Anne of Green Gables (1985 film)

Anne of Green Gables (1985 film)

"For the franchise, see Anne of Green Gables film series."

Infobox Television Film
bgcolour =
name = Anne of Green Gables

caption = DVD cover
format = Drama
runtime = 199 minutes (approx.)
creator =
director = Kevin Sullivan
producer = Ian McDougall
Kevin Sullivan
writer = Lucy Maud Montgomery (original novels)
Kevin Sullivan (adaptation)
Joe Wiesenfeld (adaptation)
starring = Megan Follows
Colleen Dewhurst
Richard Farnsworth
Patricia Hamilton
Marilyn Lightstone
Schuyler Grant
Jonathan Crombie
music = Hagood Hardy
country = Canada
language = English
network = CBC
released = December 5, 1985 flagicon|Canada
February 17, 1986 flagicon|US
followed_by = "Anne of Avonlea"
website =
imdb_id = 0088727
tv_com_id =
amg_id = 2541

"Anne of Green Gables" is a 1985 television movie based on the novel "Anne of Green Gables" by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery. The film was produced and directed by Kevin Sullivan for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It was released theatrically in Israel, Europe and Japan.

The film aired on CBC Television as a two-part miniseries on December 1, 1985. Both parts of the film were among the highest-rated programs of any genre ever to air on a Canadian television network. On February 17, 1986, the film aired on PBS in the United States.

equels and spin-off

"Anne of Green Gables" is the first film in a trilogy of movies based on the titular character. In 1987 the film's sequel, "Anne of Avonlea", was released. (It was subsequently retitled "Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel" on home video.) In the US the final movie, "", was aired on July 23, 2000, and aired on March 5, 2000 in Canada. The final film passed over "Rilla of Ingleside" - the corresponding Anne novel - in favor of a plot not featured in Montgomery's series, and did not receive the same critical praise as the first two films.

The first two Anne films generated a spin-off television series which aired from 1989 to 1996 and starred Sarah Polley. The "Road to Avonlea" series featured characters and episodes from several of Montgomery's books. Anne herself did not appear in the episodes, but Gilbert Blythe, Marilla Cuthbert, and other characters from the Anne books were included.

Kevin Sullivan has recently completed the fourth in the series, titled . The film stars Barbara Hershey, Shirley MacLaine, Rachel Blanchard and it introduces Hannah Endicott-Douglas as the new Anne Shirley. The film is both a sequel and a prequel to Sullivan's trilogy.

Awards and nominations

The film swept the 1986 Gemini Awards, winning the following:
*Best Dramatic Miniseries
*Best Actress in a Single Dramatic Program or Miniseries: Megan Follows
*Best Supporting Actor: Richard Farnsworth
*Best Supporting Actress: Colleen Dewhurst
*Best Writing (TV Adaptation): Kevin Sullivan and Joe Wiesenfeld
*Best Music Composition: Hagood Hardy
*Best Costume Design: Martha Mann
*Best Photography: René Ohashi
*Best Production Design/Art Direction: Carol Spier
*Most Popular Program

The film was also nominated for "Best Direction in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series" and "Best Picture Editing in a Dramatic Program or Series.

The series also won an Emmy Award in 1986, for Outstanding Children's Program.

Other Awards
*Peabody Award - to Kevin Sullivan for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting in the United States, 1986
*Prix Jeunesse: Best Drama, 1988 (Germany)
*TV Guide Award: Most Popular Program, 1986
*Grand Award - International Film and Television, New York
*Emily Award - American Film and Video Festival, 1986
*Macleans Medal of Merit - Macleans Magazine, 1986
*Chris Award - Columbus International Film Festival, 1986
*Silver Hugo Award - Chicago International Film Festival, 1986
*International TV Movie Festival: Nomination for Movie of the Year, 1986
*American TV Critics Award: Best Drama, 1986
*Grant Award: Best TV Program, Houston International Film Festival, 1987
*Golden Gate Award - San Francisco Film Festival, 1986
*CRTA Award: Outstanding Personal Achievement in TV, 1986
*Ohio State Award - Performing Arts and Humanities Award, 1987
*First Prize - Odyssey Institute Media Award, 1987
*The Ruby Slipper: Best Television Special, 1987
*Parents Choice Award - Parents Choice for TV Programmings, 1987
*Excellence in Programming - Award from Association of Catholic Communications in Canada, 1987
*Golden Apple Award - Best of National Educational Film and Video Festival, 1987

DVD Releases

The "Anne of Green Gables" series was released on DVD in a collector's edtion set on February 5, 2008 in the U.S. and April 29, 2008 in Canada. The set is the most comprehensive edition of all three movies ever released. In addition to the series, it also includes several DVD extras such as feature length commentary from director Kevin Sullivan and Stefan Scaini, 2 New Documentaries: L.M. Montgomery's Island and Kevin Sullivan's Classic featuring new cast and crew interviews, missing scenes, lost footage and the missing Green Gables episode "Marilla Cuthbert's Death".


