The story of a lazy man who falls asleep in the Catskill mountains for twenty years.


(teleplay), (teleplay)

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Episode cast overview:
Herself - Host
Brom Dutcher
Derrick Van Bummel
Little Rip
Mayoral Candidate
Peter Vanderdonk
Nicholas Vedder
Will Tussenbrook (as Christopher Penn)
Hendrick Hudson / Narrator
Harpoon Crew Member
Wilma Van Winkle


The story of a lazy man who falls asleep in the Catskill mountains for twenty years.

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Release Date:

23 March 1987 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


Although not the final of Faerie Tale Theatre to air, Rip Van Winkle was the last to finish production. See more »

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User Reviews

Washington Irving through the eyes of 'Faerie Tale Theatre'
2 July 2017 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

There is a lot to like about the 'Faerie Tale Theatre' series. Many of their adaptations of various well-known and well-loved fairy tales are charming, clever and sometimes funny, a few even emotionally moving. 'Faerie Tale Theatre' puts its own magical spin (whether playing for laughs or straight) on the best of the episodes while still capturing the essence of the stories, while also giving further enjoyment in seeing talented performers in early roles or in roles that are departures from their usual roles.

"Rip Van Winkle" is most notable perhaps for the involvement of Francis Ford Coppola as director. Yes, you saw right. THE Francis Ford Coppola, responsible for masterpieces like the first two 'Godfather' films and 'Apocalypse Now'. It's somewhat fair to say that "Rip Van Winkle" is a long way from one of his best efforts and he has done better directing, it's still all very competent but there is the sense that he was hindered by budget and time. Similarly, "Rip Van Winkle" is not one of the best of 'Faerie Tale Theatre', for me it ties with "The Princess Who Had Never Laughed" as the weakest of the series. This said in no way is it bad, just 'Faerie Tale Theatre' at its most problematic.

It is hindered by budget. A good deal of 'Faerie Tale Theatre' episodes overcome the low budgets and still manage to make good looking adaptations, "Rip Van Winkle" is one of their cheapest and shoestring-budget-looking ones. Especially in the drab sets and sometimes laughable props, especially in the storm in the flashback and goblin scenes. 'Faerie Tale Theatre' usually doesn't suffer from pacing issues, there are a few times where it does here, some parts feeling padded and dull.

As for the script, to me it's the weakest script of the series. Some nice moments and the references to Irving's America are clever and fun, but other parts are bland and rambling complete with an environmental message that feels very tacked on and heavy-handed.

However, Carmine Coppola's music score fits beautifully and matches the at times sombre tone very well. Some of the set pieces do work very well, like with the ghosts, and there is a surprisingly surreal tone that juxtaposes cleverly with the more sombre nature of the text. Plus the concluding message resonates in quite an emotional way and the references are clever.

Furthermore the cast are good. Harry Dean Stanton is more than ideal in the title role, his bewilderment delivered with genuine pathos. Talia Shire has a marvellous ball as a love-to-hate character, while there are great performances from Ed Begley Jnr, Tim Conway and particularly Roy Dotrice.

Overall, heavily flawed but just scrapes the above average mark. 6/10 Bethany Cox

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