Peter Pan is a 2003 fantasy film released by Universal Pictures, Columbia Pictures and Revolution Studios. P. J. Hogan directed a screenplay co-written with Michael Goldenberg which is based on the classic play and novel by J. M. Barrie. Jason Isaacs plays the roles of Captain Hook and George Darling, Olivia Williams plays Mrs. Darling, while Jeremy Sumpter plays Peter Pan, Rachel Hurd-Wood portrays Wendy Darling, and Ludivine Sagnier plays Tinker Bell. Noted actress Lynn Redgrave plays a supporting role as Aunt Millicent, a new character created for the film. Contrary to the traditional stage casting, it featured a boy in the title role.


Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about
the entire movie.

In 1820 London, Peter Pan (Jeremy Sumpter) and Tinker Bell (Ludivine Sagnier) visit London and become enthralled by the stories that Wendy Darling (Rachel Hurd-Wood) tells to her brothers. Aunt Millicent visits the Darling family, and upon judging Wendy to be "almost" a woman, tells Mr. and Mrs. Darling to put more thought into Wendy's future and start to move up in social circles. Wendy catches a glimpse of Peter hovering over her bed that night and her nursemaid and dog Nana steals his shadow just as he escapes. Wendy is caught drawing Peter in her book in school the next morning. While chasing the delivery boy carrying a letter from Wendy's teacher to Mr. Darling at the bank, Wendy and Nana literally crash into him and spoil his chances of impressing his superiors. Mr. Darling chains Nana outside and reprimands Wendy before he, Mrs. Darling and Aunt Millicent leave for a party. Peter visits Wendy again, who sews his shadow back on. She asks to visit Never Land and Peter invites her to be the "mother" to his gang of Lost Boys. Before leaving, she asks to bring her brothers John (Harry Newell) and Michael (Freddie Popplewell), and Peter teaches them all to fly with him.

Out of jealousy, Tinker Bell tricks the Lost Boys into shooting Wendy as she approaches the island, but Wendy survives and the boys ask her to be their mother and tell them stories. Two of the Lost Boys reveal to Peter that it was actually Tinkerbell who tricked them, and enraged by this, he breaks his friendship with her. Meanwhile, the Indian princess Tiger Lily (Carsen Gray) captures John and Michael by accident, just before Captain Hook (Jason Isaacs) comes through the forest looking for the boys. Captain Hook captures Tiger Lily, John and Michael, and holds them as bait for Peter at the Black Castle. All three of them are gagged and left hanging from a rock to drown as the tide rises. Peter and Hook engage in a duel and Hook manages to gain the upper hand when he disarms Peter and captures him momentarily. When Hook is about to kill Peter, the crocodile that ate Hook's hand appears, allowing Peter, Wendy, her brothers, and Tiger Lily to escape. The Crocodile desperately tries to eat Hook but he and the pirates make a narrow escape.

That night, Peter shows Wendy the fairies' home and together they share a romantic "fairy dance." While Hook spies on them, he is distressed that Peter has "found himself a Wendy." Peter reminds Wendy that they are just pretending to be a couple, and Wendy confronts Peter about his feelings about love. Peter becomes upset with her, and tells her to go home if she's not happy. Wendy, hurt, escapes to her little house. Peter returns to the Darling house, and seeing that Wendy's mother is still waiting for her children to come home, he attempts to shut the window to prevent her return to them. But, after a struggle, Wendy's parents manage to reopen the window, refusing to let it be closed.

Hook finds Wendy and has her carried to his ship, the Jolly Roger. There, he entices her with a job telling stories to the crew, then sends a spy to follow her to the Lost Boys' underground lair. The next day, after Peter hears of a new pirate joining Hook's crew and makes fun of her, Wendy admits she was the pirate, which brings her to realize that they have forgotten their parents and must return home. Later, the pirates kidnap the boys as they are leaving the tree to escort the Darlings home. Wendy finds out, but she is bound and gagged before she can cry out for help. Since Hook is unable to reach Peter from the ledge he is on, he leaves poison for him to drink when he wakes up. Tink stops him, poisoning herself in the process; Peter reaches out to children sleeping around the world, the Darlings, and even the pirates to sustain her with their belief in fairies.

