Fairy Tale: A True Story (1997) - Rotten Tomatoes

Fairy Tale: A True Story (1997)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Fairy Tale: A True Story Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Charles Sturridge directed this fact-based film drama. In 1917, Harry Houdini (Harvey Keitel) and Arthur Conan Doyle (Peter O'Toole) are fascinated and intrigued by photographs of fairies taken by cousins Francis Griffiths (Elizabeth Earl) and Elsie Wright (Florence Hoath). Filmed in England (Didcot,London, Yorkshire, Pinewood Studios, Shepperton Studios). Over the past seven decades, the photos by the two girls have been publsihed in numerous books and magazines, and eventually someone discoveered the specific Charles Robinson children's book illustrations of fairies that the two cousins copied. Computer enhancement has revealed the string supporting the fairies. The film's score is by Zbigniew Preisner (Blue), an interesting choice inasmuch as he has been involved in another hoax-composing music credited to non-existent Dutch composer Van den Budenmayer. Working title: Illuminations. Not to be confused with Photograping Fairies, another 1997-98 movie based on the same real-life events. Rated PG "for brief mild language."more
Rating: PG (for brief mild language)
Genre: Drama, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: Albert Ash, Ernie Contreras
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 31, 1998
Paramount Pictures


Florence Hoath
as Elsie Wright
Elizabeth Earl
as Frances Griffiths
Phoebe Nicholls
as Polly Wright
Harvey Keitel
as Harry Houdini
Peter O'Toole
as Arthur Conan Doyle
Paul McGann
as Arthur Wright
Bill Nighy
as E.L. Gardner
Bob Peck
as Harry Briggs
Tim McInnerny
as John Ferret
Mel Gibson
as Frances' Father
Jason Salkey
as James Collins
Lara Morgan
as Jean Doyle
Adam Franks
as Adrian Doyle
Guy Witcher
as Denis Doyle
Joseph May
as Houdini's Assistant
John Bradley
as Portly Gentleman
Anna Chancellor
as Peter Pan
Leonard Kavanagh
as Stage Manager
Anton Lesser
as Wounded Corporal
Lynn Farleigh
as Mrs. Thornton
Tara Marie
as Judith
Peter Mullan
as Sergeant Farmer
Jim Wiggins
as Albert, the Postman
David Calder
as Harold Snelling
Anthony Calf
as Geoffrey Hodson
John Grillo
as Mr. West
Benjamin Whitrow
as Mr. Binley
Dick Brannick
as News Vendor
Barbara Hicks
as City Woman
Christopher Godwin
as City Businessman
Andrew Cryer
as First Soldier
Paul Popplewell
as Second Soldier
David Norman
as O'Neill
Anna Ramsey
as Charlotte
Peter Wight
as Newspaper Editor
Willie Ross
as Old Print Worker
Ina Clough
as Lady Calling to Fair...
Carol Noakes
as Station Photographer
Stephen Chapman
as Boy in Hospital
Bill Stewart
as Chess MC
Don Henderson
as Sydney Chalker
Stewart Howson
as Red-Faced Man
James Danaher
as Joseph Wright
Martin Gent
as Pushy Photographer
Anthony Collin
as Older Photographer
Tom Georgeson
as First Reporter
Angus Barnett
as Second Reporter
Anna Brecon
as Elabigathe
Sean Buckley
as Mr. Bandylegs
Norma Cohen
as Nanny Button Cap
Matt Costain
as Prince Malekin
Philip Fowler
as Fenoderee
William Lawrance
as Tom Cockle
Simon Penman
as Peerifool
Briony Plant
as Yarthkins
Isabel Rocamora
as Queen Mab
Mark Tate
as Habetrot
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Fairy Tale: A True Story

Critic Reviews for Fairy Tale: A True Story

All Critics (43) | Top Critics (13)

Flits, falters and falls flat.

January 1, 2000
USA Today
Top Critic

Full Review… | April 12, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Detroit News
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | October 24, 1997
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Fairy Tale: A True Story


All that this pathetic and incredibly silly movie wants is to be cute, and so it shies away from the truth with a ridiculous justification that more important than reality is "magic" - even if coming from a deceiving fraud that supposedly brings comfort to people. Truth is, it is not.

Carlos Magalh„es

Super Reviewer

If you have faith, anything is possible. I saw this Movie long time ago. It is Amazing even Adults believe in Fairies, but we even believe in Angels why not Fairies. Very inspiring Movie. Even though they revelead that the Pictures the girls shot were fake, I still think Children see more than us Adults. It makes you believe in Magic so hardly.

Wahida K

Super Reviewer

Another film off the list from the 1997 Toronto International Film Festival, from the Galas. Again a Movie that I missed when it came out and the only reason I saw it was because of this list. This movie is not only for children or adults with children, anyone with a open mind should see this, or anyone one who enjoys a movie that is just not another movie. Set right after WWI, 2 young girls find and take a picture of a fairy, And the girls meet Harry Houdini, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ( The Lost World) who takes an interest in them. All and all a good clean Family movie, saw nothing that would make me not let children see it. 5 stars alone for that reason. 5 stars for the acting and overall story.

Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

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