Though Roald Dahl declined numerous offers during his lifetime to have a film version of James and the Giant Peach produced, his widow, Liccy Dahl, approved an offer to have a film adaptation produced in conjunction with Disney in the mid-1990s. It was directed by Henry Selick and produced by Denise Di Novi and Tim Burton, both of whom previously produced The Nightmare Before Christmas. The movie consists of live action and stop-motion to reduce production finances. It was narrated by Pete Postlethwaite (who also played the wizard). The film was released on 12 April 1996.
There are numerous changes in both the plot of the film and the plot of the book, though the film was generally well received. Liccy Dahl said that, "I think Roald would have been delighted with what they did with James." Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a positive review, praising the animated part, but calling the live-action segments "crude." The movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Musical or Comedy Score (by Randy Newman). It won Best Animated Feature Film at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival.