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Peter and the Wolf (1946 film) facts for kids

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Peter and the Wolf
Disney's Peter and the wolf.jpg
Directed by Clyde Geronimi
Produced by Walt Disney
Story by Eric Gurney
Dick Huemer
Narrated by Sterling Holloway
Music by Edward H. Plumb
Kurt Graunke (conductor)
Studio Walt Disney Productions
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release date(s) August 15, 1946 (1946-08-15) (USA)
Running time 15 minutes
Country United States

Peter and the Wolf is a 1946 animated short based on the 1936 musical composition/fairy tale by Sergei Prokofiev, produced by Walt Disney and narrated by Sterling Holloway. It was originally released theatrically as a segment in Make Mine Music. It was re-issued the following year accompanying a re-issue of Fantasia (as a short subject before the film), then released separately on home video in the 1990s.


Prokofiev, while touring the West in 1938, visited Los Angeles and met Walt Disney. Prokofiev performed the piano version of Peter and the Wolf for "le papa de Mickey Mouse", as Prokofiev described him in a letter to his sons. Disney was impressed, and considered adding an animated version of Peter and the Wolf to Fantasia, which was to be released in 1940. Due to the war, these plans fell through, and it was not until 1946 that Disney released his version of Peter and the Wolf. It is not known if Prokofiev, by that point behind the Iron Curtain, was aware of this.


In Disney's animated adaptation of Prokofiev's masterpiece, in which every character is represented musically by a different instrument. The apparent setting is Russia. A young Peter decides to go hunting for the wolf that has been prowling around the village. Along the way, he is joined by his friends Sasha the bird, Sonia the duck, and Ivan the cat. All the fun comes to end, however, when the wolf makes an appearance.

Differences from the original

This version makes several changes to the original story, for example:

  • During the character introduction, the animals are given names: "Sasha" the bird, "Sonia" the duck, and "Ivan" the cat.
  • As the cartoon begins, Peter and his friends already know there is a wolf nearby, and are preparing to catch him.
  • The hunters get names at a later point in the story: "Misha", "Yasha", and "Vladimir".
  • Peter day-dreams of hunting and catching the wolf and exits the garden carrying a wooden "pop-gun" rifle with the purpose of hunting the wolf down.
  • At the end, in a complete reversal of the original (and to make the story more child-friendly), it turns out that the duck, Sonia, has not been eaten by the wolf. (The wolf is shown chasing Sonia, who hides in an old tree's hollow trunk. The wolf attacks out of view, and returns in view with some of Sonia's feathers in his mouth and licking his jaws in visible satisfaction. Peter, Ivan, and Sasha assume Sonia has been eaten. After the wolf has been caught, Sasha is shown mourning Sonia. She comes out of the tree trunk at that point and they are happily reunited).

In other media

An audio recording of this version with expanded narration by Sterling Holloway was released on Disneyland Records (DQ-1242).

Peter and the Wolf is featured on DVD in the Walt Disney Gold Classic Collection release of Make Mine Music and in Walt Disney's It's a Small World of Fun! Vol. 2. It is also featured on VHS in Belle's Tales of Friendship, the Disney version of Peter and the Wolf is featured and narrated by Belle instead of Sterling Holloway. This version was featured in House of Mouse.

In the ABC television series Once Upon a Time, the character of Red Riding Hood has a boyfriend named Peter, a reference to the character in the 1946 Disney short. In the first season of the series, Peter is killed by the wolf (actually Red Riding Hood, who is revealed to be a werewolf).

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