Peter and Tink save Wendy and the boys from walking the plank, and they all fight against the pirates. Hook sprinkles himself with Tink's fairy dust, and duels Peter in the air, weakening him with taunts about Wendy abandoning him and eventually forgetting about him when she grows up. Peter falls, unable to fight with those thoughts and gives in to inevitable death. But with a "thimble" (a hidden kiss) from Wendy, Peter recovers and re-engages Hook, who loses his confidence and his altitude above the water, and is eaten by the crocodile. Wendy decides that she belongs back home, and returns to London with her brothers and the Lost Boys. Mr. and Mrs, Darling, overjoyed by the return of their children, adopt the Lost Boys; Slightly, who got lost on the way to London and arrives at the house too late, is adopted by Aunt Millicent. Peter, now with more respect for Wendy and her decision to return to London, promises to never forget about her and to return to hear stories before heading back with Tinker Bell to Neverland. According to Wendy, however, she was not to see Peter Pan again, and told his stories to her children and they will tell it to their children.

Alternative endingEdit

An alternative based on Barrie's epilogue is featured on the DVD, but with unfinished special effects and no music. In this version, Peter returns to the London house 20 years later, finding Wendy as a grown mother. He is deeply hurt when she tells him she has grown up, and walks over to Wendy's daughter, who is asleep in bed. His sobbing awakes the little girl, and she introduces herself as Jane. Peter grins excitedly at Wendy, and with her mother's permission, Jane flies away with Peter to Neverland as Wendy watches through the window after them.

All spoilers have been stated and have ended here.

Cast and CrewEdit

Since the first stage production of the story, the title role has usually been played by a woman, a tradition followed in the first film adaptation of the story. Two animated adaptations have featured a male voice actor as Peter Pan, and a Soviet live-action film adaptation for television cast a boy to play the role. This film was the first live-action theatrical release with a boy playing the part.

