The 1949 movie
The first movie adaptation of Pippi Longstocking was filmed in 1949. The film was based on three of the books, but several storylines were changed and characters were removed and added. Pippi's character was played by Viveca Serlachius, who as Pippi made 10 other movies between 1944 and 1954. It was directed by Per Gunvall and released on October 20, 1950.
The 1961 Shirley Temple's Storybook episode
In 1961, the American children's anthology TV series Shirley Temple's Storybook (hosted by Shirley Temple) included an adaptation of Pippi Longstocking, Episode 2-15, aired on January 8. This was the first American adaptation of Astrid Lindgren's character, not to mention the first adaptation done in color, and the first to feature a child actress playing Pippi—in this case, former Mousketeer Gina Gillespie. Gillespie also plays a girl named Susan Scholfield, who appears at the beginning and end of the story with her younger sister Betsy (played by Gina's sister Jennifer), both dreaming up the whole story after being sent to bed early. Although the story is mostly faithful to the original books, a few liberties are taken; Pippi is shown to be extremely intelligent (flawlessly answering a strict but well-meaning teacher's questions), which she attributes to her firsthand experiences in her world travels, and Pippi can fly (rather, she lands softly onto the ground from the rooftop of her house, à la Peter Pan). Among the characters, Pippi's originally nameless pet horse is named Horatio, and Thunder-Karlsson and Bloom are renamed "Scar Face" Seymour and "Mad Dog" Jerome. Also of note is Swedish wrestler/actor Tor Johnson, in one of his final roles, playing a circus strongman, the Mighty Adolf, whom Pippi challenges to a match of strength at the circus.
The 1969 television series
A Swedish Pippi Longstocking television series was created based on the books in 1968. The first episode was broadcast on Sveriges Radio TV in February 1969. The production was a Swedish-West German co-production and several German actors had roles in the series.
As Astrid Lindgren was unhappy with the 1949 adaptation, she wrote the script herself for this version. The series was directed by Olle Hellbom who also directed several other Astrid Lindgren adaptations. Inger Nilsson gave a confident, oddball performance that was uncommonly consistent and eccentric for a child actress.
This version is the most well-known version in Sweden and has been repeated numerous times by SR/SVT. In other European countries this is the most favoured version of Pippi Longstocking.
The Swedish series was re-edited as two dubbed feature films for United States distribution:
- Pippi Longstocking (Pippi Långstrump, 1969) (USA release 1973)
- Pippi Goes on Board (Här kommer Pippi Långstrump, 1969) (USA release 1975)
Another two feature film spin-offs were also shown in the United States:
- Pippi in the South Seas (Pippi Långstrump på de sju haven, 1970) (USA release 1975)
- Pippi on the Run (På rymmen med Pippi Långstrump, 1970) (USA release 1977)
They became weekend television staples in several cities in the United States throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The first 6 episodes of the original TV series, newly dubbed using British actors, became available on DVD in 2002.
The Soviet television film
A Mosfilm television film version, Peppi Dlinnyychulok, was released in 1984. It was produced by Margaret Mikalan, and starred Mikhail Boyarsky, Lev Durov and Tatiana Vasilieva. Pippi was played by Svetlana Stupak, and her singing voice was provided by Svetlana Stepchenko.
The ABC Weekend Special TV special
In 1985, Carrie Kei Heim played the title role in the 2-part ABC Weekend Special, entitled Pippi Longstocking. Directed by veteran special effects wizard Colin Chilvers, Part 1 of the special aired on November 2, and Part 2 aired on November 9.
The American feature film
An American feature film version from Columbia Pictures was released in 1988, directed by British veteran director Ken Annakin, starring Tami Erin as Pippi with Eileen Brennan, Dennis Dugan, John Schuck and Dick Van Patten in supporting roles. While the title suggests a continuation, the film is in fact just a retelling of the original story. The original songs and the score were composed by Misha Segal.
Animated feature films and TV series
Nelvana's Pippi Longstocking franchise
An animated film adaptation by Nelvana, Pippi Longstocking, was released in 1997 and was adapted into an animated television series, Pippi Longstocking by Nelvana, which aired for one season (1997) on Canada's Teletoon channel and later (1998) on HBO in the United States. Reruns are shown on the Qubo digital subchannel. While the movie used traditional animation, the series used the digital inking process.
Hayao Miyazaki's cancelled anime film
In 1971, Japanese animators Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata had expressed great interest in doing an anime feature adaptation of Pippi Longstocking. The proposed project was titled Pippi Longstocking, The Strongest Girl in the World (長靴下のピッピ 世界一強い女の子, Nagakutsushita no Pippi, Sekai Ichi Tsuyoi Onna no Ko). They traveled to Sweden, and not only did research for the film (they went location scouting in Visby, one of the major locations where the 1969 TV series was filmed), but also personally visited creator Astrid Lindgren, and discussed the project with her. After their meeting with Lindgren, however, their permission to complete the film was denied, and the project was canceled. Among what remains of the project are watercolored storyboards by Miyazaki himself.