Little Women


1h 55m 1994
Little Women

Brief Synopsis

With their father away at war, the March sisters make the best out of life in 19th-Century New England.

Film Details

Also Known As
Mujercitas, Unga kvinnor, quatre filles du Docteur March
MPAA Rating
Genre
Romance
Drama
Period
Adaptation
Release Date
1994
Production Company
Animal Logic; Columbia Pictures; Deluxe Vancouver; Di Novi Pictures; Location Caterers; Panavision, Ltd.; Sony Pictures Scoring Stage; Spectrum Films; Technicolor; William F. White International, Inc.
Distribution Company
Sony Pictures Releasing; 20th Century Fox International; Cts; Sony Pictures Home Entertainment; Sony Pictures Releasing
Location
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 55m

Synopsis

Louisa May Alcott's classic novel, derived from her own family life, tells the story of the March family, four daughters and their mother who are living in New England during the Civil War years. Their father is away in the Union Army as chaplain. We follow the adventures of spirited Jo, lovely Meg, gentle Beth, and romantic Amy. Four "little women" as they explore their talents, test their friendships, fall prey to selfish impulses and sometimes behave with great generosity as people do while achieving adulthood with all its attendant pleasures, frustrations, loves, losses, grief and joy.

Crew

Stuart Aikins

Casting (Canada)

Louisa May Alcott

Source Material (From Novel)

Janice Alexander

Craft Service

Michael Andreen

Executive (For Di Novi Pictures)

Colleen Atwood

Costume Designer

Kara Baker

Assistant

Kara Dillard Baker

Assistant (To Gillian Armstrong)

Eric Batut

Production Sound Mixer

Nicholas Beauman

Editor

Bill Bernstein

Music Editor

Donna Bis

1st Assistant Hairstylist

Jim Brebner

2nd Additional Assistant Director

James Douglas Brown

Hair Stylist

John L Brown

Dolly Grip

Kevin Butler

Production Assistant

Mandy Butler

Assistant Accountant

Arthur Cambridge

Other

Marilyn Carbone

Makeup (For Susan Sarandon & Gabriel Byrne)

Warren Carr

Unit Production Manager

Warren Carr

Associate Producer

Jimmy Chow

Property Master

Mel Christensen

Construction Foreman

Sharal Churchill

Music Consultant

Martin Connor

Digital Editing Assistant

Sandra Couldwell

Extras Casting (Canada)

Roger Cowland

Other

Gethin Creagh

Re-Recording Mixer

Mark A Dixon

Location Manager (2nd Unit) (Deerfield-)

Naomi Donne

Winona Ryder'S Makeup

Rosemary Dority

Post-Production Supervisor

Debbie Douglas

Supervisor

Paula Marie Duncan

Assistant Accountant

Jim Erickson

Set Decorator

Joseph E Foley

Production Manager (2nd Unit)

David Footman

Other

Trudi Forrest

Choreographer

Carrie Frazier

Casting (Usa)

Kathleen D Gilbert

Production Assistant

Shani Ginsberg

Casting (Usa)

Chris Glyn-jones

Boom Operator

Derek Grieve

Dolly Grip

Jennifer Grossman

Costume Supervisor (Vancouver)

David Grusovin

Sound Assistant

William Haines

Casting (Canada)

Richard St John Harrison

Set Designer

Tim Haughian

Assistant Location Manager

Craig Henderson

Construction Foreman

Phil Heywood

Re-Recording Mixer

Tim Hogan

Key Grip

John-paul Holecka

3rd Assistant Director

Richard Hudolin

Art Director

James Ilecic

Assistant Editor

James Illecic

1st Assistant Editor

Scott Irvine

Transportation Coordinator

Stephen Jackson

Gaffer

Ron James

Transportation Captain

Bruce Johnson

Music Consultant

Tim Jordan

Adr Editor

Don Knodel

Location Manager

Barry Kootchin

Head Scenic Artist

Burton Kuchera

Best Boy Electric

Tony Lazarowich

Special Effects Assistant

Joseph Lederer

Stills Photographer

Catherine Leighton

Assistant Property Master

Lars Lenander

Best Boy Special Effects

Peter Levy

Director Of Photography (2nd Unit)

