The Little Engine That Could (1991 film)

The Little Engine that Could is a 1991 animated direct-to-video film directed by Dave Edwards [5] and co-produced by Edwards and Mike Young, animated at Kalato Animation in Wales and co-financed by Universal Studios through their MCA/Universal Home Video arm and S4C, Wales' dedicated Welsh-language channel. It was released on VHS by MCA. The film features the voice talents of Kath Soucie and Frank Welker.[6] It is based on the book of the same name, by Watty Piper (specifically based on the 1976 illustrations by Ruth Sanderson).[7] The film was also syndicated in the US on broadcast television as an Easter special in March/April 1993.[8]

The Little Engine That Could
Little Engine That Could.jpg
VHS cover of The Little Engine That Could showing Tillie pulling the birthday train
Directed byDave Edwards
Screenplay byRay Rhamey
Based onThe Little Engine That Could
by Watty Piper
Produced byDavid Edwards
Mike Young[1]
StarringKath Soucie
Frank Welker
B.J. Ward
Neil Ross
Bever-Leigh Banfield
Peter Cullen
Scott Menville
Billy O'Sullivan
Dina Sherman
Edited byTerry Brown
Music byBen Heneghan
Ian Lawson
Mark Mueller
Kalato Animation
Dave Edwards Studio
Distributed byMCA/Universal Home Video[2]
Release date
  • November 22, 1991 (1991-11-22) (United States)
Running time
30 minutes [4]
CountriesUnited States
United Kingdom


Eric, a young boy, is excited about his birthday after reading a book and believes that a train will come for him, despite his sister Jill's disbelief. A few hours later, the train station's hot-headed control tower wakes up and in the roundhouse, Tillie, a young little blue switcher engine, along with her best bird friend, Chip, wakes up four other trains: Georgia, a kind all-purpose engine, Farnsworth, a stuck-up, shiny, new passenger engine, Jebediah, a worn-out, rusty, old engine, and Pete, a gruff, burly, big, strong freight engine. After the tower assigns Farnsworth and Pete their jobs, Tillie tries to help with the milk train assigned to Jebediah, but is suddenly stopped when the tower insists that she is too small for the job. Georgia is assigned to pull the birthday train. A clown named Rollo leads the toys into the train, including Jeepers, a monkey & Rollo's assistant, Stretch, an elastic basketball player, Missy, a ballerina & Stretch'a girlfriend, Sandy Pandy, a panda, Perky, an elephant, and Grumpella, a stuffed grumpy bird.

During her journey, Georgia breaks down and is taken back to the roundhouse by a medical engine named Doc. Left behind, Rollo eventually takes Doc's advice of flagging down one of the other engines returning from their daily runs over the mountain. Farnsworth and Pete stubbornly & rudely turn down their offers to pull the train. Meanwhile, Tillie asks the tower to rescue the stranded train, but is very sad when the Tower angrily insists that she will never do the job. Jebediah kindly turns down his offer to pull the train because of his age, and returns to the roundhouse. Chip and Tillie sneak past the sleeping tower and pulls the birthday train up a mountain. Despite being ridiculed by the wolf (except for the little wolf pup who has faith in her) & the eagle along the way, Tillie manages to reach the summit after crossing a bridge that collapses, losing one last train car along the way.

When Tillie sees a cave that looks like a monster who also ridicules her, she tries to go through it. However, the cave says that she is too little. Unfortunately, an avalanche knocks Tillie out cold. Eric is woken up by a thunderstorm and is worried about Tillie and the birthday train. After Tillie regains consciousness, she pulls the train out of the snow using her cowcatcher as a snowplough and down the mountain before they reach the town, much to Eric's happiness and Jill's surprise. The film ends with Tillie, who although very tired from her long and adventurous journey over the mountain, is very proud and happy and tells her best friend Chip that she did what she could (though what the tower and the other engines will think is unknown).


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The Little Engine That Could" Production Cels - 1991 - Cartoon Animation RARE–#429554878
  2. ^ AllMovie
  3. ^ Watch The Little Engine that Could-Prime Video
  4. ^ Animation Anecdotes #387-Cartoon Research
  5. ^ Trailer courtesy of Video Detective
  6. ^ "The Little Engine That Could (1991)". Behind The Voice Actors.
  7. ^ The little engine that could. 1997. ISBN 9780760703748.
  8. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. p. 289. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved 6 June 2020.

External linksEdit