Disney / Peter Pan


The second star to the right shines with a light so rare,
And if it's Never Land you need, its light will lead you there.

Disney Animated Canon entry #14, and the last one to be distributed by RKO Pictures. It is also the last film that all nine of Disney's Nine Old Men worked on together.

The well-remembered 1953 Disney animated movie presents a cozier version of Peter Pan, keeping most of the incidents, but virtually none of the original dialogue. Furthermore, it is one of the earliest examples when the play's usual casting tradition was waived and a male actor was cast for the title role.

During their Direct-to-Video sequel period, Disney made Return To Never Land, in 2002, one of the few animated sequels to get a theatrical release (but still not part of the Disney Animated Canon itself). Their publishing arm has released a series of prequel novels written by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. Finally, their take on Tinker Bell has long been something of a mascot character for the company and in the new millennium the Spin-Off Disney Fairies line of books, merchandise, and a made-for-DVD film was launched focusing on her and other (original) pixies (similar in concept to the Disney Princess line). And for the boys (though it features a token girl) is a pirate-adventure flavored take on the Dora the Explorer and Go Diego Go formula called Jake and the Never Land Pirates where a group of kid pirates match wits with Captain Hook and Smee.

Peter Pan provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Species Change: In the original Peter Pan, Nana is a Newfoundland, but here, she is a Saint Bernard.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Captain Hook. As Internet reviewer Unshaved Mouse notes:
    Even his own men don’t seem to fear him and he’s murdering them on a regular basis! [The book] mentions that Hook is feared by “the Sea-Cook”. As in, Long John Freakin’ Silver was afraid of this guy. The Disney version wouldn’t scare Captain Crunch.
  • Affably Evil: Smee.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: The crocodile occasionally wags his tail and begs.
  • Bad Boss: Hook shoots one of his own men for singing off-key.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Mr. Smee. Usually, his belly just shows a little from his short shirt. At other times, he is hoisted up by his shirt, exposing his belly a lot more. In fact, when he first appears, he was being belly-jabbed with a sword by a pirate and had to suck his belly in to avoid the sharp sting.
  • Barred from the Afterlife: Captain Hook is preparing to drown the Indian Princess Tiger Lily to force her to tell him where Peter Pan's hideout is. He threatens her with this trope as he does so.
    Captain Hook: Remember, there is no path through water to the Happy Hunting Ground.
  • Berserk Button: Peter Pan does not like being called a coward. Captain Hook uses this to advantage in the climax so that he won't fly away "like a cowardly sparrow" when he fights him.
    Peter: Nobody calls Pan a coward and lives!
    • Captain Hook gets rather temperamental at Mr. Smee for saying shooting a man in the middle of his cadenza is bad form, since Peter Pan chopping off his hand and throwing it to the croc isn't exactly good form either.
    "Good form, Mr. Smee? BLAST GOOD FORM! Did Pan show good form when he did this to me?!"
  • Better Living Through Evil: The pirate song.
  • Big Bad: Captain Hook.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Most of the pirates have these.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The mermaids, oh so much.
    • And for that matter, Tinker Bell too.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The mermaids in the lagoon scene come in a pair for each color: Two blondes, two redheads, and two ravenhaired mermaids.
  • Bound and Gagged: John, Michael and the Lost Boys, when captured.
  • Bowdlerise: The Indians' skin color was changed to be less....well, red in the DVD release. The Blu-Ray edition restored their original color.
  • Braids, Beads and Buckskins: The tipis and the chief's war bonnet suggest that the tribe of Native Americans came from the Great Plains area and are referred to as being Blackfoot, but for some reason they also have totem poles (which belonged to people from the Pacific Northwest) and Princess Tiger Lily wears feathered headband (worn by Northeastern people).
    • Justified in that Neverland is a child's version of reality (a British child's version of reality, at that), so such things are almost to be expected. Alternately, the Native residents of NeverLand might, like its pirates and Lost Boys, have originally come from Earth, with Natives from different parts of North America coming together to found a new multi-ethnic settlement.
