Faerie Tale Theatre (1982–1987)
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The Pied Piper of Hamelin 


On Disc

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Episode credited cast:
Tony Van Bridge ...
Peter Blais ...
Julius Caesar Rat
Peter Boretski ...
James Edmond ...
Tom Harvey ...
Kenneth Wickes ...
Chris Wiggins ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Susannah Hoffmann ...


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Release Date:

5 April 1985 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The town of Hamelin comes alive in the style of Flemish painter Jan Brueghel with scores of actors, and, in one particularly eerie scene, hundreds of trained river rats filling its streets. See more »


Willie: But I'm on holiday! What's the point of being on holiday if you can't stay up?
Robert Browning: That's a very clever argument, young Willie to be sure! And while I'm certain I can't answer it as you phrased it, put like that I see no reason why you shouldn't stay up until dawn, that's what holidays are for.
See more »

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User Reviews

'The Pied Piper of Hamelin' comes to 'Faerie Tale Theatre'
29 June 2017 | by 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 enjoyments in seeing talented performers in early roles or in roles that are departures from their usual roles.

'Faerie Tale Theatre' is one of those shows where misfires are very few if any, lesser episodes like "Pinocchio", "Jack and the Beanstalk", "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Nightingale" still having many good elements and being decent overall. "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" is not quite my favourite 'Faerie Tale Theatre' episode, having a slight preference for (talking of the episodes previous to this for a second) "Hansel and Gretel", "The Boy Who Left Home to Find Out About the Shivers", "The Three Little Pigs", "The Snow Queen" and "Snow Queen and the Seven Dwarfs".

It is still great however, if more for adults and older children than younger ones. While many are more intelligent and take things much easier generally than most give them credit for, the portrayal of the rodents is authentically scary, which may frighten some (enough though will find it very effective and it doesn't come over as hokey at all when older). Also familiarity with the character of the Pied Piper and the poem will benefit hugely those to understand the character's darker side and ambiguity (both of which the episode pulls no punches in bringing out), young first-time viewers may find that aspect goes over their heads.

However, "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" looks great. The medieval production values and painterly settings and the stylish way of how it's all shot makes for one of the show's most visually striking episodes. James Horner's music score is one of the most eerie and cleverly used, the pipes giving a real unsettling edge without traumatising and actually sounding pretty beautiful, music scores of any episode of 'Faerie Tale Theatre' too.

Nicholas Meyer directs very capably and the writing is remarkably mature and poetic, a fine example of 'Faerie Tale Theatre' excelling very well when playing straight, while not falling into sentimentality or cutesiness. The final march is nightmarish but in somewhat of an innocent way, while a lot of it is thought-provoking in its morality play approach.

The poem is very skilfully adapted, with the ingenious use of the bed-time story with a message device framing the story, and the tale itself told with a darkness, innocence, charm, emotional impact and sense of fun, also doing a great job making the titular character interesting.

Eric Idle is perfectly cast as the Pied Piper and as Browning himself. The rest of the cast are fine, if not quite up to the same level as Idle.

Overall, 'Faerie Tale Theatre' does it again with another near-classic. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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