Over the years, there have been several Winnie the Pooh featurettes (shorts), films, and home videos. In this section, talk about some of the most popular films. Download the Winnie the Pooh multimedia guide here for the full selection of films and television appearances.
"Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree"
"Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree," released on February 4, 1966, is the first animated featurette produced by Walt Disney. It is based on the first two chapters of A.A. Milne's original book. The story opens in the Hundred Acre Wood with Winnie the Pooh looking for honey. Pooh borrows Christopher Robin's balloon, disguises himself as a rain cloud, and floats up to a bee hive that sits in a tree. The bees are not fooled, and chase Christopher Robin and Pooh into a mud puddle.
Next, Pooh visits Rabbit's house, where he finds lots of honey and eats ten jars of it. He tries to leave, but he has become so fat from the honey that he gets stuck in the front doorway. Christopher Robin, Rabbit, and the others try to push Pooh out the door but can't budge him. They decide that Pooh will have to stop eating to slim down. As the days go by, Pooh finally slims down, but not enough; he is still stuck in the doorway. Tired of the delay, Rabbit charges into Pooh's behind, launching Pooh into the air like a rocket. The gang runs after Pooh and finds him stuck in a honey tree.
"Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day"
"Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day" was released by Walt Disney on December 20, 1968. This second "Pooh" short won an Academy Award and was released with the film "The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit." In this film, Winnie the Pooh is told by Gopher that it is "Winds-day." Pooh decides to wish a Happy Winds-day to his friend Piglet, who is subsequently blown into the air. Pooh uses him as a kite, and wishes the other characters a Happy Winds-day.
A windstorm develops and knocks down Owl's house, and Eeyore is sent to find him a new home. That night, as the weather turns worse, the Hundred Acre Wood is flooded. Trapped in his home, Piglet writes a note for help and places it in a bottle. Meanwhile, Pooh gets trapped in a bottle of honey and floats off. Everyone else gathers at Christopher Robin's house to come up with a rescue plan. Pooh and Piglet are rescued, and Eeyore finds Owl a new home (which turns out to be Piglet's house).
"Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too!"
"Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too!," the third Winnie the Pooh short from Disney, was released on December 20, 1974, along with the movie "The Island at the Top of the World." This featurette was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. The short starts with Tigger bouncing on everyone in the Hundred Acre Wood. Tired of his bouncing, Rabbit, Pooh, and Piglet decide to take Tigger out into the forest and ditch him. After they do this, Pooh and Piglet feel guilty and search for Tigger. They apologize to Tigger, but he takes no offense. Meanwhile, Rabbit actually gets lost in the forest, but Tigger rescues him.
Back at Kanga's house, Roo wants to go play, so Kanga calls on Tigger to watch Roo. Bouncing around the woods with Roo on his back, Tigger accidentally jumps too high into a tree and is too scared to come down. With the help of the narrator, Sebastian Cabot, who tips the book (the movie screen), Tigger makes it down but is sad because he promised Rabbit that he would never bounce again. Rabbit eventually allows Tigger to take back his promise, and Tigger teaches everyone, including Rabbit, to bounce.
"The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh"
"The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" is a full-length animated film that was released on March 11, 1977. It is comprised of the previously released animated shorts: "Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree" (1966), "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day" (1968), and "Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too!" (1974). This film includes newly created "linking scenes" between the three featurettes and a new ending to give closure to the stories.
This new ending is based on the final chapter of the book "The House at Pooh Corner." Walt Disney reportedly intended to create a feature film way back in the 1960s, but decided to make shorts instead in order to introduce U.S. audiences to the characters. "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" was the inspiration for an attraction of the same name at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Hong Kong Disneyland.
"Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin"
"Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin" is Disney's second full-length Winnie the Pooh animated feature, released in 1997. Christopher Robin is getting older and has to begin school, but he doesn't have the heart to tell Pooh, so he leaves his friend a note attached to a jar of honey. The note reads: "Dear Pooh: Don't worry about me. I'm not going far away; just to school. Help yourself to this honey. Christopher Robin." But the honey spills, making the words on the note hard to read.
Jim Cummings, the voice of Winnie the Pooh, says, "Pooh, the bear of very little brains, and his friends misinterpret Christopher Robin's soggy note and think they have lost Christopher Robin forever." Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Rabbit, and Eeyore embark on a rescue, which turns out to be more than they expected. They have to pass through biting plants in the forest of thorns, a muddy marsh, and chills in the skull cave.
