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Little Women (1994)

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The March sisters live and grow in post-Civil War America.

Director:

Gillian Armstrong

Writers:

Louisa May Alcott (novel), Robin Swicord (screenplay)
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Popularity
91 ( 1,726)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Winona Ryder ... Jo March
Gabriel Byrne ... Friedrich Bhaer
Trini Alvarado ... Meg March
Samantha Mathis ... Older Amy March
Kirsten Dunst ... Younger Amy March
Claire Danes ... Beth March
Christian Bale ... Laurie
Eric Stoltz ... John Brooke
John Neville ... Mr. Laurence
Mary Wickes ... Aunt March
Susan Sarandon ... Mrs. March
Florence Paterson Florence Paterson ... Hannah
Robin Collins Robin Collins ... Carriage Boy
Corrie Clark Corrie Clark ... Belle Gardiner
Rebecca Toolan ... Mrs. Gardiner
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Storyline

Louisa May Alcott's autobiographical account of her life with her three sisters in Concord, Massachusetts in the 1860s. With their father fighting in the American Civil War, sisters Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth are at home with their mother, a very outspoken women for her time. The story tells of how the sisters grow up, find love and find their place in the world.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The story that has Lived in our hearts For generations, Now comes to the screen For the holidays See more »

Genres:

Drama | Family | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for two uses of mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Canada

Language:

English | German | French

Release Date:

25 December 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Little Women See more »

Filming Locations:

Canada See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,411,247, 25 December 1994

Gross USA:

$50,083,616

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$50,083,616
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The set designer patterned the interiors after the layout of Orchard House, Louisa May Alcott's family home in Concord, Massachusetts. This is the house she lived in while writing the book, and she imagined its events taking place there. See more »

Goofs

When Laurie spots Amy painting in Europe, he drops his cigarette twice. See more »

Quotes

Jo: My book! Someone's publishing my book! Hannah! Hannah, someone's publishing my book!
Hannah: Heaven help us!
Jo: But it came without a letter, how did it arrive?
Hannah: Foreign gentleman brought it. Odd name, Fox or Bear.
Jo: Bhaer! Did you ask him to wait?
Hannah: I thought he was one of Miss Amy's European friends come with a wedding gift. I told him Miss March and Mr Laurie were living next door.
Jo: Oh Hannah! You didn't!
See more »

Connections

Version of Little Women (1917) See more »

Soundtracks

For the Beauty of the Earth
Lyrics by Folliott S. Pierpont
Music by Conrad Kocher
Vocals: Trini Alvarado, Kirsten Dunst, and Claire Danes
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Something that should be treasured
8 October 2005 | by IridescentTranquilitySee all my reviews

There are many, many reasons why I love this version of Little Women. The main one - or at least the most immediate - is the way the film looks. I love the soft lighting, the hair and costumes (I was astounded this year when I bought the DVD to hear on the commentary that Winona Ryder's hair was not her own but a wig! I never would have guessed it at all.) The male characters as much as the females, I do love the period costumes, and I'm impressed by the efforts the wardrobe department made to get everything so accurate. The girls were in impoverished circumstances, so the clothes they wear aren't new and look just as though they've been handed down from one sister to another.

There are a few subtle touches in this film that I sometimes find a bit jarring, such as when Marmee is talking with John Brooke in front of Meg and mentions her disagreement with the idea of women wearing restrictive corsets, but that is really the only bit that I don't feel is quite right, and it is there to demonstrate Marmee's liberal attitude.

I love the way the characters interact, although there perhaps isn't enough demonstration of why Laurie and old Mr. Laurence disagree. Jo and Amy act just like real sisters - they fight and provoke each other into arguments and disputes, and generally have a chance to make little digs at the other. Meg is the pretty - but yet also virtuous - one, and clearly the most socially at ease with the upper classes of the time, for instance reminding Jo "Don't shake hands with people. It isn't the thing any more", and in the end - although she has to wait for a period of time that would seem endless today before marrying the man she loves - she opts for a poorer but obviously happier life. It would be very easy to simply say that Beth is not given anything dramatic or interesting to do, but that is the whole point of her character. She watches those around her do great and exciting things, and there is a sense that she herself is happy with that. Susan Sarandon's Marmee clearly holds this family together - the ideal mother figure, she is comforting, incredibly wise (I wonder if anyone has ever met anyone with all the wisdom she seems to have) and always on hand to encourage her girls in their quest to do as they please.

The male characters are also interesting. John Brooke is stable and compassionate and sensible. Laurie (also known as Teddy just occasionally) can be quite an intense figure and I was amazed to find that Christian Bale was only about twenty when this film was released. It is as interesting to see the changes his personality goes through as it is to see those the girls go through. The Professor is a slightly unorthodox character and yet he complements Jo perfectly.

I have watched this film many, many times now (so many, in fact, that I have sometimes been known to say the lines along with the characters as they say them) and I know I will watch it many more times in the future. It might perhaps be a bit of a holiday film but it's certainly worth watching for the feel-good factor it generates.


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