Peter Levy

Dp/Cinematographer

Mark Lewis

Director (2nd Unit)

Wendy Lewis

Production Coordinator

Tenzin Lhalungpa

1st Assistant Camera

Sherry Linder-gygli

1st Assistant Hairstylist

Paul Lougheed

Production Assistant

Paula Lourie

Sound Assistant

Simon Martin

Sound Assistant

Dawn Martin-wiener

Head Animal Trainer

Nancy Mcardle

Costume Supervisor (Los Angeles)

Bridget Mcguire

Assistant Art Director

Jane Mckernan

Assistant Accountant

Neil Mcleod

Assistant Property Master

Margaret A Mitchell

Production Accountant

Shawn Murphy

Other

Stein Myhrstad

Digital Editing Assistant

Jan Newman

Makeup

Thomas Newman

Music

Gary O'grady

Dialogue Editor

Bill Orr

Special Effects

Martin Oswin

Re-Recording Mixer

Peter Owen

Wigs Designer & Maker

Rino Pace

Location Manager

Laila Palermo

Production Assistant

Connie Parker

1st Assistant Make-Up

Jamie Payton

Animal Wrangler

John Penders

Adr Editor

Randal Platt

Camera Operator

Karen Psaltis

Negative Cutter

Anne S Reilly

Unit Publicist

Lisa J Roberts

Makeup Assistant

Lisa Roberts

1st Assistant Make-Up

Lisa Robison

2nd Assistant Camera

Jan Roelfs

Production Designer

John D Scott

Head Animal Wrangler

Anne Simonet

Assistant (To Denise Di Novi)

Geoffrey Simpson

Dp/Cinematographer

Geoffrey Simpson

Director Of Photography

John Simpson

Foley Artist

Michael Siver

Other

Erin Smith

Assistant Production Coordinator

Lee Smith

Sound Designer

Robin Swicord

Screenwriter

Robin Swicord

Co-Producer

Julie Tjaden

Assistant (To Denise Di Novi)

Peter Townsend

Sound Effects Editor

Mark Turnbull

1st Assistant Director

Thomas Wells

Construction Coordinator

Noelleen Westcombe

1st Assistant Editor

Karin Whittington

Dialogue Editor

Peter Whyte

3rd Assistant Director

Christine Wilson

Script Supervisor

Kim Winther

2nd Assistant Director

Ken Woznow

2nd Grip

Matthew C Young

Researcher

Videos

Movie Clip

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Also Known As
Mujercitas, Unga kvinnor, quatre filles du Docteur March
MPAA Rating
Genre
Romance
Drama
Period
Adaptation
Release Date
1994
Production Company
Animal Logic; Columbia Pictures; Deluxe Vancouver; Di Novi Pictures; Location Caterers; Panavision, Ltd.; Sony Pictures Scoring Stage; Spectrum Films; Technicolor; William F. White International, Inc.
Distribution Company
Sony Pictures Releasing; 20th Century Fox International; Cts; Sony Pictures Home Entertainment; Sony Pictures Releasing
Location
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 55m

Award Nominations

Best Actress

1994
Winona Ryder

Best Costume Design

1994
Colleen Atwood

Best Original Score

1994

Articles

Little Women (1994)


Every generation gets a new Little Women movie. After silent versions in 1917 and 1918, there followed a famous 1933 feature from RKO starring Katharine Hepburn; a 1949 color MGM remake with Elizabeth Taylor; TV movie versions in 1958 and 1978 (among others); and a triumphant big-screen return in 1994. More adaptations appeared in 2017 and 2018, with yet another on tap for 2019, but the 1994 version of Little Women will be hard for anyone to top. It is arguably the finest adaptation to date, with a beautifully calibrated sensitivity toward the essence and details of Louisa May Alcott's 1868 novel, even as it injects a bit of modern feminism.