  • Break the Haughty: Peter's overconfident ego takes a hit when it nearly costs his dearest friend her life. After this, he seems to have some understanding that things can't always go his way, and thus willingly returns the Darlings home.
  • Breakout Character:
    • Tinker Bell.
    • To a lesser extent, the Crocodile. He (or at least Expies of him) makes guest appearances and cameos in a lot of subsequent Disney productions.
  • Break-Up/Make-Up Scenario: Peter is angry at the other kids for wanting to leave Neverland. But it won't stop him from wanting to save them.
  • British Stuffiness: John Darling, Wendy to a lesser extent.
    • "I'm frightfully sorry, old chaps. This is all my fault", John upon leading an expedition party that gets captured by Never Land's local Indian tribe.
  • But Not Too Red: All of the Indians have skin the color of a tomato except for Tiger Lily, who looks more like a white person dipped in tea (and thus, ironically, more like an actual Native American).
  • Captain Obvious: When Wendy walks the plank, Pan rescues Wendy before she hits the water, so the pirates just see her fall out of their sight and then hear nothing. A crewman then informs everyone that they just heard no splash, which seems to annoy Captain Hook; he makes one himself by throwing said crewman overboard.
    Hook: So, you want a splash, Mr. Starkey? I'LL GIVE YA A SPLASH!!!
  • Centipede's Dilemma: Peter briefly doesn't know how to answer Wendy when she asks how he flies.
  • The Chew Toy: Mr. Darling.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Averted; in fact, we never see Tinker Bell recover from the bomb. She gets better with no explanation. On the other hand, this is played straight in the sequel when Jane's newfound belief revives Tinker Bell.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Tinker Bell towards Peter.
    • Peter just inspires this in female characters. All the mermaids act this way about him, and Wendy gets a helping of this during the Indian tribal song. In the sequel it's shown that Peter's aware of this, but he doesn't seem to know why. (See next trope.)
  • Clueless Chick Magnet: Peter Pan. He lampshades it himself it the sequel:
    "Aw, [Tinker Bell]'s just jealous. All girls get like that around me."
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Watching Hook fight for his life against the crocodile by all means shouldn't be funny. But somehow, it is. VERY funny.
  • Conspicuously Light Patch: The rock that turns out to be a hippo during "Following the Leader".
  • The Dandy: Captain Hook.
  • Dangerously Close Shave: Played for Laughs when Smee mistakenly believes he's accidentally cut off Captain Hook's head while shaving him.
  • Dirty Coward: Hook.
  • Disney Villain Death: Averted for Captain Hook but played straight for the crew member he shoots. Though Hook does end up falling into the crocodile's mouth, he bursts out of his mouth a moment later, scared out of his mind.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: To Hook. Peter continually makes his life miserable despite the man seemingly having done nothing to originally spark the boy's malice. Granted, Hook is evil, but c'mon, anyone would want revenge when someone lops off one of their body parts.
  • Drowning Pit: Hook ties up Tiger Lily on a cave inside Skull Rock and threatens to leave her to the tides lest she tells him where Pan's hideout is.
  • The Edwardian Era
  • Efficient Displacement: Happens when Michael jumps through a waterfall.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: The pirates (except for Hook) are briefly moved to tears by Wendy's song about mothers, and Hook is apparently enraptured.
  • Evil Plan: Though it doesn't drive the entire plot, all the conflict generated by Hook is centered around killing Peter Pan.
  • Exact Words: Captain Hook swears to Tinker Bell "not to lay a finger, or a hook, on Peter Pan." Hook still wants to kill him, of course, so upon learning of his hiding place, he uses a bomb instead. Tink is not happy when Hook reveals his intentions to Wendy and the Lost Boys within her earshot.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: For Hook, sadly this is true.
  • Fairy in a Bottle: Tinker Bell is captured in a lantern after spilling the location of Peter Pan's hiding place to Hook, and upon learning of Hook's intentions of killing Peter Pan with a bomb (see Exact Words above) she escapes the lantern and flies to Hangman's Tree just in time to keep the bomb from claiming him.
