Alice in Wonderland (1951) - Rotten Tomatoes

Alice in Wonderland (1951)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: A good introduction to Lewis Carroll's classic, Alice in Wonderland boasts some of the Disney canon's most surreal and twisted images.

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Movie Info

This Disney feature-length cartoon combines the most entertaining elements of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Chasing after the White Rabbit, who runs into view singing "I'm Late! I'm Late!," Alice falls down the rabbit hole into the topsy-turvy alternate world of Wonderland. She grows and shrinks after following the instructions of a haughty caterpillar, attends a "Very Merry Unbirthday" party in the garden of the Mad Hatter and the March Hare, stands in awe as the Cheshire Cat spouts philosophy, listens in rapt attention as Tweedledum and Tweedledee relate the story of the Walrus and the Carpenter (a sequence usually cut when Alice is shown on TV), and closes out her day with a hectic croquet game at the home of the Red Queen. The music and production design of Alice in Wonderland is marvelous, but the film is too much of a good thing, much too frantic to do full honor to the whimsical Carroll original, and far too episodic to hang together as a unified feature film. One tactical error is having Alice weep at mid-point, declaring her wish to go home: This is Alice in Wonderland, Walt, not Wizard of Oz! Its storytelling shortcomings aside, Alice in Wonderland is superior family entertainment (never mind the efforts in the 1970s to palm off the picture as a psychedelic "head" film).
Rating:
G
Genre:
Animation , Classics , Comedy , Kids & Family , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Film Chest

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Cast

Ed Wynn
as Mad Hatter
Richard Haydn
as Caterpillar
Sterling Holloway
as Cheshire Cat
Jerry Colonna
as March Hare
Pat O'Malley
as Walrus
Bill Thompson
as White Rabbit
Heather Angel
as Alice's sister
Joseph Kearns
as Doorknob
Larry Grey
as Bill
Verna Felton
as Queen of Hearts
Queenie Leonard
as Bird in the Tree
Dink Trout
as King of Hearts
Doris Lloyd
as The Rose
The Mello Men
as Card Player
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Critic Reviews for Alice in Wonderland

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (4)

Disney's frantic take on Lewis Carroll may lack much of the book's illogical charm, but it does contain one of the great proto-psychedelic sequences in cinema.

Full Review… | December 2, 2014
Time Out
Top Critic

What's really disappointing is the undistinguished animation: the film looks and plays more like the Disney shorts than the Disney features.

Full Review… | November 3, 2009
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Walt Disney has gone a long way towards tightening the leisurely, haphazard adventure of Alice in the wonderland of her imagination.

Full Review… | May 20, 2008
Variety
Top Critic

If you are not too particular about the images of Carroll and Tenniel, if you are high on Disney whimsey and if you'll take a somewhat slow, uneven pace, you should find this picture entertaining.

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Alice's world is far loonier and mad - and has more teeth. It was a fine departure from the fairy tales of Cinderella and Snow White.

Full Review… | February 5, 2015
7M Pictures

It's not among the studio's best, but it's certainly well worth watching.

Full Review… | December 2, 2014
Radio Times

Audience Reviews for Alice in Wonderland

The marvelous surrealistic design with beautiful vibrant colors and curious geometric shapes that even seems to borrow from German Expressionism are sadly not enough to compensate for the film's excess of songs and glaring lack of focus, given its frustratingly episodic structure.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Though ultimately not the most memorable Disney experience, Alice in Wonderland is a charming, visually stunning film that--while dated--is nonetheless enjoyable.

Matthew Samuel Mirliani
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

This is how the story of Alice in wonderland SHOULD be done Tim Burton. That aside, Alice in Wonderland is probably one of Disney's most creative animated films to date just due to how crazy they could go with tis story seeing how nothing makes sense in this nonsensical animated world of Wonderland. Alice is probably one of my favorite animated film leads and the side characters are some of Disney's best, mainly the Mad Hatter and March Hare even though they aren't even in the film for fifteen minutes. My favorite character however is the Cheshire Cat, not just for how Sterling Holloway portrays him, but also how you never know what side he is on, if he's a good guy or a bad guy, and I really enjoy characters that are done like that. The music is also very good for the film, my favorite being the story of the carpenter and walrus just for how strange it is.

Michael Edwards
Michael Edwards

Super Reviewer

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