An Englishman returns after a long time abroad and tells his strange stories about the lands he visited which are allegories about the real world.
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Won 5 Primetime Emmys. Another 6 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete series cast summary:
 Lemuel Gulliver (2 episodes, 1996)
 Mary Gulliver (2 episodes, 1996)
 Dr. Bates (2 episodes, 1996)
 Dr. Parnell (2 episodes, 1996)
 Dr. Pritchard (2 episodes, 1996)
 Tom Gulliver (2 episodes, 1996)


All star adaptation of Jonathan Swift's satirical tale about a normal man who, after returning home following eight years of absence, relates fantastical tales about how he was thought to be giant in the Land of Lilliput, but was only six inches high in the Land of Brobdingnag. He also tells of his visit to the floating island of Laputa populated by scientists who are so obsessed with reason that they act with no common sense. Finally, he tells of his journey to the land where his disturbing likeness to the bestial Yahoos and his inferiority to the intelligent horses there makes him question the very worth of his humanity. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The adventure of a lifetime

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements | See all certifications »





Release Date:

4 February 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

As Viagens de Gulliver  »

Box Office


$28,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(2 parts)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

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Did You Know?


Although he played John Standing and Edward Fox's father, Peter O'Toole was only two years older than Standing and less than five years older than Fox in real life. See more »


When Dr. Bates is tearing pages from Gulliver's journal and throwing them on the fire the pages change position between shots. See more »


Lemuel Gulliver: Why should we not be seen as God made us?
Dr. Bates: Because as any Christian knows, it would be immodest!
Lemuel Gulliver: Meaning that these people would be incapable of modest behaviour if they were naked?
See more »


Referenced in The Ladykillers (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

The best possible adaptation
12 October 2008 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

I remember when this NBC mini-series aired when I was in high school. After reading the novel, I thought I'd check out some adaptations. Didn't expect much out of a TV mini-series, but now I might have to check out some more. This is actually excellent, and the best possible film version that could be made. Writer Simon Moore, who wrote the teleplay for the original Traffic mini-series, upon which the Soderberg film was based, came up with a brilliant narrative conceit which helps the story flow very smoothly: he frames Gulliver's adventures as flashbacks, with the actual story beginning as Gulliver first returns home (everything having happened on one journey). Gulliver, played by Cheers' Ted Danson, is sort of crazy-seeming when his wife, Mary Steenburgen, welcomes him back into his home. Unfortunately, the house is now owned by the local doctor, James Fox, who has designs on Steenburgen. Gulliver seems merely disturbed at first, but when he starts telling stories of tiny people, that's all the evidence Fox needs to throw him into an insane asylum. All four of Gulliver's travels are related in this version, in the same order as the novel (the only time this has been done on film). I love the way his present situation reflects his flashbacks. Gulliver's small son, whom he has never met before, reminds him of the Lilliputians. The doctors who observe him in his cell from a mezzanine loom above him and remind him of the Brogdingnagians, and the doctors' scientific inquiries remind him of the insane scientific experiments and theories of the Laputans and the professors at the Academy. Finally, when he is put on trial he is reminded of the Houyhnhnms and the Yahoos. The cast of this thing is amazing, and includes Peter O'Toole, Ned Beatty, Alfre Woodard, John Gielgud, Kristin Scott Thomas, Omar Sharif and Warwick Davis. The biggest flaw of the mini-series is that the acting is really uneven. You have all these fine actors, but the lesser characters are often played by actors who were probably fine in episodes of L.A. Law, but don't do well in a costume drama. Ted Danson isn't especially great, although he has a few sequences where he excels. It's probably better that he didn't attempt one, but all the other characters of the film speak in an English accent. Steenburgen is actually pretty good at it, and is quite good overall. Another flaw the series has is that the adventures happen a tad too quickly. It's not believable that Gulliver spent eight years away from home, as is claimed. But, in general, it captures Swift's tone and purpose very well, while, with its structure, adding a new emotional level.

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