, seem arriving in Hollywood with Jiminy and a cast of Disney characters.
He makes a quick appearance in Once Upon a Time as part of the opening montage, being brought to life by the Blue Fairy.
- Pinocchio's name means "Pine-Eye" in Italian. This means that he is definitely made of pine wood, and the Blue Fairy also called him "little puppet made of pine" before bringing him to life. In the book, however, his wood type is never revealed.
- Strangely, Pinocchio appears as one of the heroes of the storybook in Disney's Villains' Revenge, despite the fact that none of the villains from the film appear in the game.
- For the revised versions of the You and Your series of shorts, Pinocchio was portrayed by a real live boy, Elijah Wood; he appeared only in the live action segments of the new versions which were filmed in the 1990s.