Gnomes (film)

Gnomes is an American 1980 hour-long animated TV special, based on the book of the same name by Dutch writer Wil Huygen and illustrator Rien Poortvliet.[1] The show was first broadcast on CBS, on November 11, 1980.[2] It was nominated for an Emmy in 1981 for Outstanding Animated Program.

Written byWil Huygen (book text)
Rien Poortvliet (book ill.)
Sam Moore (written by)
Maurice Rapf (written by)
Directed byJack Zander
Narrated byLee Richardson
Music byNeil Warner
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Executive producer(s)Thomas W. Moore
Anne E. Upson
Producer(s)Jack Zander
Editor(s)Maxwell Seligman
Ron Silver
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)Tomorrow Entertainment
Original release
  • November 11, 1980 (1980-11-11)

Several years after this film was released, the television series, The World of David the Gnome was created, based on the same book.


The movie starts by introducing gnomes in general, and a particular family of forest gnomes who live together in a home under a tree. The family consists of a father, mother, grandfather, older son Tor, and a set of young twins. Tor is about to marry his fiancée Lisa, and the gnomes are busy decorating and preparing for the wedding.

In the same forest live a family of trolls: a large and stupid troll father, a somewhat more intelligent mother troll (who wears a snake in her hair and smokes a cigar), their two bumbling older sons and a young troll child affectionately called "Runt". When the father gnome frees the trapped bear cub they had intended to have for their supper, the trolls resolve to get their revenge.

The trolls’ intended method of revenge is to set the gnome dwelling on fire, and each member of the troll family marches toward the gnomes’ household, memorably chanting “burn, burn, burn” in unison.

Lisa and her parents arrive, carried by a goose from the city. They are "house gnomes" who live among humans and are the "aristocrats" of gnome society. Another less welcome arrival is Uncle Kostya from Siberia who crashes the wedding ceremony, adding extra alcohol to Grandpa's punch and making inappropriate advances to the mother of the bride. Their differences are soon forgotten however when the trolls strike.

The movie also contains a handful of vignettes, which use still illustrations from the original book and narration to explain some of the facts about the different sorts of gnomes, and what sorts of duties gnomes perform to help the creatures they live among.



It was once common to see this film played on cable television movie channels, however it has since become very hard to find as it is not readily available for sale on DVD or VHS.

Copyright statusEdit

It was quite popular in Sweden where it has a fairly large fan base, but due to its unclear copyright status (after the production company shut down) further viewing was deemed impossible by Sveriges Television until the status was resolved. Member of the Swedish Riksdag Karl Sigfrid aimed a written question to Minister for Justice Beatrice Ask how this and similar issues should be resolved.[3]

DVD releasesEdit

Despite no official news about the copyright status, a DVD release was released in Sweden on December 1, 2010. The distributor is the Norwegian company CCV.


  1. ^ O'Connor, John J. (1980-11-11). "TV: Animated 'Gnomes'and Saturn Rendezvous". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-05-31.
  2. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. p. 267. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  3. ^ Karl Sigfrid. "Fråga 2007/08:968 Filmen Trolltyg i tomteskogen" Riksdag webpage 14 March 2008. Received 21 June 2008

External linksEdit