Cummings adds, "They eventually learn that Christopher Robin is coming back, so it all turns out well. We actually had the premiere of this film at the United Nations. The film had beautiful songs -- a great soundtrack."
"The Tigger Movie"
"The Tigger Movie," released in 2000, is another feature film. This film begins with Tigger trying to find somebody to play with him. After he accidentally destroys Eeyore's house with a boulder, Rabbit informs him that nobody should play with Tigger. Saddened, Tigger walks away alone. When Roo catches up with Tigger, he is on a bridge, watching all the other characters with their families. Roo feels sorry for Tigger, and believes the gang should write a letter to him and sign it as his "family."
The next day, everybody is woken up by Tigger, who is excited about the letter and claims that his family is coming to a party that he is throwing. Not wanting to disappoint him, the gang dresses up like a group of Tiggers to make him feel loved. But when their disguises are exposed, a depressed Tigger leaves and walks out into a snowstorm. His friends search for him, and Roo gets caught in a snow avalanche. Fortunately, Tigger is able to bounce through the snow and rescue Roo.
Cummings, who performed both Pooh and Tigger in this film, says that he worked with the musical writing team the Sherman Brothers. "They wrote songs for all the original Winnie the Pooh movies," he says, "as well as 'Mary Poppins' and 'Jungle Book.' It was an absolute joy. They told me stories about Louis Prima, who did the voice for King Louie in 'The Jungle Book.' That was my favorite movie. They are incredible tunesmiths and very nice guys. Robert Sherman told me how they wrote 26 movie scores, and then Richard looked up and said, 'It was 27.' Robert then said, 'Come to think of it, it was 27!'
"They were impressed that I could read music and sing a song called 'Whoop-de-Dooper Bounce,' which went faster and faster as the song progressed. The Sherman Brothers gave me a signed score -- thanking me for my 'Super-Cala-Fragilistic Expealidocious-singing.'"
"Piglet's Big Movie"
"Piglet's Big Movie" is a full-length animated feature that was released in 2003. In this film, Pooh, Tigger, Rabbit, and Eeyore come up with an elaborate plan to gather honey from a hive of angry bees. However, they do not include Piglet because they think he's too little to help. Depressed, Piglet wanders off. While he is gone, Pooh and the gang hope to find him by using Piglet's "Book of Memories" -- drawings of past adventures with his pals. They hope that the book can "remember" where Piglet went.
Pooh, Tigger, Rabbit, Eeyore, and Roo set off to find Piglet with the "Book of Memories" as their guide. The film then has a flashback to previous adventures in which Piglet saves the day: from building a house for Eeyore to introducing the gang to Kanga and Roo. The flashbacks are the first adaptations of original A.A. Milne stories since "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" and "Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore." Pooh and company realize that this "very small animal" has been a big hero.
Cummings (the voice of Pooh and Tigger) recalls that "John Fielder [the voice of Piglet] got top-billing this time, which was nice because he was ill at the time. This was his last role as Piglet, and he finally had his time in the spotlight. Everyone on the film was very excited for him. He was such a sweet man. He wasn't doing a funny character voice -- he really sounded like Piglet."
"Pooh's Heffalump Movie"
"Pooh's Heffalump Movie" is another feature film and was released in 2005. Winnie the Pooh and friends hear a strange noise and find some large circular footprints in the Hundred Acre Wood. They jump to the conclusion that the noise and prints are from a Heffalump. Rabbit organizes an expedition to catch it but tells Roo to stay behind because it may be dangerous.
Cummings (the voice of Pooh) recalls, "This is the first appearance of a Heffalump in the Hundred Acre Wood. The Heffalump is basically like an elephant. Roo runs across small one, who turns out to be his size."
Indeed, the Heffalump is a four-footed creature named Heffridge Trumpler Brompet Heffalump IV (nicknamed "Lumpy") with a trunk like an elephant's. Roo is afraid at first, but the two later become friends. They meet Pooh and his friends, who are frightened and try to "rescue" Roo and capture Lumpy. When Lumpy scurries away, Roo runs after him but ends up in a tight spot. Lumpy's mother then saves Roo, showing everyone that Heffalumps are nice.
"This film was about accepting people and their differences, and learning how to get along," Cummings says. "We had the premiere in New York City, and the film had songs by Carly Simon."
Besides featurettes and films, Winnie the Pooh and his friends have been a favorite on TV, appearing on shows that appeal to preschoolers, older children, and adults. In the next section, we'll take a look at Pooh's career on the small screen.