Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959)

Approved  |   |  Adventure, Family, Fantasy  |  23 March 1960 (Japan)
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Reviews: 51 user | 22 critic

A wily old codger matches wits with the king of the leprechauns and helps play matchmaker for his daughter and the strapping lad who has replaced him as caretaker.



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Complete credited cast:
Albert Sharpe ...
Jimmy O'Dea ...
Kieron Moore ...
Walter Fitzgerald ...
Denis O'Dea ...
J.G. Devlin ...
Farrell Pelly ...
Nora O'Mahoney ...
Molly Malloy (as Nora O'Mahony)


Darby O'Gill seems to be as full of blarney as any old codger in Ireland, but the stories of leprechauns he tells at the pub are true. In fact, he and the tiny King Brian, ruler of the little people, are friendly adversaries, continually out-foxing each other. Darby needs a bit of magical help from the wily king when Lord Fitzpatrick replaces him as caretaker with the handsome, strapping young Michael from Dublin. Michael falls in love with Darby's beautiful daughter, Katie, which is all right with Darby; but the lad has a rival in a local ruffian, the son of a devious widow who wants her boy to be the caretaker. King Brian's supernatural assistance is necessary to make everything come out all right, but the sneaky leprechaun won't play matchmaker without a fight. Finally, real trouble comes in the form of the Banshee, and Darby will need all his quick wits to save his daughter from the wicked spirit. Written by J. Spurlin

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More than a wee bit of magical shenanigans! See more »


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Release Date:

23 March 1960 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

The Little People  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Walt Disney was initially hoping to cast Barry Fitzgerald in the dual roles of Darby O'Gill and King Brian. Fitzgerald reportedly declined due to his advanced age (although his eventual replacement as Darby, Albert Sharpe, was three years his senior). Disney regretted the loss of Fitzgerald in the lead role, and blamed the film's disappointing box-office performance partly on this loss. See more »


Wires are often visible when the leprechauns are jumping or making things fly about. See more »


[first lines]
Katie O'Gill: Come in, Mrs. Sugrue!
Sheelah Sugrue: Katie, darlin'! Can you lend me the loan of a small pinch o' tea; I'll pay ye back Thursday.
Katie O'Gill: Ye can have it an' welcome.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits: My thanks to King Brian of Knocknasheega and his Leprechauns, whose gracious co-operation made this picture possible. - Walt Disney See more »


Edited into The Hand Behind the Mouse: The Ub Iwerks Story (1999) See more »


The Fox Chase
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

27 October 2002 | by (Ottawa, Canada) – See all my reviews

I saw this movie on TV as a child, and the scenes of the banshee and the death coach scared and impressed me so much, I carried the memory of them all my life. When I was an adult and saw it on video, I was astonished to find that the scenes are STILL impressive and creepy! Considering how sophisticated special effects have become since 'Darby O'Gill' was made in 1959, that's quite a tribute to the moviemaking skills of the day. The scenery is lovely, the actors skilful and wholeheartedly into their work, the music catchy and delightful, and really there's nothing not to like in this movie. The duels between Darby and his nemesis, King Brian, are wonderfully funny, as each tries to outsmart the other. The village characters are all well-drawn and likeable personalities. Pony Sugrue seems more 'American' than the others, but then, he's not supposed really to fit in in the village, and his punishment at the end is an enjoyable comeuppance. Favourite scenes - the banshee and death coach at the end, as mentioned, and all the leprechauns dancing under the fairy mountain then riding their little white horses out into the night as Darby plays them a wild tune on his fiddle. Don't be put off by the date on this movie; it's as good now as the day it was made.

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