  • False Reassurance: When Captain Hook promises, say, "not to lay a finger — or a hook — on Peter Pan," or "not to harm a hair on Peter Pan's head," rest assured, he won't do that.
    Hook: Captain Hook never breaks a promise...
  • Fate Worse Than Death: When threatening to let Tiger Lily drown, Hook claims "There is no path through water to the Happy Hunting Ground." Whether he has any idea what he's talking about, or whether Tiger Lily buys it, is another matter.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Captain Hook.
  • Flipping the Table: "BLAST GOOD FORM!"
  • Fluffy Fashion Feathers: Hook's large hat plume.
  • Forgot About His Powers: The climax involves several characters being threatened with Walk The Plank despite the fact that they can fly. And Wendy flies several times throughout the movie so it's not like it was a one time thing either.
    • Possibly Justified in that the pixie dust wears off over time. After her ordeal with the mermaids, Wendy had to flap her arms to fly on two occassions just to catch up to Peter.
  • Free-Range Children: It is Neverland, after all...
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Notably averted: Smee is seen drinking brandy, and is very drunk. Also, both Hook and Pan smoke at a few different points and John smokes a peace pipe.
  • Godiva Hair: One of the mermaids, in lieu of a Seashell Bra. Another wears a rather large necklace made of... something that looks like it came from the ocean... that has a similar effect.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Captain Hook finds this out as he duels with Peter Pan at Skull Rock and forces the both of them off the edge of the cliff, conveniently forgetting that Peter can fly while Hook can't and then has to scramble back to safety before he falls, only to fall just far enough for him to cling to the crevice by his hook.
  • Green Around the Gills: During the "What Makes The Red Man Red" number, John's face turns green when he inhales the smoke from a calumet.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: The Mermaids of the Mermaid Lagoon do not take kindly to Wendy's presence and attempt to drown her. Tinker Bell, who is also jealous of Wendy, is tricked into revealing Peter's hiding place by Captain Hook, who uses said jealousy against her.
  • Hair Decorations: Wendy, who even sleeps with her hair bow in place. Which is particularly hard to miss since she spends the whole movie in her nightgown.
  • Hand Gagging: Happens once to Michael (when an Indian grabs him) and twice to Wendy (by Peter and then a pirate).
  • Hartman Hips: Tinker Bell, to her dismay. Those hips were responsible for getting her stuck in a keyhole.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: An inverted example Tinker Bell's jealousy against Wendy leads her to betray the location of the hideout to Hook. When Hook traps her under a jar and weasels out of his promise "not to lay a finger or a hook on Peter Pan", she escapes and turns back by saving Peter.
  • Hollywood Natives: The Indians, who smoke pipes, wear feathered headdresses, speak in Tonto Talk, and live in teepees. They even come complete with a truly cringeworthy song, "What Makes the Red Man Red".
  • Honor Before Reason: Having given his word of honor to not fly in his final duel with Captain Hook, Peter doggedly refuses to do so even when Hook proves to be the superior swordsman, having forced him to the corner of a mast leading to a fall that can kill him.
  • Hook Hand: Captain Hook is the picture for this trope page.
  • Human Hammer-Throw: During the fight with the Lost Boys, one of the Indians grabs the Boy wearing a fox costume by the tail, swings him around and throws him back into the main brawl.
  • I Gave My Word: See Honor Before Reason.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: Captain Hook orders Smee to shoot Peter Pan but his constant flying about makes him a difficult target. With his eyes closed, Smee aims for Peter as he's flying in front of Hook and fires. He misses but for a moment, it appears that Hook has fallen to his death. He turns out to be fine.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: After Peter spares Hook's life (see Please, I Will Do Anything!), Hook then tries to attack Peter, who is crowing in victory, using his hook since Peter threw his sword aside — conveniently forgetting that Peter can fly and can easily dodge out of Hook's way, which he does, and it's down into the waiting jaws of the crocodile Hook goes.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Hook's a legitimate threat to everyone...everyone except his two greatest enemies, Peter Pan and the crocodile.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Peter Pan, Wendy, and Captain Hook were all modeled after their voice actors.
