Peter Pan is one of the most enduring fairy stories and is set to return to the big screen this week with Pan, which marks the return of Joe Wright to the director's chair.

Levi Miller as Peter Pan in Pan

Levi Miller as Peter Pan in Pan

While the movie is inspired by the creation of J.M. Barrie, Pan is set prior to the story that we all know so well and before we see young Peter become the hero Peter Pan.

Over the years, we have seen many interpretations of the Peter Pan story hit the big screen from drama, to comedy, to wonderful animation and a whole host of actors have taken on this iconic role. To celebrate the release of Pan this week, we take a look back at some of the best.

- Bobby Driscoll - Peter Pan (1953)

When you think of Peter Pan on the big screen, everyone immediately thinks of the Walt Disney classic that was released way back in 1953 - in my opinion, it remains the best adaptation of Barrie's wonderful novel.

Peter Pan is one of Disney's greatest films and it was Bobby Driscoll who brought the role of Peter so wonderfully to life in the film. Of course, we never actually see Bobby on screen, but he gives and exciting and, at times, very touching voice performance of the boy who never grew up.

The movie followed Peter as he brings Wendy, John, and Michael to Neverland for the first time, where they encounter the Lost Boys, mermaids, and the villainous Captain Hook for an incredible adventure.

While Peter Pan doesn't necessarily capture the darkness of the Barrie novel, it is a heart-warming and terrific family movie that has truly stood the test of time - it remains one of the best Disney films and is also one of my all-time favourites.

Driscoll doesn't get as much recognition as some other actors for his role as Peter Pan but he really delivers a terrific performance as he captures the love of life and the loneliness that this character feels.

Peter Pan

- Robin Williams - Hook (1992)

It was back in 1992 when UK audiences saw Robin Williams takes on the role of a grown up Peter Pan for the first time in Steven Spielberg's Hook, which was a very different adaptation of the Barrie story.

The movie follows an adult Peter who must return to Neverland to save his children, who have been kidnapped by Captain Hook - played wonderfully by Dustin Hoffman. Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins, Maggie Smith, Charlie Korsmo, and Amber Scott make up the cast list.

Hook may not have been the most critically praised movies of 1992, but it is a film that really is a lot of fun. Of course, it is an adventure film that takes audiences on a wonderful journey to another world, but Hook is about family and the importance of great relationships between children and their parents; there are some truly heartbreaking moments when the father/child relationship is at breaking point because the former has lost sight of what is important in life.

Robin Williams delivers another great performance as he gets the balance between comedy, action, and drama just right - the poignant moments with his on-screen children are some of the film's best and most powerful.

Hook was a commercial success upon release - even if it wasn't a hit with the critics - and Williams did create one of the most enduring images of this popular character.


- Jeremy Sumpter - Peter Pan (2003)

In 2003 Peter Pan returned to the big screen with a new take on the J.M. Barrie story, which saw Jeremy Sumpter take on the title role while P.J. Hogan was in the director's chair.

While Sumpter was no stranger to acting with TV and film roles already under his belt, Peter Pan was the biggest movie and role for the young actor and was the major breakthrough that he had been looking for.

Similar to the 1953 animation, Peter Pan follows the Darling family as they are taken on an adventure to Neverland with Peter Pan - where the battle with Captain Hook is taking place. Jason Isaacs, Olivia Williams, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Richard Briers, Harry Newell, and Freddie Popplewell were also on the cast list.

Peter Pan is faithful to the original tale and is a terrific watch that is visually spectacular with some great performances - Sumpter and Isaacs are particularly good as Peter and Hook and I enjoyed the dual between these two terrific characters.

It was great to see a young boy take on the role of Peter again - this was the first live action release that saw a boy in the title role - and this is a movie that is packed with childhood wonder and innocence as well as heart and bucket loads of charm.

Peter Pan

- Freddie Highmore - Finding Neverland (2004)

Finding Neverland hit the big screen in 2004 - hard to believe it is over a decade ago as I remember watching this on the cinema - and was a very different take on the Peter Pan story. Instead of following the story of Peter, we follow J.M. Barrie and how he created this enduring and iconic character.

The movie follows Barrie as be befriends the Llewelyn Davies family and how the children George, Jack, Peter, and Michael inspired him to write his most famous novel.

Freddie Highmore takes on the role of Peter Llewelyn Davies in the film, a young boy who is struggling after the death of his father and doesn't immediately welcome Barrie into their lives. It is Peter who inspires the character of Peter Pan.

Peter Pan does make an appearance in the film as Kelly Macdonald took on the role in the stage version of the story that is in the movie.

Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Dustin Hoffman, Julie Christie, and Radha Mitchell made up an impressive cast list for what was one of the best and most touching dramas to hit the big screen in 2004.

Finding Neverland, which was directed by Marc Forster and based on the play by Allan Knee, is a wonderful drama that sees a talented cast on fine form. Depp and Highmore both given wonderful performances as Barrie and Peter and their scenes are some of the most powerful and intriguing as their bond develops. The movie went on to be nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Depp.

Finding Neverland

- Levi Miller - Pan (2015)

Levi Miller is set to be a name to watch out for over the next couple of years as he is set to take on the role of Peter in Pan this week.

Miller is at the start of his acting career with only a handful of small roles under his belt so far... Pan and the role of Peter is his biggest film project and part so far and is set to send his star rocketing.

The movie sees Miller team up with director Wright for the first time, while Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund, Rooney Mara, Amanda Seyfried, Kathy Burke, and Cara Delevingne are just some of the other big names on board.

Peter is a mischievous 12-year-old boy with an irrepressible rebellious streak, but in the bleak London orphanage where he has lived his whole life those qualities do not exactly fly. Then one incredible night, Peter is whisked away from the orphanage and spirited off to a fantastical world of pirates, warriors and fairies called Neverland.

There, he finds amazing adventures and fights life-or-death battles while trying to uncover the secret of his mother, who left him at the orphanage so long ago, and his rightful place in this magical land. Teamed with the warrior Tiger Lily and a new friend named James Hook, Peter must defeat the ruthless pirate Blackbeard to save Neverland and discover his true destiny... to become the hero who will forever be known as Peter Pan.

Visually stunning and full of action, Pan is a family movie that is not to be missed this weekend and could well be the film that turns Miller into a star.


Pan is released 16th October.

by for
find me on and follow me on

Tagged in