The Gruffalo (film)

The Gruffalo is a 2009 British-German short computer animated TV film based on the picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

The Gruffalo
The Gruffalo (film) poster.jpg
Poster for The Gruffalo
Based onThe Gruffalo
by Julia Donaldson
Written byJulia Donaldson
Axel Scheffler
Directed byMax Lang
Jakob Schuh
StarringHelena Bonham Carter
Rob Brydon
Robbie Coltrane
James Corden
John Hurt
Tom Wilkinson
Theme music composerRené Aubry
Country of originUnited Kingdom, Germany
Original language(s)English, German
Producer(s)Martin Pope
Michael Rose
Running time27 minutes
Production company(s)Magic Light Pictures
Studio Soi
DistributorMagic Light Pictures
Original networkBBC One
Original release
  • 25 December 2009 (2009-12-25)

Directed by Jakob Schuh and Max Lang, the film was produced by Michael Rose and Martin Pope of Magic Light Pictures, London, in association with the award-winning Studio Soi in Ludwigsburg, Germany, who developed and created the film.[1]

The cast includes Helena Bonham Carter, Rob Brydon, Robbie Coltrane, James Corden, John Hurt and Tom Wilkinson.

9.8 million people watched the UK premiere on BBC One, Friday 25 December 2009 and the film went on to receive both an Academy Award[2] and a BAFTA nomination.[3] It was screened in US theaters, distributed by Kidtoon Films. In December 2012, the film and its sequel The Gruffalo's Child premiered on television in the United States on PBS Kids Sprout.[4]


In a plant-less wood, a mother Red squirrel finds a nut. Her children are playing until they hear an owl's hoot. Then the squirrel mother escapes from the owl but her children want her to tell them a story. So, she tells the story of a mouse walking through a pleasant wood. He tries to find a nut to eat but he couldn't find one. Until he makes a journey to a nut tree. Encountering three carnivorous animals who all wish to eat him - first a fox, then an owl, then a snake - the plucky mouse uses his wits to survive. He lies to each one that he is meeting a monster with terrible features (calling his imaginary beast a ‘Gruffalo’), says that its favorite food is whichever animal he is speaking to at the time, and that he is meeting the Gruffalo "right here". Each predator then panics and runs away.

Mouse is confident until he suddenly comes face to face with a real Gruffalo, exactly as he had described it. Mouse then says that everyone is afraid of him in the forest, asking the Gruffalo to follow him and see. As the two of them meet animals in the forest, the presence of the Gruffalo frightens them: The Gruffalo believes they are afraid of the mouse. Mouse's tummy rumbles and he says his favourite food is Gruffalo crumble, causing the Gruffalo to retreat in fear. Finally safe, he finds a nut, despite not making his journey to the nut tree, and can eat it in peace.

When the mother squirrel ends her story the snow falls.

In the credits is seen the house of the snake.


Background and productionEdit

The Gruffalo, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, was published in 1999 and has sold over 5 million copies worldwide. In a BBC Radio 2 poll in 2009, the book was voted as the UK's favourite bedtime story.[5] The book has been adapted into a 27-minute animated film, which was broadcast on BBC One in the UK on 25 December 2009. This new version features Robbie Coltrane in the title role and James Corden as the mouse as well as Helena Bonham Carter as the mother squirrel narrator and Rob Brydon as the Snake. The production was animated at the award-winning Studio Soi in Germany and produced through Magic Light Pictures. The film also has the voices of John Hurt as the Owl and Tom Wilkinson as the Fox. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Short Film (Animated) on 25 January 2011. The film was also nominated for a BAFTA in 2010.


The film premiered on BBC One, Christmas Day 2009, watched by 9.8 million people, with The Daily Mirror hailing it as "a family classic for years to come".[6] Review website Den of Geek described it as an "utterly charming piece of magic".[7] Paul Connolly of The Daily Mail called it "captivating".