All that said, Columbia Pictures only agreed to make it after young executive (and future studio chief) Amy Pascal smartly pitched it as a Christmas movie. The novel's existing Christmas sequences could be emphasized in the film, she proposed, and the project's advertising campaign could be built around holiday imagery, and the movie could be released at Christmastime. All of the above happened, yet the film does not stray from the feel of the novel. To the contrary, making Little Women a bona fide Christmas movie actually heightened the sense of family togetherness that is at the center of Alcott's work. The four March sisters grow from childhood to young adulthood in 19th century Massachusetts, laughing, supporting, fighting and loving one another--and their mother, Marmee--along the way. But the heart of the story comes through in the scenes where all are together as a family. All feels right with the world at those moments, with their Christmas celebrations a perfect fit since the season naturally conjures family togetherness.

Pascal and screenwriter Robin Swicord first hatched the idea for a new Little Women 12 years earlier, and it took that long for both to attain the degree of power and status in the industry that would allow them to carry it through. They both loved the novel passionately, and when the green light finally came, Pascal (who was named after the character of Amy March) brought three more similarly passionate women on board: producer Denise Di Novi, director Gillian Armstrong and movie star Winona Ryder, who would play Jo March. Di Novi and Ryder had been talking for years amongst themselves about their desire to tackle this novel, and Australian-born Armstrong had established herself as a top director of women-centered stories with such films as My Brilliant Career (1979) and High Tide (1987).

The production was shot mostly in Vancouver--even the snowy scenes were shot there during the summer--but Armstrong also received special permission from the perfectly preserved town of Deerfield, Massachusetts to shoot establishing shots for the opening sequence. The production design of the March house was based on Alcott's own childhood house in Concord, and the attention to detail in every frame is apparent, helping the audience to feel immersed in the period.

Robin Swicord's script did not originally contain the voiceover heard through the film from Ryder, which memorably begins, "My sisters and I remember that winter as the coldest of our childhood." In fact, the script began with a scene of the sisters doing a theater performance. Armstrong and her editor changed this partly to emphasize the Christmas element but also because she thought the audience would otherwise have trouble immediately distinguishing the costume-clad girls from one another. Jo's sisters are played by Claire Danes (Beth), Trini Alvarado (Meg), Kirsten Dunst (younger Amy) and Samantha Mathis (older Amy). Susan Sarandon plays Marmee, a role first made famous by Katharine Hepburn, and Hepburn herself, then 86, was offered the showy part of Aunt March. She declined, saying she would never think of "competing" with Edna May Oliver, who had played the part so unforgettably in the 1933 version. The producers then offered the role to Mary Wickes, an inspired choice. Wickes, 83, was a veteran character actress who had appeared in two famous holiday favorites, The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942) and White Christmas (1954). She makes her appearance as Aunt March one of her most memorable, snapping the film's funniest lines with obvious delight. It was also her last film appearance as she died in 1995.

Also starring Christian Bale, Gabriel Byrne and John Neville, Little Women was a critical and commercial success. It was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Actress (Winona Ryder), Best Costume Design and Best Score. Over the years, it has stayed alive through annual holiday revivals and deservedly worked its way into the hearts of many fans as a family film of the purest sort--honest, buoyant and just sentimental enough to tap into anyone's nostalgia for the exuberances and even pangs of childhood.

By Jeremy Arnold
Little Women (1994)

Little Women (1994)