  • Jeremy Sumpter as Peter Pan – the title character. He is young and he does not want to grow up. In the film, he develops feelings for Wendy proven by when Hook taunts him that Wendy will forget about him and replace him. He is brave and optimistic since he is able to think happy thoughts. He cares about Tink even though he gets angry at her, even going as far as trying to revive her when he loses her. He wants to be a boy who always has fun.
  • Rachel Hurd-Wood as Wendy Darling/Red-handed Jill – the eldest of the Darling children. She develops feelings for Peter when she kisses him to restore his happy thoughts. She is a motherly figure to the Lost Boys and her brothers. At first she does not want to grow up, but eventually she goes home and accepts she has to grow up. She cares for Peter as shown in the film.
  • Jason Isaacs as Mr. George Darling/Captain Hook – the patriarch of the Darling family and is a banker who knows the cost of everything; even a hug. Captain Hook is Peter Pan's archenemy because Peter threw Hook's hand to a crocodile which has followed Hook ever since. He is the main antagonist of the film. He is the captain of the Jolly Roger and many of his happy thoughts are murderous. He says his hook is useful, but mourns the loss of his hand.
  • Lynn Redgrave as Aunt Millicent - the aunt of the three Darling children who is supposed to instruct Wendy on growing up.
  • Richard Briers as Smee - Hook's right hand man.
  • Olivia Williams as Mrs. Mary Darling - the matriarch of the Darling family who is the loveliest lady in Bloomsbury. She is said to have a kiss that Wendy can never get and that is perfectly conspicuous on the right hand corner of her mouth.
  • Harry Newell as John Darling - the second eldest of the Darling family. Tiger Lily kisses him which gives him strength to open the gate.
  • Freddie Popplewell as Michael Darling - the youngest who carries a teddy bear with him.
  • Ludivine Sagnier as Tinker Bell - Peter's best friend. She is jealous of Wendy and cares deeply for Peter. She cares for him so much that she even sacrifices her life for him.
  • Carsen Gray as Tiger Lily - the Indian princess captured by Hook along with John and Michael as bait for Peter Pan.
  • Saffron Burrows as Story Narrator/Adult Wendy (the adult Wendy was eventually edited out of the finished film before release, and only the rough cut of this sequence exists, though the narration remained)
  • Rebel as Nana - the dog nurse of the Darling family.
  • Patrick Hurd-Wood as The sleeping children in I Do "Believe In Fairies" scene.
  • Celeste MacIlwaine as Sleeping Children in I Do "Believe In Fairies" scene.
  • Spike Hogan as Sleeping Children in I Do "Believe In Fairies" scene.
  • Brooke Duncan as Sleeping Children in I Do "Believe In Fairies" scene.
  • Alexander Bourne as Sleeping Children in I Do "Believe In Fairies" scene.
  • Bruce Myles as Bank Manager
  • Maggie Dence as Lady Quiller Couch
  • Kerry Walker as Miss Fulsom
  • Mathew Waters as Messenger Boy
  • Alan Cinis as Skylights
  • Frank Whitten as Starkey
  • Bruce Spence as Cookson
  • Dan Wyllie as Alf Mason
  • Brian Carbee as Albino
  • Don Battee as Giant Pirate
  • Frank Gallacher as Alsation Fogarty
  • Septimus Caton as Noodler
  • Jacob Tomuri as Bill Jukes
  • Venant Wong as Quang Lee
  • Phil Meacham as Bollard
  • Darren Andrew Mitchell as Mullins
  • Michael Roughan as Cecco
  • Bill Kerr as Fairy Guide
  • Maya Barnaby as Mermaid
  • Tory Mussett as Mermaid
  • Ursula Mills as Mermaid
  • Nadia Pirini as Mermaid
  • Vij Kaewsanan as Mermaid
  • Janet Strauss as Medicine Woman
  • Sam Morely as Fairy Bride
  • Brendan Shambrook as Fairy Groom


After the script was written, Stephen Cox, Chief Press Officer for Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust and the Institute for Child Health, gave the hospital's approval, saying, "We have read the script by P. J. Hogan and Michael Goldenberg and are delighted to report that we feel that it is in keeping with the original work whilst communicating to an audience with modern sensibilities."[4]

The visual effects in the film are a mixture of practical and digital. The fairies that appear in the film are actors composited into the film with some digital enhancements. According to actor Jason Isaacs, the filmmakers were impressed with actress Ludivine Sagnier's performance and decided to abandon their plans to make Tinker Bell entirely computer animated.[5] The film also features a large, computer-generated crocodile. Another character, an animatronic parrot, appears in some scenes on the pirate ship.

A complex harness was built to send the live-action actors rotating and gliding through the air for the flight sequences. They were then composited into the shots of London and Never Land, although they are sometimes replaced with computer-generated figures. One other aspect of bringing the story to life was the complex sword-fighting sequences, for which the actors were trained. Sumpter said that, "I had to train for five months before the shoot. I had to do harness training to learn how to fly and learn how to swordfight," and that, "I got stabbed a couple of times with a sword."[6] Hogan says that the flying scenes were very difficult to accomplish, but that, "it was tougher on the kids than it was for me. They were up there on the harness 12' off the ground, having to make it look like flying is easy and fun."[7]

Sumpter grew several inches over the course of the film's production, requiring staging tricks to retain Hook's height advantage over Peter in face-to-face scenes late in the process. Hollywood-based producer Lucy Fisher also said that, ""The window he flies out of had to be enlarged twice."[5]

The film is dedicated to Dodi Al-Fayed, who was executive producer of the 1991 film Hook. Al-Fayed planned to produce a live action version of Peter Pan, and shared his ideas with Princess Diana (who was President of Great Ormond St Hospital), who said she "could not wait to see the production once it was underway." Al-Fayed's father, Mohammed Al-Fayed, co-produced the 2003 adaptation of the classic tale after his son died in the car crash which also killed Princess Diana.[8]

Finding Neverland, a film about J. M. Barrie and the creation of Peter Pan, was originally scheduled to be released in 2003, but the producers of this film – who held the screen rights to the story – refused permission for that film to use scenes from the play unless its release was delayed until the following year.