The film has been broadcast across the world, including on ZDF in Germany. It premiered on United States television on 9 December 2010 on ABC Family during its 25 Days of Christmas programming block.[8] It also aired on YTV in Canada on 18 December 2011.

The Gruffalo has also been shown on Nick Jr in the UK and is distributed on DVD by Entertainment One. NCircle distribute the DVD in the US, Phase 4 in Canada and Concorde in Germany.

A Scottish Gaelic version has also been produced, with the voice of the Gruffalo provided by Bill Paterson. An Gruffalo was first shown on BBC Alba on Christmas Eve 2010.

The film has also proved a hit with festival audiences around the world. On top of its Academy Award and BAFTA nominations it has also been awarded prizes at festivals including Annecy International Animation Festival (France), Anima Mundi (Brazil), The Broadcast Awards 2011 (UK), Cartoons on the Bay (Italy), Chicago International Children's Festival (Canada), CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival (Canada), Ottawa International Animation Festival (Canada), Prix Jeunesse (Germany), Sapporo Short Fest (Japan), Shanghai Television Festival (China) and Internationales Trick Film Festival (Germany). The Gruffalo was also nominated for the prestigious Cartoon d'or 2011.

Awards and nominationsEdit

Ceremony Recipient Category Result
83rd Academy Awards[2] Jakob Schuh
Max Lang
Best Animated Short Film Nominated
63rd British Academy Film Awards[3] Michael Rose
Martin Pope
Jakob Schuh
Max Lang
Best Short Animation Nominated
Cartoon d'or [9] Jakob Schuh
Max Lang
Cartoon d’Or Nominated
Anima Mundi Festival 2010 [10] Jakob Schuh
Max Lang
Best Short For Children Won
Annecy International Animated Film Festival 2010 [11] Jakob Schuh
Max Lang
Award For Best TV Special Won
Broadcast Awards 2011[12] Magic Light Pictures in association with Studio Soi Best Children's Programme Won
CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival 2011[13] Jakob Schuh
Max Lang
Audience Award Won
Chicago International Children's Film Festival Jakob Schuh
Max Lang
Best of the Fest Won
Ottawa International Animation Festival 2010 [14] Jakob Schuh
Max Lang
Best Television Animation Made for Children Won
Sapporo Short Fest 2010[15] Jakob Schuh
Max Lang
Children's Choice Award Silver Won


The sequel to the Gruffalo, based on the follow-up to the picture book, was shown on BBC One on Christmas Day 2011.

See AlsoEdit


  1. ^ "highlights - 25.12.2010 euromaxx". Deutsche Welle. YouTube. 25 December 2010. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Nominees for the 83rd Academy Awards". Retrieved 25 January 2011.
  3. ^ a b "2010 Film Awards nominations". BAFTA website. 21 January 2010. Archived from the original on 28 February 2010.
  4. ^ Sarto, Dan (7 December 2012). "Gruffalo's Child to Premiere on Sprout". Animation World Network. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  5. ^ "Children's favourite, the Gruffalo, has landed his own TV show". Mail Online. London: Daily Mail. 21 November 2009. Retrieved 25 December 2009.
  6. ^ The Daily Mail (13 May 2010). "The Daily Mail review of the Gruffalo". The Daily Mail.
  7. ^ Pete Dillon-Trenchard (26 December 2009). "The Gruffalo review". Den of Geek.
  8. ^ Robert Seidman (2 November 2010). "ABC Christmas Schedule". TV By The Numbers.
  9. ^ "Cartoon d'Or nominations". The Cartoon d’Or. Archived from the original on 27 August 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
  10. ^ "Anima Mundi Award winners". Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  11. ^ "Annecy Animation Festival Award Winners". Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  12. ^ "Broadcast Awards winners". Archived from the original on 21 January 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  13. ^ Vlessing, Etan (6 June 2011). "'The Gruffalo' Takes Audience Award in Toronto". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 6 June 2011.
  14. ^ "Ottawa International Animation Festival Award winners". Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  15. ^ "Sapporo Award winners". Retrieved 13 October 2011.

External linksEdit