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The Legend of Rip Van Winkle (1905)

La légende de Rip Van Winkle (original title)
Pioneer filmmaker Georges Melies tells his version of the famous Washington Irving story of a man who takes a nap and wakes up 20 years later.


Georges Méliès

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Credited cast:
André Méliès André Méliès ... Child Carrying Lantern
Georges Méliès ... Rip Van Winkle


In this loose adaptation of American writer Washington Irving's "Rip Van Winkle" original story and French composer Robert Planquette's famous 1882 operetta, the indefatigable director, Georges Méliès, unfolds an enchanting woodland fantasy in seventeen vibrant scenes. Incorporating strong elements of ingenious stage tricks and theatrics, mechanical devices, cinematic special effects, and gradual dissolves between tableaux to move from stark reality to rich phantasmagoria, the unsuspecting Rip's ordeal begins shortly after his escape to the mountains to flee the local authorities' wrath. However, in the seemingly safe woods, a captivatingly eerie and haunting dream sequence will condemn our hero in a profound and almost mystical twenty-year slumber. Will the world be the same after two decades of deep sleep? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Drama | Fantasy


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

25 November 1905 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Legend of Rip Van Winkle See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Georges Méliès,Star-Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (hand-tinted)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

A Méliès Take on the Rip Van Winkle Legend
7 November 2005 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

This Georges Méliès adaptation of the legend of Rip Van Winkle is certainly interesting, if not always successful. It is a relatively lavish production for its time, with detailed sets and hand-tinted color in the final print. It changes the story considerably in order to allow for some of Méliès's special camera effects, yet there are several stretches of the movie in which the camera tricks take a back seat to slapstick or exposition.

While it keeps the basic character and some of the story developments of the tale as it is usually told (from Washington Irving and earlier legends such as Peter Klaus), it also changes quite a bit. Rip's domineering wife is replaced by other problems, and the dream that Méliès imagines for him takes center stage.

There are certainly many Méliès touches, in the interesting details and in the special effects, but overall, it doesn't have as many high points as do his best features. Aside from his adaptations of Jules Verne, he was usually at his best when coming up with his own ideas. Nevertheless, this is a watchable adaptation, and the changes to the story make it unpredictable even if you are well familiar with the original story.

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