  • Interacting with Shadow: When Peter first meets Wendy his shadow has been ripped off his body, and Wendy sews it back on (it attaches at the feet).
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: George Darling. Also Peter and Tink when push comes to shove.
  • Join or Die: Captain Hook gives Wendy and the boys the option of joining his crew or Walking the Plank.
  • Kick the Dog: See Killed Mid-Sentence below.
  • Kid Hero All Grown-Up: In the sequels, Wendy and her siblings have grown up and lived normal lives, while Peter an the Lost Boys have remained the same age.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Make that killed mid-song. During a conversation with Smee, Captain Hook is interrupted by an accordion-wielding pirate in the rigging, singing about the pirate's life. Without so much as glancing back, Hook draws a pistol, aims it over his shoulder and fires. Cue a drawn-out, falling note and a splash. To make things all the more ironic, the unfortunate crewman's last words (well, lyrics) were: "The life of a pirate is short!"
    Smee: Oh, dear, dear, dear, Captain Hook. Shooting a man in the middle of his cadenza? That ain't good form, you know.
  • Large Ham: Hans Conried, the voice of Captain Hook, was clearly having a blast while recording his lines.
  • Leitmotif: "Never Smile at a Crocodile" becomes one for the crocodile. Peter Pan has one as well, instantly recognizable just from its first three notes. The movie gets a lot of mileage out of those three notes.
  • Lighter and Softer: Than the original novel/play, but Darker and Edgier than the sequel.
  • Little "No"/Big "NO!": Hook says these in succession when, at Skull Rock, he hears the Crocodile coming toward him, after Peter Pan teasingly asks, "Do you hear something?"
  • Loophole Abuse: "I have given me word not to lay a finger or a hook on Peter Pan." Hook didn't say anything about bombs though...
  • Lost in Imitation:
    • Disney was the first to have the Lost Boys unable to fly (though in Return to Neverland they are briefly seen flying to show Jane how pixie dust works), a trend that was replicated by future adaptations.
    • In the book, Slightly, not Curly/Cubby, was the pudgy Lost Boy. Disney chose to make Curly/Cubby the fat one, and every adaptation since then has done the same.
    • This was also the first movie version of Peter Pan to break the stage tradition of having Peter Pan be played by a woman. This is somewhat ironic since casting adult women as the voices of young boys is a common practice in the animation industry to this day. Nevertheless, Disney cast Bobby Driscoll, its juvenile star of the day, as Peter's voice. However, Disney kept the stage tradition of having the same actor play Mr. Darling and Captain Hook.
  • Meaningful Echo: Mr Darling, while heading out to the party at the beginning of the movie comments that the kids need to grow up and be practical. After Peter says that the Darlings are staying in Neverland, Wendy says the exact same thing to him.
  • Mickey Mousing: Quite a bit of it, but that goes without saying, given that this is a Disney movie.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Smee. Though he DID try to convince Hook to return to the "good ol' days" of plundering and slitting throats outside of Neverland. It's more-so that he personally has no grudge against Peter, and while genuinely evil, is too stupid to accomplish any effective villainy.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: See Killed Mid-Sentence.
  • Mythology Gag: A couple involving Captain Hook, calling to attention traits of J. M. Barrie's Hook that the Disney version avoids or subverts:
    • In the beginning, when John and Michael are playing Peter Pan and Captain Hook in the nursery, John is wearing the "hook" on his right hand, like Hook in the original novel/play. However, Wendy steps in and corrects him that Hook misses his left hand, a change the Disney animators consciously made because it made Hook easier to animate if he could still use his right hand properly.
    • During Hook and Smee's first scene, after Hook has shot a pirate "in the middle of his cadenza" and Smee hints that this can hardly be said to be good form, Hook explodes with "Good form, Mister Smee? BLAST GOOD FORM! Did Peter Pan show GOOD FORM when he did THIS TO ME?!" This is in direct contrast to the original Hook, to whom "good form" was extremely important. (Though it has to be said, he too killed his own pirates without thought for petty reasons, such as ruffling his lace collar.)
    • Near the end, the Darlings return home to find Wendy's bed empty, only to find her asleep by the window. A nod to the original play where they return home to find their children missing, since they left with Peter. The film makes it seem as if it was All Just a Dream.
    • The ending has Mr. Darling recognizing the pirate ship as 'something he'd seen before'. This is a very subtle reference to the fact that in many stage productions, the same actor who Plays Hook usually plays Mr. Darling.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted. There are quite a few references to death, several killing attempts — as well as one off-screen killing in Hook's first scene (detailed above).
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Tick-Tock the Crocodile. He even had a song about him that was cut from the film, though the instrumentals remain in part, which is the Trope Namer.
    • Behavior wise, the Disney Croc differs from his book counterpart in that the Croc in the original story was singlemindedly vicious toward Hook. The Disney Croc isn't exactly fussed about getting at Hook, and is happy to simply mess with his head, though the ending shows he will happily take a bite (or more!) out of Hook if the opportunity presents itself.
  • Nobody Calls Pan A Coward And Lives!
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Michael spots an Indian trying to capture him and the other boys, but he can't tell the others, because he's inhibited by Huddle Power.
  • Oh My Gods!: John exclaims "By Jove!" during his second attempt to fly.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: George Darling tells Nana that children have to grow up; the scene immediately transitions to Wendy telling Mary Darling that she doesn't want to grow up.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Bill Thompson, voicing Smee, occasionally tries to pronounce the odd word with an Irish accent. It's not exactly convincing, so it's hardly surprising that Jeff Bennett, who voices Smee in modern Disney productions (including Return to Neverland), completely drops this and makes Smee an all-out American.
  • Opening Chorus
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: They seem like the fluffy, girly kind we've come to accept as normal, but then they go and try to kill anyone they don't like. Specifically anyone who steals their crush's attention. This is vastly different than the quirky, innocent version of mermaids from later Disney canon.
  • Overly Long Name: How Wendy introduces herself to Peter:
    Wendy: My name's Wendy. Wendy Moira Angela Darling.
    Peter: Wendy's enough.
  • Panty Shot: Tinker Bell, many times.
  • Please, I Will Do Anything!: Just when it looks like Hook has the drop on Peter Pan (see Prepare to Die below), Peter grabs the ship's skull-and-crossbones flag and wraps up Hook in it. In the process, Hook loses his sword, Peter takes it and threatens Hook with it, which leads to Hook nervously saying basically this phrase:
    Hook: You wouldn't do in old Hook in now, would you, lad? I'll go away forever. I'll do anything you say.
    Peter: Well... all right. If you... say you're a codfish.
    Hook: (swallows nervously) I'm a codfish.
    Peter: Louder!
    Hook: (wailing) I'M A CODFISH!!
    Peter: All right, Hook, you're free to go and never return.
  • Polite Villains, Rude Heroes: Captain Hook and Peter Pan, respectively.
  • Prepare to Die: Said word for word by Hook when he finally has Peter cornered and weaponless, in stark contrast to Disney's later reluctance to refer to death in any way.
  • Reality Ensues: As it turns out, happy thoughts will not enable you to fly. Peter Pan is quick to realize this after the Darling children first attempt it. The real solution is fairy dust, a fantasy element introduced by J.M. Barrie in order to address concerns that the "happy thoughts will enable you to fly" thing could be taken seriously by impressionable children.
  • Say My Name: "SMEEEEEEE!!!"
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Subverted with Smee, who attempts to sneak off in a lifeboat with a chest (presumably containing the pirates' treasure) rather than help Hook or the others fight Peter. His plan to bug out alone is disrupted when a bunch of other pirates fall overboard and land in his boat.
  • Seashell Bra: Some of the mermaids wear seashells or — in one case — starfish as pasties.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: John does this quite a bit.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Wendy, a very mature girl with the ability to influence someone like Peter Pan himself. During the Walk the Plank scene, she was the definition of composed.
  • Somewhere Song: "The Second Star to the Right".
  • Spin-Off: Tinker Bell, besides being practically the second mascot of Disney after Mickey Mouse (appearing in many commercials and in the studio's Vanity Plate), has become a Breakout Character and now stars in a series of her own.
