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Western Animation / The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1979)

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The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a 1979 Made-for-TV Animated Adaptation of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe made by Sesame Workshop (known as Children's Television Workshop at the time) and distributed by CBS.

The film tells the story of the Pevensies, four siblings (Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy) who pass through a magical wardrobe into the land of Narnia. The land has been cursed with eternal winter by Jadis, the White Witch, who calls herself the "queen" of Narnia, and has almost completely taken over. In accordance with the prophecy, the children, helped by Aslan, defeat her and are jointly crowned as the four Kings and Queens of Narnia. After fourteen years, the children accidentally return through the wardrobe, reverting to childhood.

The movie is available on DVD and has separate dubs made for American and British audiences.

This film provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Heroism: This version depicts minotaurs as being allies of Aslan; we see some as part of the Narnian army. This contrasts to the original book and Disney film where they were clearly aligned with the White Witch.
  • Adapted Out: The film doesn't mention the Pevensies being Blitz Evacuees. In fact, the way Peter and Edmund are dressed in seventies style flares may mean the time period of the original book was dropped entirely. Additionally, Father Christmas doesn't appear in this version, with his role of handing out magical gifts being given to Aslan, although he is mentioned and his sleigh bells are heard. Nor does the Professor's stern housekeeper Mrs. Macready appear – instead of hiding from her in the wardrobe and accidentally arriving in Narnia, all four Pevensies just venture in because Peter and Susan are finally willing to believe Lucy's story.
  • Animated Adaptation: Of the classic children's book by C.S. Lewis.
  • An Ice Person: The White Witch has ice powers. She froze all of Narnia you know.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: For all four Pevensies at the end. Aslan himself is there.
  • Big Brother Bully: Edmund is this to Lucy.
  • Big Good: Aslan is The Paragon of goodness in this world. The kids are the main characters, but he is the one who saves the day. This is lampshaded by the Beavers.
  • Break the Haughty: Edmund starts off arrogant and becomes more so under the witch's influence. Then she decides he's more useful as a prisoner...
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: During one of the battles some kind of creature with a bird head wanders through the extreme foreground in no particular hurry, glances at the "camera", and then wanders off again.
  • Creepy Souvenir: The whole garden of people/animals the White Witch has turned into stone.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Aslan, i.e. "Lion Jesus". He's the son of "The Emperor Across the Sea" and enacts Christ's Passion to save a sinner.
  • Disney Death: Edmund gets injured in the Battle of Beruna. He's definitely near death until Lucy's healing cordial revives him.
  • Dreaming of a White Christmas: Averted in that in Narnia, it is always winter and never Christmas and when Christmas finally does come, it heralds a thaw.
  • Dub Name Change: Maugrim, the wolf servant of the White Witch, had his name changed to Fenris Ulf. This actually was the character's name in some editions of the book at the time the special was made: the version of the Chronicles available then had slightly different names and in some cases altered chapters from the version Harper Collins currently publishes. Lewis was not above occasionally revising his works.
  • Endless Winter: The White Witch casts a spell on Narnia so that it is always winter but never Christmas.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: The White Witch, and her effects on the Narnian environment, are all cold, and evil.
  • Evil Is Hammy: The White Witch to a hilarious degree.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Aslan did it knowing exactly what would happen if he were to die. In more than one way.
  • Faeries Don't Believe in Humans, Either: Tumnus the faun reacts this way to Lucy the first time he meets her, and owns a book called Is Man a Myth?
  • Follow the White Rabbit: Inverted when the siblings are hunting for a stag, and it leads them back to the gate to the normal world.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Edmund up until his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: Two boys (Peter and Edmund) and two girls (Susan and Lucy).
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Lucy is blonde in this version. Edmund counts too after his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
  • Ice Palace: The Witch's castle was created by her own power.
  • Interdimensional Travel Device: The wardrobe allows travel between Earth and Narnia — sometimes.
  • It Only Works Once: The White Witch's justification to Edmund for why she cannot give him more Turkish Delight in the sleigh. The wardrobe is a straighter example. Although it transports the children to Narnia three times in the story, Professor Kirke says it won't work again afterwards.
