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Best Adaptations of Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’ Tales

Disney’s Alice Through the Looking Glass is now in theaters. The newest movie adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s beloved classic story that follows the events of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is playing across the country to audiences excited for the film. Tim Burton’s version of Alice in Wonderland featured colorful special effects, a wild interpretation of the story and Johnny Depp as The Mad Hatter, and this weekend, viewers will get more of the same.

This version of Alice is a time jumping, fantasy warrior who is on a journey to save Wonderland. The Mad Hatter is dying, the evil Red Queen is attempting to conquer a strange and mysterious new realm called Underland and Alice must determine what she will do to fulfill her destiny. It’s a new spin on the classic character’s we have known and loved for generations. Here are a few of the best versions of Lewis Carroll’s Alice stories that become fan favorites.

Disney’s Alice in Wonderland

Just about anyone who loves the tale Alice in Wonderland knows the Disney classic. The film is an animated work of art from start to finish that features amazing and beautifully designed imagery. Disney’s take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass has become one of the most iconic cartoons ever made. The bizarre and surreal nature of many of the film’s sequences has helped add to its cult status, but Alice in Wonderland is entertaining and unique and perfect for Disney fans of all ages.

Paramount Pictures’ Version

The 1933 version of Alice in Wonderland wasn’t the first time the story of Alice was ever made as a motion picture, but it remains a genuine classic that pushed the boundaries of Hollywood filmmaking. The cast in this movie is huge and includes major stars of the era like Gary Cooper playing the White Knight, Cary Grant as the Mock Turtle, Edward Everett Horton as the Mad Hatter, and even W.C. Fields appeared as Humpty Dumpty. The amazing old-school special effects alone make this one worth watching.

The 1985 Two-Part TV Movie

When the era of the TV movie was at its peak, CBS aired a two-part special of Alice in Wonderland that borrowed heavily from the Disney version except for the ending. When Alice returns home, she is on the other side of her living room mirror and gets attacked by the Jabberwock. This scene terrified kids in 1985 and still holds up as nightmare fuel despite the cheesy creature costume. The cast is loaded with talent including legends like Sherman Hemsley, Roddy McDowall, Jonathan Winters, Ernest Borgnine, Carol Channing, Sammy Davis Jr. and Telly Savalas as the Cheshire Cat. It’s crazy.

Jan Švankmajer’s Version

In the late 80s, legendary Czech Surrealist and pioneering stop-motion animator Jan Švankmajer made a haunting and fascinating film inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Švankmajer produced Něco z Alenky, which translates to Something from Alice, after completing his earlier short films Jabberwocky and Down to the Cellar. The filmmaker has also stated that Alice’s first story is “one of the most important and amazing books produced by civilization.” Jan Švankmajer’s Alice must be seen to be believed.

Terry Gilliam’s Jabberwocky

Before making Time Bandits and Brazil, Terry Gilliam’s first independently directed film was a weird and gritty medieval tale about a peasant boy who becomes a sort of hero. Monty Python alumni Michael Palin plays Dennis Cooper, a simple character caught up in a dangerous and deadly plot filled with knights, kings and monsters. Jabberwocky is a dark comedy that ends with a battle to the death between the titular beast and Dennis. It may not be Gilliam’s best work, but it remains a classically inspired bit of silly fun.

American McGee’s Alice for PC

American McGee’s Alice is considered by many gamers to be a revolutionary moment in modern gaming. When Alice hit shelves in 2000, fans and critics alike praised the game for its unique visuals and fantastic story. Adapted from both of Lewis Carroll’s tales, American McGee’s version followed the events of the stories and featured a dark and disturbing plot that immediately hooked players into the nightmarish setting. The original game is still worth playing today and makes for an unforgettable experience.

The stories Lewis Carroll wrote about Alice’s adventures have been made generation after generation, and many artists have attempted to tell the tales in their own unique ways. Alice, the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit, Cheshire Cat, the Queen of Hearts, the Caterpillar, Tweedledee and Tweedledum are all familiar characters that connect with fans young and old. Alice Through the Looking Glass is the newest nod to Lewis Carroll’s classic fables, and it won’t be the last.

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