Filming, which lasted about twelve months and ended in June 2003, took place entirely inside sound stages on Australia's Gold Coast and New Zealand.[9] According to Fisher, the decision to shoot in Australia was based on the low value of the Australian dollar at that time.[9] Hogan had originally planned on filming in a variety of locations such as Tahiti, New Zealand, and London but abandoned this idea after scouting some of the locations.[10] Filming on sound stages did help "retain some of the theatricality of the original play", something which Hogan thought was important.[11]

Universal distributed in France and in all countries where English was the primary language (including the US and Canada), while Columbia/Revolution released the film in the rest of the world. The US TV rights are owned by Debmar-Mercury/Lions Gate Entertainment under license from Revolution, and co-distributed by 20th Television.


For the promotion of the film, the original novel of Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie was released with the cover that was the same look as the teaser poster. A video game was also released only for the Game Boy Advance on 10 December 2003. In it players can fly, fight, and solve various puzzles and collect special objects for special prizes and bonus points. The game received mixed reviews overall with Gamezone giving it a 6.4/10, Cubed3 giving it a 5.2/10, and Nintendo Power giving it a 2.2/5.

(citation needed) Cubed3 criticised the game for the bad dialogue and repetitive and rushed gameplay, but praising the graphics and sound.


The film received generally positive reviews from film critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 77% based on 140 reviews.[12]

Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film three and a half out of four stars.[13] MovieGuide has also favourably reviewed the film, strongly praising its quality with four out of four stars, and calling it "a wonderfully crafted, morally uplifting movie that intentionally emphasizes the fantasy elements of the story both in dialogue and design of the film."[14]

The film earned $48,462,608 at the box office in the United States and another $73.5 million outside of the US, which brings the world wide total to nearly $122 million.[2] It faced competition from the highly-anticipated The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King released the week before, and Cheaper by the Dozen which opened on the same day.

Jeremy Sumpter won a Saturn Award for Best Performance by a younger actor,[15] for which Rachel Hurd-Wood was also nominated. The film was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Film. Sumpter also won a 2004 Young Artist Award; Harry Newell, Rachel Hurd-Wood, and Carsen Gray were all nominated.[16]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Peter Pan (2003): Full Production Credits. New York Times. Retrieved on 29 March 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Peter Pan (2003). Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 1 September 2009.
  4. "Peter Pan" Soars Again. (24 June 2002). Retrieved on 4 January 2009.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Wloszczyna, Susan (7 August 2003). A Mature Peter Pan. USA Today. Retrieved on 10 September 2008.
  6. Murray, Rebecca. Interview with "Peter Pan" Star, Jeremy Sumpter. Retrieved on 16 September 2008.
  7. Murray, Rebecca. Director PJ Hogan Discovers Neverland With "Peter Pan". Retrieved on 16 September 2008.
  8. Dodi Al-Fayed – Peter Pan.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Mitchell, Peter (23 December 2003). Dark days loom for Aussie film industry. The Age. The Age Company Ltd. Retrieved on 11 September 2008.
  10. Whipp, Glenn (29 December 2003). Latest 'Pan' film lets boys be boys, preserves spirit of classic. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved on 16 September 2008. [dead link]
  11. Ramshaw, Mark. Peter Pan: Hook, Line and Tinker. VFXWorld. AWN,Inc.. Retrieved on 15 January 2004.
  12. Peter Pan (2003). Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved on 1 September 2009.
  13. Ebert, Roger (24 December 2003). Peter Pan Review. Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 1 September 2009. Retrieved on 1 September 2009.
  15. Past Saturn Awards. The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. Retrieved on 11 September 2008.
  16. Awards for Peter Pan (2003)., Inc.. Retrieved on 11 September 2008.

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