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Pippin: His Life and Times (1981)

At the goading of the ominous and omnipresent Leading Player, Pippin, the eldest son of King Charlemagne, samples life's pleasures to discover his place in the world and the meaning of his life.



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2 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Leslie Denniston ...
Benjamin Rayson ...
Joanie P. Oneill ...
Debra Phelan ...
Linda Haberman ...
Kate Wright ...
Allison Williams ...
John Mineo ...
Sword Bearer
Charles Lee Ward ...
Lee Mathis ...
Frank Mastrocola ...


At the goading of the ominous and omnipresent Leading Player, Pippin, the eldest son of King Charlemagne, samples life's pleasures to discover his place in the world and the meaning of his life.

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Only Ben Vereen and Christopher Chadman (Louis) reprise their roles from the original Broadway cast. See more »


The Lead Player sings during the song "Simple Joys" that wouldn't you rather be... "a twig on a fig in Galilee." The line from the song that is supposed to be sung is "a fig on a twig in Galilee". See more »


Berthe: Sometimes I think men raise flags when they can't get anything else up.
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Referenced in Modern Family: Slow Down Your Neighbors (2011) See more »


Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Sung by William Katt
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User Reviews

Extraordinary? Not quite...
27 July 2003 | by (Phoenix, AZ) – See all my reviews

I first saw this movie while I was acting in a production of the show...just to get a feel for the songs and the choreography, not really paying much attention to the quality of the performances or the show as a whole. On repeated viewings since, however, I can say that...well, frankly, it doesn't make a very strong impression on me. I suppose there are several reasons for this; first of all, there's a lot of the script missing. But which script? There were actually two different "Pippin" scripts, which shared most of the songs and basic structure, but very little else. This production seems to be a mishmash of elements form both versions.

There are certain things I liked... Ben Vereen, of course, whose Leading Player was nearly flawless. William Katt did not sing as prettily as John Rubenstein, the original Pippin, but he seems to have a level of guts and passion that was missing earlier, as well, so that's okay, too. The nauseating "I Guess I'll Miss the Man" was cut (thank God). All good things.

But outweighed, unfortunately, by some negative aspects. First, casting...Chita Rivera has no place in the show. She doesn't sing it well, and the dance break seemed to be so that the producers could say, "Hey, look! We've got Chita Rivera!" The editing left a lot to be desired as well...there were whole expository scenes missing, and some really unnecessary ones left in. And most of all, it was just so FAST! Everyone spoke as if they would be penalized if the show ran over two hours...Ben Rayson as Charlemagne is most indictable for this, but all of the cast (even the incomparable Vereen) are guilty of it from time to time. I also felt that the ending was WAAAY too abrupt...there's so much more to be done with one of the most powerful final scenes in musical history, and they took the easiest possible exit.

All in all, I own it and watch it simply because there are way too few filmed stage versions of musicals available (the only others I can think of are Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park with George, Jeckyll and Hyde, Putting It Together, and Sweeny Todd).

I like movie musicals, but I like seeing them done on stage more than anything. I just wish there was a better reason than that for owning this one.

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