The Adventures of Pinocchio is a 1996 fantasy adventure film based on Carlo Collodi's original novel of the same name co-written and directed by Steve Barron. Barron collaborated with Sherry Mills, Tom Bender and Barry Berman on the screenplay. The film was an American, British, French, Czech and German venture produced by New Line Cinema, The Kushner-Locke Company, Savoy Pictures, Pangaea Holdings and Twin Continental Films. The film stars Martin Landau, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Rob Schneider, Udo Kier, Bebe Neuwirth, David Doyle and Geneviève Bujold.
In a forest, Italian woodcarver Geppetto carves a heart into a pine tree, expressing his secret love for a woman named Leona. When he leaves, lightning strikes the tree, imbuing the heart with magic. Years later, an older Geppetto finds the remains of the tree and carves a marionette out of it, naming him Pinocchio. Due to the heart's magic, Pinocchio comes to life, referring to Geppetto as his father. Pinocchio chases a pigeon outside, meeting Leona, and then a pair of thieves, Volpe and Felinet, who work for Lorenzini, a sinister theater director and puppet master, informing him of Pinocchio's existence and sentience. Lorenzini tries to purchase Pinocchio, but Geppetto refuses to sell his son.
Pinocchio climbs out of a window and wanders into town, joining a group of boys in school. He gets into a fight with the rowdy Lampwick, and when he lies about it, his nose grows longer, and he is kicked out of the class. In bitterness, Pinocchio ends up causing damage to a local bakery, and Geppetto is arrested as a result. Pinocchio flees home, meeting a talking cricket, Pepe, who tells Pinocchio to behave in order to become a real boy. The next day, Pinocchio and Geppetto are put on trial. Unless Geppetto pays a fine, he will be imprisoned. Lorenzini enters, offering to pay off the debt if Pinocchio is given over to him. Geppetto reluctantly agrees after being reminded of his poor state.
Pinocchio becomes the star of Lorenzini's shows and is given gold coins as payment. However, Pepe helps him discover that he is ultimately unloved by Lorenzini. Pinocchio rescues several of Geppetto's puppets from being deliberately burnt, unintentionally setting Lorenzini's theater alight. He then leaps into a river and flees to the forest, where he decides to live. Felinet and Volpe find him, swindling him out of his coins. Pinocchio spots a stage coach passing by carrying Lampwick and other boys, travelling to Terra Magica, a hidden funfair for boys to do as they please. Meanwhile, Geppetto and Leona have been tracking down Pinocchio. Losing track of him, Geppetto rows out to sea upon finding Pinocchio's hat on a beach.
In the funfair, Pinocchio, Lampwick, and other boys go on a roller-coaster, but drinking the water of Terra Magica turns them into donkeys, symbolizing their bad behavior by turning them into "jackasses". The funfair turns out to belong to Lorenzini, who sells the donkeys off to circuses and farms. Pinocchio has Lampwick kick Lorenzini into the cursed water, transforming him into a demonic sea monster. The boys and donkeys flee the funfair, Pinocchio reuniting with Leona at the beach, and he sets out to find his father at sea. Pinocchio and Pepe are consumed by a giant sea monster which they recognize as the now feral Lorenzini, reuniting with Geppetto inside his stomach. From the strong smell of rotten chili peppers, they try to escape up Lorenzini's throat, Pinocchio lying to extend his nose and make the passage larger, causing his nose to break. Lorenzini starts to choke, breaching the ocean top, spitting Geppetto and Pinocchio out in the process.
On land, Pinocchio and Geppetto embrace. Pinocchio's tears flow, the tears landing on the heart carving, the same magic force from before transforming him into a real boy. The two embrace once more over the miracle. Pepe congratulates Pinocchio before leaving, wanting to rest from the whole ordeal, but promising they will see each other again soon. On the way home, Pinocchio runs into Felinet and Volpe, whom he tricks them into going to Terra Magica and drinking the cursed water there; and are later revealed to have transformed into a real cat and a fox, which results in them getting corralled by a farmer and kept as pets, where they later witness Pinocchio in town. The donkeys transform back into boys by reforming. Geppetto and Leona marry, and Pinocchio gives his father a log he found to carve into a girlfriend.
- Martin Landau as Geppetto
- Jonathan Taylor Thomas as Pinocchio
- David Doyle as Pepe, the talking cricket
- Geneviève Bujold as Leona
- Udo Kier as Lorenzini
- Bebe Neuwirth as Felinet
- Rob Schneider as Volpe
- Corey Carrier as Lampwick
- Dawn French as the Baker's Wife
- Richard Claxton as Saleo
- John Sessions as the Professor
- Jerry Hadley as the Judge
- Jean-Claude Dreyfus as the Foreman