Peter Pan (1924 film)

Peter Pan is a 1924 American silent adventure film released by Paramount Pictures, the first film adaptation of the 1904 play by J. M. Barrie. It was directed by Herbert Brenon and starred Betty Bronson as Peter Pan, Ernest Torrence as Captain Hook, Mary Brian as Wendy, Virginia Browne Faire as Tinker Bell, Esther Ralston as Mrs. Darling, and Anna May Wong as the American Indian princess Tiger Lily.[1][2]

Peter Pan
Peter Pan 1924 movie.jpg
original film poster
Directed byHerbert Brenon
Produced byFamous Players-Lasky
Written byWillis Goldbeck
J.M. Barrie
Based onPeter and Wendy
by J.M. Barrie
StarringBetty Bronson
Ernest Torrence
Mary Brian
Virginia Brown Faire
Esther Ralston
Anna May Wong
CinematographyJames Wong Howe
Paramount Pictures
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • December 29, 1924 (1924-12-29)
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$630,229
Peter Pan (full film)
Mary Brian as Wendy Darling and Betty Bronson as Peter Pan
Cyril Chadwick and Esther Ralston as Mr. and Mrs. Darling
George Ali as Nana the dog


In the story, Peter Pan, a magical boy who refuses to grow up, brings the Darling children (Wendy, John, and Michael) from London to Neverland, where they have adventures that include a confrontation with the pirate Captain Hook and his crew. Later, the children feel homesick and wish to go home. Wendy invites Peter and the Lost Boys to come with them so they can be adopted. The Lost Boys are eager to do so, but Peter refuses because he does not wish to grow up. Wendy and her brothers and the Lost Boys are captured by the pirates, but rescued by Peter, who forces Captain Hook to walk the plank and be eaten by the crocodile who once ate his hand. Wendy and the boys return to the Darling home, where Mrs. Darling meets Peter for the first time and offers to adopt him, but he refuses for the same reason that he refused to go back with Wendy and the boys - he has no intention of growing up. Peter asks Wendy to return to Neverland with him, and Mrs. Darling agrees to allow Wendy to go back once a year to help Peter with his spring cleaning.


Production backgroundEdit

The film closely follows the plot of the original play, and even goes so far as to incorporate much of its original stage dialogue in the intertitles. Added scenes include Nana the dog pouring out Michael's medicine and giving him a bath, and Nana bursting into the home at which a party is being given, to warn Mr. and Mrs. Darling that Peter Pan and the Darling children are flying around the nursery.

Like the original play and several other versions, and unlike the 1953 Disney film, the 1924 version makes it clear that Wendy harbors a romantic attachment to Peter, but Peter only thinks of her as his mother. The film omits the scene An Afterthought, which Barrie wrote after the play was staged, and in which Peter returns for Wendy, only to find that years have passed and that she is now a married woman with a daughter.

Barrie selected Bronson for the role, and wrote additional scenes for the film, but Brenon stuck largely to the stageplay.

Release and restorationEdit

Peter Pan was first released in the United States on December 29, 1924. The distributor was Paramount Pictures. In Germany, where the premiere took place in December 1925, the distributor was UFA.

Since there was no national film archive in the United States and Paramount had no interest in a long-term distribution of the film – distributors held movies only as long in the program as they earned money – most copies of Peter Pan were destroyed over the years.

For decades, the film was thought to be lost. In the 1950s James Card, film restorer and curator of George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, discovered a well-preserved copy in a vault at the Eastman School of Music, and made a preservation of that source. Film historian David Pierce discovered an additional and hitherto unknown 16mm copy at the Disney Studios which had been made when the company acquired the rights to the property in 1938. A new restoration was undertaken by the George Eastman House combining the two sources in 1994, and Philip C. Carli composed new film music for it, which was premiered by the Flower City Society Orchestra at the 1996 Pordenone Silent Film Festival.


The film was celebrated at the time for its innovative use of special effects (mainly to show Tinker Bell) according to Disney's 45th anniversary video of their adaptation of Peter Pan. In 2000, this film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports an approval rating of 100% based on 9 reviews, with an average rating of 7.5/10.[3]

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Peter Pan at SilentEra
  2. ^ The AFI Catalog of Feature Films:Peter Pan
  3. ^ "Peter Pan (1924)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  4. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes & Villains Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved August 6, 2016.

External linksEdit