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Pollyanna (1920)

An orphan's optimistic outlook brings a change to the ill-tempered town in which she resides to her aunt.


Paul Powell


Eleanor H. Porter (based on the book by), Catherine Chisholm Cushing (based on: the 4-act comedy by) | 1 more credit »

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Complete credited cast:
Mary Pickford ... Pollyanna Whittier
Wharton James Wharton James ... Rev. John Whittier (as J. Wharton James)
Katherine Griffith Katherine Griffith ... Aunt Polly
Helen Jerome Eddy ... Nancy Thing
George Berrell ... Old Tom
Howard Ralston Howard Ralston ... Jimmy Bean
William Courtleigh ... John Pendleton
Herbert Prior ... Dr. Chilton


When Pollyanna is orphaned, she is sent to live with her crotchety Aunt Polly. Pollyanna discovers that many of the people in her aunt's New England home town are as ill-tempered as her aunt. But Pollyanna's incurable optimism - exemplified by her "glad game," in which she looks for the bright side of every situation - bring a change to the staid old community. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Family | Comedy | Drama


TV-G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

18 January 1920 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El ruiseñor del pueblo See more »


Box Office


$300,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Mary Pickford Company See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Catherine Chisholm Cushing's play opened in New York on 18 September 1916. See more »

Alternate Versions

In 1972, the Mary Pickford Co. copyrighted a version with an organ score played played by Gaylord Carter. Produced by Matty Kemp, it runs 60 minutes, about 2 of which is a historical introduction. See more »


Version of Hayat sevince güzel (1971) See more »


Rock-a-Bye Baby
Written by Effie I. Canning
Lyrics in an intertitle when Pollyanna sings to her dying father
Played on organ by Gaylord Carter in the alternate version
See more »

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User Reviews

it's too cute, but Mary Pickford makes it work anyway
1 June 2000 | by steve.schonbergerSee all my reviews

Pollyanna is the young girl who can find something happy in any situation. She faces numerous unfortunate events, starting with the death of her father, leaving her an orphan in the Ozarks. She travels to her surly aunt in far-off New England, cheerfully greeting the pouring rain and mud at the train station, and a sparse room in her aunt's attic. Her cheerfulness makes everyone else happy. But then finally a disaster strikes that's too awful for even her optimism. What happens? Are things made right in the end? Sorry, no spoilers from me!

Pollyanna's cheerfulness in the face of misfortune makes the story too cheerful to believe. But somehow Mary Pickford managed to make the character and the story work. Although she was in her late 20s, she made a convincing young girl, thanks to her shortness, good costuming and hairdressing, but mostly her acting talent. This movie shows how she got the nickname "America's sweetheart" and became the movie industry's first great star.

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