  • The Stoic: Tiger Lily.
  • Suddenly Shouting: Twice directed at Smee and twice the same word is used.
    • First:
      Peter: (mimicking Hook) For the last time, Mr. Smee, take the princess back to her people! UNDERSTAND?!?!?
    • And second:
      Hook: You will go ashore, pick up Tinker Bell, and bring her to me. UNDERSTAND?!
      • And twice Mr. Smee responds, "Aye-aye, sir!"
    • During Hook's intro scene when Smee scolds him for offing the pirate who was singing, telling him that it isn't good form:
      Hook: (calmly, at first) Good form, Mr. Smee? (gets angry and upends the table) BLAST GOOD FORM!!! DID PAN SHOW "GOOD FORM" WHEN HE DID THIS TO ME?!?
  • Team Mom: Wendy was taken to Neverland just for the sake of being this to Peter and the Lost Boys.
  • This Cannot Be!: Hook has this very revelation when they learn the answer of where's the splash that Wendy was supposed to have made after walking the plank: Peter Pan, having escaped being blown up by the Time Bomb that Hook tried to use to kill him, had saved her and then confronts Hook.
    Hook: It can't be!
    Smee: It's his blinkin' ghost what's talkin'!
    Peter: (drawing his dagger) Say your prayers, Hook!
    Hook: (drawing his sword) I assure you this ghost has blood in his veins!
  • Time Bomb: What Hook tries to use to kill Peter instead of poison like the original.
    • Interestingly, in a Disney On Ice adaptation of the film, they went with poison like in the original.
  • Tonto Talk: The Indians all talk this way, even getting a whole musical number devoted to explaining why words like "How" and "Ugh" are defining marks of their culture. Hoo boy.
  • Tranquil Fury: Peter in the final battle. Oh, he's still happy and playful during the whole ordeal, but he just got back to the ship after Tinker Bell almost died in an explosion, and he had also arrived just in time to save Wendy from falling into the water after walking the plank. This following line says it all about how pissed off Pan is.
    Peter Pan: You're next, Hook! This time you've gone too far!!
  • Tribal Carry: When the Lost Boys are captured by the Indians.
  • Tribal Face Paint: The Indian chief and a couple of his warriors wear it, as does Michael while he's their guest.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Check out the Darling parents — their father is a chubby, boorish old guy, and their mom looks pretty, young, and has a nice figure.
  • Vile Villain, Laughable Lackey: Captain Hook is one of Disney's more serious villains, and he has this dynamic with Smee, who was dumb enough to shave a seagull's tailfeathers while trying to shave Hook, and then think that he'd accidentally decapitated Hook after the gull flew away.
  • Villain Song: "A Pirate's Life" and "The Elegant Captain Hook".
  • Voice Changeling: Peter makes his voice sound like Hook's to trick Smee into returning Tiger Lily back to her tribe.
  • The Voiceless:
    • Tinker Bell. While she does talk in the book, it makes a bit of sense for the movie — See Fridge Brilliance in the Fridge tab.
    • Tiger Lily was reticent most of the time. However, she did speak at least once, when she let out a brief but muffling cry for help to Peter.
    • Tootles is the Lost Boy who speaks the least.
  • Wham Line: A minor example at the end of the film:
    George Darling: You know, I have the strangest feeling that I've seen that ship before. A long time ago... when I was very young.
  • Where's the Kaboom?: During the scene where Wendy walks the plank. Out of sight of the pirates, Pan rescues Wendy before she hits the water, and a Captain Obvious crewman remarks that there was no splash. Captain Hook seems annoyed at the insistence that there must be a splash when someone walks the plank, so he throws said crewman overboard to create one.
  • Why Did It Have To Be Crocodiles?!: Very, very justified in Hook's case — when you get your hand chopped off and thrown to a crocodile, which then develops quite the taste for you, you have ample reason to be antsy when that "tick-tock" starts up...
  • Wicked Cultured: Captain Hook, who has grand manners and a Sunday set case of hooks and also plays the piano.