Sullivan was sued by the descendants of and heirs to the novel's author, Lucy Maud Montgomery. Their contractual agreement with Sullivan said that he would pay them a flat $425,000 (CAD) fee for the right to adapt the first book (and another $100,000 to do the second movie, "Anne of Avonlea"), plus 10% of the profits of Anne 1 and 5% of the profits of Anne 2. The contract also gave them the right to examine Sullivan Entertainment's financial records. However, when Sullivan claimed that neither of the movies had earned any money and (the heirs assert) refused to allow them to audit his books, they took him to court. Sullivan counter-sued for libel, insisting that the heirs should pay him $55 million because they had defamed his character. A Superior Court of Ontario judge dismissed his suit on January 19, 2004. [ [ Judge throws out case against Montgomery's heirs] , The Globe and Mail, January 20, 2004] [ [ Sullivan Entertainment Group Inc. v. MacDonald Butler, 2004 CanLII 8939 (ON S.C.)] ] [The case can be found [ here] .] The Montgomery heirs subsequently dropped their claim for Sullivan to pay them any royalties however. Kevin Sullivan's works were initially based upon the works of LM Montgomery, but many questions have been raised in court as to the author’s heirs’ rights in her copyright. In a Japanese court decision which addressed the heir’s challenge to the validity of Sullivan’s ownership of Japanese trade-mark’s in the movie property, the Japanese High Court commented on the heirs' entitlement to reversionary copyright which formed the basis of the rights that the family claimed to have sold to Sullivan. The Court stated that the heirs' reversionary copyright was non-existent and that there was no need for Sullivan or any other entity to account to the heirs for the use of the trademark in Japan. [ [ Japenese court verdict] ] [ [ C21 report on court case] ]

The Court stated: It is not clear from a legal point of view why permission from the heirs of the author or its related entity the Anne of Green Gables Licensing (AGGLA) authority was necessary. “it is not clear from a legal point of view why permission from the heirs of the author or its related entity was necessary”. [ [ Japenese court verdict] ]

The Japanese Court also extensively scrutinized whether the copyright in the book “Anne of Green Gables” had ever devolved to the heirs and called for extensive filing of evidence on this point. Sullivan filed an original 1919 agreement between Montgomery and L.C. Page & Co. which specifically excluded the heirs’ reversionary claims. Montgomery sold all of her publishing and copyright to the her series of novels, in perpetuity, to her original American publisher in 1919, to the exclusion of her heirs. [ [ Japenese court verdict] ] [ [ C21 report on court case] ]

The Court further questioned whether the heirs' licensing authority was engaged in activities of sufficient public interest as to qualify as a controlling body of LMM's works. The Court stated: " ....the possibility cannot be denied that the Anne of Green Gables Licensing Authority is the heirs' private profit-seeking enterprise as far as the activities with which the heirs of the subject case are involved are concerned. It is not proved from the evidence submitted in the subject case that the Anne of Green Gables Licensing Authority is involved in activities of public interest that are sufficient for the Anne of Green Gables Licensing Authority to be qualified as the owner of the registration of the subject mark as a controlling body of the subject literary work.


*Megan Follows - Anne Shirley
*Colleen Dewhurst - Marilla Cuthbert
*Richard Farnsworth - Mathew Cuthbert
*Patricia Hamilton - Rachel Lynde
*Marilyn Lightstone - Miss Stacy
*Schuyler Grant - Diana Barry
*Jonathan Crombie - Gilbert Blythe
*Charmion King - Aunt Josephine Barry
*Jackie Burroughs - Amelia Evans
*Rosemary Radcliffe - Mrs. Barry
*Joachim Hansen - John Sadler
*Christiane Kruger - Mrs. Allan
*Cedric Smith - Rev. Allan
*Paul Brown - Mr. Phillips
*Miranda de Pencier - Josie Pye
*Trish Nettleton - Jane Andrews
*Jennifer Inch - Ruby Gillis
*Jayne Eastwood - Mrs. Hammond
*Dawn Greenhalgh - Mrs. Cadbury
*Jack Mather - Station Master
*Samantha Langevin - Mrs. Blewett
*Vivian Reis - Mrs. Spencer
*Mag Ruffman - Alice Lawson
*Sean McCann - Dr. O'Reilly
*Roxolana Roslak - Madame Selitsky
*Robert Haley - Professor
*Robert Collins - Mr. Barry
*Morgan Chapman - Minne May Barry
*David Roberts - Tom
*Nancy Beatty - Essie
*David Hughes - Thomas Lynde
*Wendy Lyon - Prissy Andrews
*Zack Ward - Moody Spurgeon MacPherson
*Anna Ferguson - Punch Woman
*Rex Southgate - Section Head
*Julianna Saxton - Pink Woman
*Molly Thom - Lace Woman
*Jennifer Irwin - Student
*Sandra Scott - Mrs. Harrington
*Peter Sturgess - Porter
*Ray Ireland - Mr. Hammond
*Martha Maloney - Fairview Nurse
*Stuart Hamilton - Mme. Selitsky's Accompanist


Kevin Sullivan adapted the novel story into his own screenplay, collaborating with industry veteran Joe Wiesenfeld, and developed a co-production between the CBC and PBS in order to film "Anne of Green Gables". Sullivan amalgamated many of Montgomery’s episodes into the film's plot that diverged from Montgomery’s original, but relied on strong characterizations and visuals in order to render the story for a contemporary filmic audience.

Primary locations for filming the movie included Southern Ontario and Prince Edward Island, over a consecutive ten week shoot. Sullivan used several locations as Green Gables farm and combined them to appear as one property.

The original film and sequels (with Road to Avonlea and the Animated Anne films and series being 130 hours of production) have been seen, thanks to satellite, in every country in the world that broadcasts. The films have now been translated and seen in more places around the world than even the original novels.


External links

* [ The Official Anne of Green Gables Movie Website] - The official website of Sullivan series of Anne of Green Gables movies
* [ Sullivan Entertainment Website] - The Official website of Sullivan Entertainment. Includes a wealth of information on the Anne movies and it's spinoffs
* [ Road to Avonlea Website] - The official website for Road to Avonlea, the spinoff to the Green Gables series of movies
* [ The L.M. Montgomery Research Group] This scholarly site includes a blog, a bibliography of reference materials, and a complete filmography of all adaptations of Montgomery texts. See, in particular, the page for [ Anne of Green Gables] .
* [ An L.M. Montgomery Resource Page] - excellent resource on L.M. Montgomery and her legacy in film and television

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