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The Princess and the Goblin
Film poster
Directed by József Gémes
Produced by Robin Lyons
Screenplay by Robin Lyons
Music by István Lerch
Editing by Magda Hap
Studio Hungary
Pannonia Film Studio
United Kingdom
Sianel 4 Cymru
Distributed by United States
Hemdale Communications
J&M Entertainment
United Kingdom:
Entertainment Film Distributors
Budapest Film
Release date(s) Japan
December 16, 1990 (1990-12-16)
December 20, 1991 (1991-12-20)
United Kingdom:
December 18, 1992 (1992-12-18)
United States
June 3, 1994 (1994-06-03)
Running time 82 minutes
Country Japan
United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget $10 million
Money made $2,105,078

The Princess and the Goblin (Hungarian: A hercegnő és a kobold) is a 1990 Japanese-British-Hungarian-American animated fantasy film directed by József Gémes and written by Robin Lyons, an adaptation of George MacDonald's 1872 novel of the same name.

When a peaceful kingdom is menaced by an army of monstrous goblins, a brave and beautiful princess joins forces with a resourceful peasant boy to rescue the noble king and all his people. The lucky pair must battle the evil power of the wicked goblin prince armed only with the gift of song, the miracle of love, and a magical shimmering thread.


In a mountainous kingdom, the widowed King leaves to attend affairs of state, leaving his beloved daughter, the sweet Princess Irene, alone with her nursemaid, Lootie. When Irene is on an outing with Lootie, she runs away on purpose, and Lootie cannot find her. When sun sets, Irene is lost in a sinister forest, and is attacked when clawed hands bursts through the earth and attempts to seize her kitten, Turnip. Several deformed animals corner the frightened Princess, until a strange singing sounds through the trees, driving them into a crazed and frightened fit, and they flee. The singing is revealed to be a young boy, Curdie, the son of a miner. He discovers Irene is lost, and leads her back to the castle. He informs her that the monsters were goblins and their "pets", and that they are driven away by singing. Curdie says that everyone except the King and his family know of the goblins, and Irene reveals she is a Princess.

The next day, Irene goes exploring in the castle after discovering a magical secret door in her bedroom. She ventures into a tower and meets the spirit of her Great Great Grandmother, also called Irene. Grandmother informs the young princess that she will be there to help her, for Irene will soon be in grave danger. The same day, Curdie and his father are underground in the mines, and Curdie falls through a pothole and into the realm of the goblins. Hidden, he follows the goblins to a vast cavern where the sniveling Goblin King and the malevolent Goblin Queen are holding an audience, announcing their scheme to flood the mines and drown the "Sun People"... humans. Suddenly, Prince Froglip, the feared, yet spoiled and infantile, heir to the goblin throne, announces drowning them is "Not enough!" and states he shall abduct the Princess of the Sun People and marry her, thereby forcing the humans to accept the goblins as their rulers. He claims that this is revenge for the humans exiling the goblins underground centuries beforehand. Before Curdie can run and tell the others, the goblins find him and put him away in a dungeon. Luckily, Irene and Turnip have snuck out of the castle again, following a magic thread given to her by her grandmother, invisible to everyone else. The thread leads Irene to Curdie and working together, Curdie is released from his improvised cell. The two children are chased by the goblins but luckily escape. The miners are warned of the flooding plan in time to begin erecting supports to keep most of the tunnels free of water and the castle is also put on guard. The goblins do attack and Curdie must show all the castle people how to fight - namely, to jump on the goblins' feet and sing. Curdie also realizes if the miners are successful, the water will have nowhere to go but up and will end up flooding the castle. He tries to get everyone to leave and he and the king realize Irene is missing. Curdie finds Irene being held captive by the evil Froglip. All three are knocked down by the arrival of the flood waters and Curdie tries to rescue the princess and not get thrown over the battlement edges by the goblin prince. With some help from Irene, Froglip is flung away and everyone is saved.


  • Sally Ann Marsh - Princess Irene, the sweet and courageous princess of the castle
  • Peter Murray - Curdie, a mining warrior boy. (Paul Keating did his singing voice.)
  • Rik Mayall - Prince Froglip, the evil Goblin Prince.
  • Claire Bloom - Great Great Grandmother Irene
  • Joss Ackland - King Papa, Irene's father
  • William Hootkins - Peter, Curdie's father
  • Roy Kinnear - Mump. This was Kinnear's final screen role released, following his death on 20 September 1988.
  • Robin Lyons - Goblin King, Froglip's father
  • Peggy Mount - Goblin Queen, Froglip's mother. This was Mount's final film role.
  • Victor Spinetti - Glump
  • Mollie Sugden - Lootie, Irene's nanny
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