  • It Was a Gift: Father Christmas's...or rather, Aslan's gifts to the Pevensies. A sword and shield for Peter, a summoning horn and a bow and arrows for Susan, and a dagger and a magic healing cordial for Lucy.
  • Jerkass: Edmund is rude, arrogant and sells out for candy.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Edmund mellows out into this at the end.
  • Kid Hero All Grown-Up: The children grow up to be royalty in Narnia, but return to our world and get de-aged.
  • Light Is Not Good: Jadis, the White Witch is evil.
  • Limited Animation: It was the seventies and they didn't have much of a budget so this was inevitable.
  • The Marvelous Deer: The wish-granting white stag.
  • Meaningful Name: "Aslan" is Turkish for "lion".
  • Misplaced Accent: In the American dub, Peter, Susan, and Lucy all have American accents, implying Adaptational Nationality, but Simon Adams as Edmund inexplicably has a British accent like the original book character.
  • The Mole:
    • Edmund, for the first half, although it is revealed to the viewer at the start of the plot thread.
    • Jadis also fooled Edmund into thinking she was on his side long enough for him to lure his siblings to Narnia.
    • Mr. Tumnus was this to Lucy, then oddly became a mole to the Witch after his Heel Realization
  • Mr. Exposition: The beavers fulfill this role, and it avoids As You Know territory since the kids are new to that universe and really don't know any of the expository material.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Edmund's reaction when the White Witch turns a dinner party to stone for refusing to deny it was provided by Father Christmas over his protests. At that point, Edmund realizes the evil he has sided with and wishes with all his heart that he could undo what he has done. Fortunately, Aslan later helps him do just that.
    • Mr. Tumnus reaches it immediately when he tries to kidnap Lucy for the Witch. Since he's a nice guy who was only doing it on pain of being turned to stone, she's able to talk him out of it.
  • My Rule Fu Is Stronger than Yours: Aslan and Jadis argue about the Deep Magic and she seems to win. In the end it turns out there are things he knows about it that she doesn't.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The Witch's preference for turning people to stone and keeping them as trophies in her castle, as opposed to just killing them, means that Aslan can resurrect them all and lead them as reinforcements in the battle.
  • No Indoor Voice: The White Witch, especially in this version:
    "If EITHER of you mentions the name 'ASLAN' again, he WILL BE INSTANTLY KILLED!!!"
  • The Noun and the Noun ...And the noun.
  • Portal Slam: The wardrobe's door.
  • Power Makes Your Voice Deep: This version of Aslan has a very deep voice.
  • Pretty in Mink: Fur coats are necessary in the deep and eternal cold.
  • Prophecies Rhyme All the Time: Almost.
    When Adam's flesh and Adam's bone
    Sits at Cair Paravel in throne,
    The evil time will be over and done.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Subverted. It looks as if Edmund will suffer this after redeeming himself by destroying the Witch's wand, but he is saved by Lucy's cordial.
  • Savage Wolves: Maugrim and his pack work for the witch as a secret police and enforcers.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Edmund and Lucy, with more on Edmund's part, due to the fact that he enjoys tormenting her. Fortunately, they got better.
  • Sleeping Single: Implied with the Beavers. If you look closely at their home's interior, there's a set of bunk beds.
  • Spring Is Late: By about a hundred years.
  • Supernatural Aid: Father Christmas' gifts to the Pevensies such as a Healing Potion.
  • Taken for Granite: How the White Witch deals with people she doesn't like.
  • Tender Tears: Susan and Lucy shed these during Aslan's Passion.
  • "They Still Belong to Us" Lecture: The Witch tries to reclaim Edmund after his Heel–Face Turn by telling the other heroes that he is a traitor and his blood is her property. The problem is, according to the laws of magic in Narnia, she's right. This is why Aslan has to sacrifice himself in Edmund's place.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Aslan tells the others to stay back and let Peter fight Fenris alone. It directly echoes the story of Edward III saying of his son, the Black Prince, at the Battle of Crécy, "Let the boy win his spurs." (The spurs were a symbol of knighthood.)
  • Transhuman Treachery: Mr. Beaver invokes this trope as he advises the Pevensie children that if something claims to be, used to be, or may become human, "keep an eye on it and feel for your hatchet."
  • The Vamp: The White Witch for Edmund but with candy instead of sex.
  • Victory-Guided Amnesia: After being crowned Kings and Queens of Narnia, the children slowly forget their old life on Earth — until one day, while out riding...
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • The animals having a dinner party before being turned to stone by the Witch (leading to Edmund's Heel–Face Turn) are never mentioned again.
    • The White Witch's dwarf servant disappears from the film after her negotiation with Aslan.
  • Winter Royal Lady: Although not fitting the title part of the trope, Jadis fits the other parts; calls herself queen, dresses in winter colors and styles etc.