FairyTale: A True Story (1997)

PG  |   |  Drama, Family, Fantasy  |  24 October 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 4,479 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.



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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
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Did You Know?


The film is based on the true story of the Cottingley Fairies. In the summer of 1917, Frances Griffiths (then 10 years old) and her cousin Elsie Wright (then 16 years old) were living with Elsie's parents in the town of Cottingley in West Yorkshire. Using Arthur Wright's camera, the girls took a series of pictures of themselves with fairies in the nearby woodland brook of Cottingley Beck. (The woodland scenes in "FairyTale: A True Story" are filmed in Cottingley Beck, the actual location where Frances and Elsie supposedly encountered the fairies in 1917.) The photographs became public in 1919 (not during World War I, as depicted in the film), when Elsie's mother gave the photos to Edward Gardner, President of the Theosophical Society of Bradford. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle published the photos with an article on spiritualism in "The Strand" Magazine in December, 1920. Opinions over the authenticity of the photos were divided. Several photographic experts examined them and pronounced them "genuine," while other photo experts found "evidence of fakery." (A few experts who examined the photos noted that the "fairies" had "Parisienne-style haircuts," which were popular in the day.) In the end, no real harm came from the photos. The two girls never accepted any money for them, or tried to swindle anyone with their claims of fairy encounters. Years later, as adults, the girls admitted they had faked the photos using cardboard cutouts of fairies taken from a children's book. Elsie explained that they were too embarrassed to admit the truth about the photos after Conan Doyle, the legendary creator of Sherlock Holmes, accepted them as genuine. However, Frances insisted until her death that at least one of the "fairy photos" was real. Frances died in 1986, and Elsie died in 1988. The original photos, and the cameras the girls used to take them, are now in the National Media Museum in Bradford, England. See more »


Polly Wright: Frances, I've been down the beck a hundred times. Why haven't I ever seen any of them?
Frances Griffiths: Grownups don't know how to believe.
See more »


Version of Photographing Fairies (1997) 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 »

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User Reviews

Just Delightful
3 September 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When I saw the average for this film was 6.2 I was uncertain whether I would watch it or not - I am so glad I DID! It was simply delightful and the acting superb, convincing and absolutely fun. I recommend this to anyone who wants to be entertained with a purity and simplicity rarely seen in today's films. It should be rated G and not PG since there was nothing offensive in it and I can't wait to watch it again with my grandson! Peter O'Toole, Harvey Keitel and the little girls made it all so believable. The English scenery, the attention to detail to the time period around 1917 and the entire storyline was wonderful. I recommend this movie to anyone who just wants to believe that there really are fairies. Enjoy!

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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
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