Every generation gets a new Little Women movie. After silent versions in 1917 and 1918, there followed a famous 1933 feature from RKO starring Katharine Hepburn; a 1949 color MGM remake with Elizabeth Taylor; TV movie versions in 1958 and 1978 (among others); and a triumphant big-screen return in 1994. More adaptations appeared in 2017 and 2018, with yet another on tap for 2019, but the 1994 version of Little Women will be hard for anyone to top. It is arguably the finest adaptation to date, with a beautifully calibrated sensitivity toward the essence and details of Louisa May Alcott's 1868 novel, even as it injects a bit of modern feminism. All that said, Columbia Pictures only agreed to make it after young executive (and future studio chief) Amy Pascal smartly pitched it as a Christmas movie. The novel's existing Christmas sequences could be emphasized in the film, she proposed, and the project's advertising campaign could be built around holiday imagery, and the movie could be released at Christmastime. All of the above happened, yet the film does not stray from the feel of the novel. To the contrary, making Little Women a bona fide Christmas movie actually heightened the sense of family togetherness that is at the center of Alcott's work. The four March sisters grow from childhood to young adulthood in 19th century Massachusetts, laughing, supporting, fighting and loving one another--and their mother, Marmee--along the way. But the heart of the story comes through in the scenes where all are together as a family. All feels right with the world at those moments, with their Christmas celebrations a perfect fit since the season naturally conjures family togetherness. Pascal and screenwriter Robin Swicord first hatched the idea for a new Little Women 12 years earlier, and it took that long for both to attain the degree of power and status in the industry that would allow them to carry it through. They both loved the novel passionately, and when the green light finally came, Pascal (who was named after the character of Amy March) brought three more similarly passionate women on board: producer Denise Di Novi, director Gillian Armstrong and movie star Winona Ryder, who would play Jo March. Di Novi and Ryder had been talking for years amongst themselves about their desire to tackle this novel, and Australian-born Armstrong had established herself as a top director of women-centered stories with such films as My Brilliant Career (1979) and High Tide (1987). The production was shot mostly in Vancouver--even the snowy scenes were shot there during the summer--but Armstrong also received special permission from the perfectly preserved town of Deerfield, Massachusetts to shoot establishing shots for the opening sequence. The production design of the March house was based on Alcott's own childhood house in Concord, and the attention to detail in every frame is apparent, helping the audience to feel immersed in the period. Robin Swicord's script did not originally contain the voiceover heard through the film from Ryder, which memorably begins, "My sisters and I remember that winter as the coldest of our childhood." In fact, the script began with a scene of the sisters doing a theater performance. Armstrong and her editor changed this partly to emphasize the Christmas element but also because she thought the audience would otherwise have trouble immediately distinguishing the costume-clad girls from one another. Jo's sisters are played by Claire Danes (Beth), Trini Alvarado (Meg), Kirsten Dunst (younger Amy) and Samantha Mathis (older Amy). Susan Sarandon plays Marmee, a role first made famous by Katharine Hepburn, and Hepburn herself, then 86, was offered the showy part of Aunt March. She declined, saying she would never think of "competing" with Edna May Oliver, who had played the part so unforgettably in the 1933 version. The producers then offered the role to Mary Wickes, an inspired choice. Wickes, 83, was a veteran character actress who had appeared in two famous holiday favorites, The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942) and White Christmas (1954). She makes her appearance as Aunt March one of her most memorable, snapping the film's funniest lines with obvious delight. It was also her last film appearance as she died in 1995. Also starring Christian Bale, Gabriel Byrne and John Neville, Little Women was a critical and commercial success. It was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Actress (Winona Ryder), Best Costume Design and Best Score. Over the years, it has stayed alive through annual holiday revivals and deservedly worked its way into the hearts of many fans as a family film of the purest sort--honest, buoyant and just sentimental enough to tap into anyone's nostalgia for the exuberances and even pangs of childhood. By Jeremy Arnold

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Kirsten Dunst was voted Best Supporting Actress of 1994 by the Boston Society of Film Critics for her performances in "Little Women" (USA/1994) and Neil Jordan's "Interview With the Vampire" (USA/1994).

Nominated for Excellence in Media's 1994 Golden Angel Award for best motion picture.

Nominated for the 1994 British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA) Award for Best Costume Design.

Robin Swicord was nominated for the 1994 award for Best Adapted Screenplay by the Writers Guild of America (WGA).

Released in United States Winter December 21, 1994

Wide Release in United States December 25, 1994

Released in United States on Video June 20, 1995

Hollywood has adapted Louisa May Alcott's classic novel on three previous occasions: directed by Harley Knoles in 1919; directed by George Cukor and starring Katharine Hepburn and Joan Bennett, among others, in 1933; and MGM's 1949 version starring June Allyson, Peter Lawford and Elizabeth Taylor, and directed by Mervyn LeRoy.

Began shooting April 25, 1994.

Completed shooting July 13, 1994.

Seventh feature for Gillian Armstrong, whose previous credits include "My Brilliant Career" (Australia/1978), "Starstruck" (Australia/1982), "Mrs. Soffel" (USA/1984), "High Tide" (Australia/1987), "Fires Within" (USA/1991), and "The Last Days of Chez Nous" (Australia/1992).

Released in United States Winter December 21, 1994

Wide Release in United States December 25, 1994

Released in United States on Video June 20, 1995