A Little Princess (1995)



Critic Consensus: Alfonso Cuarón adapts Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel with a keen sense of magic realism, vividly recreating the world of childhood as seen through the characters.

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Movie Info

A privileged, free-spirited young girl tries to adapt to life in a strict boarding school in this charming, critically acclaimed children's fantasy. Adapting a novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, also the author of The Secret Garden, the film shifts the story's setting to World War I. 10 year-old Sara Crewe (Liesel Matthews) has been left in a respected New York City boarding school while her British father heads overseas to fight. Filled with wild stories and a playful attitude, the unconventional Sara becomes popular amongst her classmates but quickly comes into conflict with the harsh headmistress, Miss Minchin (Eleanor Bron), who attempts to quash the child's individuality. The young girl's situation takes a serious turn for the worse when she unexpectedly receives word of her father's death, and, suddenly impoverished, is forced into life as a servant. Treated as a lesser class of person by her former companions, Sara instead befriends her fellow servants and turns to the power of imagination in order to maintain hope for the future. In addition to changing the story's setting, screenwriters Richard LaGravenese and Elizabeth Chandler add a layer of Indian mythology to the tale, allowing director Alfonso Cuaron the chance to punctuate the riches-to-rags fable with a series of lush, imaginative fantasy sequences. Though A Little Princess had difficulty attracting audiences during its initial run, its visual splendor and touching storytelling were praised by many critics, several of whom proclaimed the film one of the best family-oriented productions of its time. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi
Drama , Kids & Family
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Warner Home Video

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Eleanor Bron
as Miss Minchin
Liam Cunningham
as Captain Crewe/Prince Rama
Liesel Matthews
as Sara Crewe
Rusty Schwimmer
as Amelia Minchin
Arthur Malet
as Charles Randolph
Errol Sitahal
as Ram Dass
Heather DeLoach
as Ermengarde
Taylor Fry
as Lavinia
Nathaniel Merrill
as Doctor in Hospital
Judith Drake
as Bakery Woman
Alison Moir
as Princess Sita
Tim Winters
as Frances the Milkman
Lomax Study
as Monsieur Dufarge
Vincent Schiavelli
as Mr. Barrow
Rahi Azizi
as Laki
Ken Palmer
as John Randolph
Helen Greenberg
as Flower Lady
Norman Merrill
as Doctor in Hospital
Peggy Miley
as Mabel the Cook
Robert P. Cohen
as Ermengarde's Father
William Blomquist
as Rich Boy in Street
David Fresco
as Beggar Man in Fantasy
Judith D. Drake
as Bakery Woman
Chris Ellis
as Policeman
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Critic Reviews for A Little Princess

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (9)

The film uses studio resources to create an entrancing world both in New York and in the heroine's fantasies about India.

Full Review… | May 27, 2011
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

An astonishing work of studio artifice, A Little Princess is that rarest of creations, a children's film that plays equally well to kids and adults.

Full Review… | June 9, 2008
Top Critic

An exemplary version of Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

A bright, beautiful and enchantingly childlike vision.

August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

It's not only suitable for consumption by those over age 10, it's actually enjoyable.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Top Critic

Cuaron's version of magic realism consists of seeing incredibly fanciful sets and situations in precise detail.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for A Little Princess

With a magic realism, Cuaron adaptation is a new vision of classic fairy tale.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

Its such a cute little movie that i remember watching as a little and enjoying it because it does let the imagination run wild! Its a sweet movie thats a family gem and worth a watch!

Film Crazy
Film Crazy

Super Reviewer

Yes, this is the same story as the Shirley Temple film, but they were both based on a book, so it's not exactly a remake. I read the book and saw this movie when I was younger, and I just loved it. Every young girl wishes to be a princess, and this movie will really sparks the imagination. It's a good movie, and a great story.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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