FairyTale: A True Story (1997)

PG  |   |  Drama, Family, Fantasy  |  24 October 1997 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.5/10 from 4,477 users  
Reviews: 54 user | 39 critic

In 1917, two children take a photograph, which is soon believed by some to be the first scientific evidence of the existence of fairies.



(story), (story), 2 more credits »
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A young British girl born and raised in India loses her neglectful parents in an earthquake. She is returned to England to live at her uncle's estate. Her uncle is very distant due to the ... See full summary »

Director: Agnieszka Holland
Stars: Kate Maberly, Maggie Smith, Heydon Prowse
Drama | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A young girl is relegated to servitude at a boarding school when her father goes missing and is presumed dead.

Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Stars: Liesel Matthews, Eleanor Bron, Liam Cunningham
Adventure | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Willoughby Chase is the grand but remote home of Sir Willoughby and Lady Green and their daughter Bonnie.

Director: Stuart Orme
Stars: Stephanie Beacham, Mel Smith, Emily Hudson
Drama | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

10-year-old Fiona is sent to live with her grandparents in a small fishing village in Donegal, Ireland. She soon learns the local legend that an ancestor of hers married a Selkie - a seal ... See full summary »

Director: John Sayles
Stars: Jeni Courtney, Eileen Colgan, Mick Lally
Family | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Tia and her brother Tony have supernatural powers, can communicate and move things with the power of their mind alone. They arrive on Earth for a visit in Los Angeles. When Tony uses his ... See full summary »

Director: John Hough
Stars: Bette Davis, Christopher Lee, Kim Richards
Family | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Geraldine and her two daughters, Livvie and Angeline, are living rough on the streets on London. When their van blows up, they must find an alternitive place to stay. At first, they live in... See full summary »

Director: Jane Prowse
Stars: Dervla Kirwan, Elizabeth Earl, Holly Earl
Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A drama that focuses on the period in Mary and Joseph's life where they journeyed to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus.

Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Stars: Keisha Castle-Hughes, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Oscar Isaac
Thumbelina (1994)
Animation | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

The tiny girl meets a fairy prince who saves her from the creatures of the woods.

Directors: Don Bluth, Gary Goldman
Stars: Jodi Benson, Gary Imhoff, Gino Conforti
Family | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Harriet M. Welsch is a spy. But when Harriet's friends find her secret notebook the tables are turned on her. Can she win her friends back and still keep on going with the spy business?

Director: Bronwen Hughes
Stars: Michelle Trachtenberg, Rosie O'Donnell, Gregory Smith
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Director: Olle Hellbom
Stars: Torsten Lilliecrona, Bengt Eklund, Louise Edlind
Alice in Wonderland (TV Movie 1999)
Adventure | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

The wizards behind The Odyssey (1997) and Merlin (1998) combine Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass" into a two-hour special that just gets curiouser and curiouser.

Director: Nick Willing
Stars: Tina Majorino, Whoopi Goldberg, Robbie Coltrane
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
Director: Staffan Götestam
Stars: Jonatan Lindoff, Oskar Löfkvist, Britta Pettersson


Cast overview, first billed only:
Jason Salkey ...
James Collins
Lara Morgan ...
Adam Franks ...
Adrian Doyle
Denis Doyle
Houdini's Assistant
Portly Gentleman
Florence Hoath ...
Leonard Kavanagh ...
Stage Manager
Elizabeth Earl ...
Wounded Corporal


Based on factual accounts, this is the story of two young girls that, somehow, have the ability to take pictures of winged beings... which certainly causes quite a stir throughout England during the time of the first World War. Everyone, except the girls who think it's quite normal, are excited about this "photographic proof" that fairies exist... even the great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini pay the girls a visit. Written by BOB STEBBINS <stebinsbob@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for brief mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

24 October 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fairy Tale: A True Story  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$3,515,323 (USA) (24 October 1997)


£2,164,218 (UK) (10 April 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The last film of Don Henderson. See more »


Polly Wright: Thank you.
Elsie Wright: For what?
Polly Wright: For the photographs.
See more »


See the Conquering Hero Comes
from "Judas Maccabeus"
Composed by George Frideric Handel (as Georg Friedrich Händel)
Arranged by Christopher Blood
Performed by the combined brass ensembles of St. Peter's & St. Oliver's Schools, York
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Hope in the unreal
22 January 1999 | by (Louisville, KY USA) – See all my reviews

Based on a famous "Cottingley fairies" hoax perpetrated by two English girls during World War I in 1917, "FairyTale: A True Story" presents alternate views of reality to suggest that, like the view of Aborigines, dreams are as real as conscious reality. If you take the special effects fairies too literally in this film, you will miss the point. The film plays a trick on you, just as the original incident played a trick on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1917. Houdini, as played by Harvey Keitel, gets the point. Although he's one to debunk mystics who defraud the gullible, he too trades on people's need to believe in magic. The girls' deception is also a sort of benign fraud. As any magician, they should never reveal their "secret." The film invites comparisons to the famous French classic, "Forbidden Games" in which children construct an elaborate fantasy world as a way of coping with the reality of war. Here too, the girls use fairies to fill the void in their lives left by their father, who has gone "missing" on the front in France. "I know what they mean by 'missing,'" says one of the sisters, conscious of reality but hoping to "believe" in the unlikely event of his return. This is not a kiddie film, but a langorous period piece on the nature of belief and faith in the face of empirical skepticism. The film reinforces its theme with beautiful details, as at the end when the father says he smells the perfume which isn't there, or in the ghostly intrusion of a dead brother that changes the mind of a skeptical reporter. Even the final sequence, involving fairies, is so charming it steers clear of cynical manipulation. Although there are moments when the plot seems to become arbitrary or plodding, it's all tied up neatly and beautifully in a magical finale. I'd hesitate to call this a classic, but it is a worthwhile "sleeper." Just bring an open mind and heart.

28 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Does anyone believe in faeries? enchanteddreamer
Not exactly a "true story" laterosenoonvale
Here are the original pictures by the real girls..... tracy3185
Whether you are a believer or a non-believer... psychedelically
I Live there! willthematrixhacker
Harry Houdini? zwitter112
Discuss FairyTale: A True Story (1997) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: