Runtime: 2 episodes x 95 min. or 4 episodes x 45 min.
Airdates: 1-2 December 1985 (CBC), 17, 24 February, 3, 10 March 1986 (PBS), 2, 9, 16, 23 November 1986 (ZDF), 18-19 December 1989 (City-TV)
Production Companies: Sullivan Films Inc. (Anne of Green Gables Productions Inc.), Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, PBS/Wonderworks, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, TV-60 Film Production/ZDF, City-TV
Funding Agency: Telefilm Canada
Director: Kevin Sullivan
Producers: Kevin Sullivan, Ian McDougall
Screen Adaptation: Kevin Sullivan, Joe Wiesenfeld
Executive Producer: Kevin Sullivan
Associate Producer: Trudy Grant
Executive in Charge of Production: Nada Harcourt (for CBC)
Cinematography: Rene Ohashi
Art Direction: Carol Spier
Costume Design: Martha Mann
Editors: James Lahti, Mairin Wilkinson
Music: Hagood Hardy
Source Material: Based on the novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Tag: A Kevin Sullivan Production
Principal Cast: Megan Follows (Anne Shirley), Colleen Dewhurst (Marilla Cuthbert), Richard Farnsworth (Matthew Cuthbert), Patricia Hamilton (Rachel Lynde), Rosemary Radcliffe (Mrs. Barry), Schuyler Grant (Diana Barry), Marilyn Lightstone (Miss Stacey), Charmion King (Aunt Josephine Barry), Jackie Burroughs (Mrs. Amelia Evans)
The first of an ongoing series of dramatic programs by Sullivan Entertainment, a Toronto company founded in 1979 by Kevin Sullivan and Trudy Grant as Sullivan Films. Budgeted at $3.4 million, this two-part, four-hour miniseries averaged 5.6 million viewers when it premiered in Canada in 1985, making it the highest-rated dramatic program in the history of the CBC. For the most part, this miniseries is a faithful adaptation of the original novel; omissions aside, most of the changes made are more structural than creative, some of them closely paralleled to Nicholls’ direction of the 1934 talkie. Ultimately, however, Sullivan and Wiesenfeld continue the tradition of refocusing the plot on Anne’s relationship with Gilbert. Most of the scenes invented by the screenwriters serve to emphasize their budding relationship: as Susan Drain concludes in her detailed review of the television miniseries, “the film, by concentrating on the love story, is in some ways more old-fashioned, or even narrower, than the book. The film is an exquisite romance, but the novel is a Bildungsroman. That reduction is, finally, a loss” (72).
The success of this miniseries prompted three sequels—Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel (1987), Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story (2000), and Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning (2008)—along with a spin-off series (1990-1996), an animated series (2000-2001), and an animated film (2005), all from Sullivan Entertainment. This Anne of Green Gables adaptation won nine Gemini Awards (including Best Dramatic Miniseries), an Emmy Award for Outstanding Children’s Program, a Peabody Award, and numerous other international awards and accolades.
Anne of Green Gables. Sullivan Entertainment Presents. Toronto: Sullivan Entertainment, .*
Anne of Green Gables. Sullivan Entertainment’s. Toronto: Sullivan Entertainment, .* [Includes behind-the-scenes footage, missing scenes, previews, and miscellaneous materials. Has been reissued since.]
Anne of Green Gables: Five-Disc Collector’s Edition. Toronto: Sullivan Entertainment, .
Home Video (English)
Anne of Green Gables. A Kevin Sullivan Production. Toronto: Junior Home Video, n.d.*
Anne of Green Gables. Walt Disney Home Video Presents Wonderworks. Burbank, CA: Walt Disney Home Video, n.d.*
Anne of Green Gables. Sullivan Entertainment Presents. Toronto: Sullivan Releasing, .*
Home Video (French)
Anne…La Maison aux pignons verts. Une production de Kevin Sullivan. Toronto: Junior Home Video, n.d.*
Anne…La Maison aux pignons verts. Sullivan Entertainment présente. Toronto: Sullivan Entertainment, n.d.*
Anne…La Maison aux pignons verts. 4 volumes. Montréal: Imavision Distribution, . [Volume 1: Anne...La Maison aux pignons verts, episodes 1 and 2; Volume 2: Anne...La Maison aux pignons verts, episodes 3 and 4; Volume 3: Anne...La Maison aux pignons verts, La suite, episodes 1 and 2; Volume 4: Anne...La Maison aux pignons verts: La suite, episodes 3, 4, and 5.
The Anne of Green Gables Storybook. Based on the Kevin Sullivan Film of Lucy Maud Montgomery's Classic Novel. Screenplay by Kevin Sullivan & Joe Wiesenfeld. Storybook adapted by Fiona McHugh. Willowdale, ON: Firefly Books, 1987.
Anne of Green Gables: The Official Movie Adaptation. Based on the Kevin Sullivan Film of Lucy Maud Montgomery's Classic Novel. Screenplay by Kevin Sullivan & Joe Wiesenfeld. Storybook adapted by Kevin Sullivan. Toronto: Davenport Press, 2008.
Anne. Original Music Score for the Sullivan Films Emmy Award Winning TV Presentation of Anne of Green Gables [and Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel]. Composed and Conducted by Hagood Hardy. Toronto: Attic Records, n.d. [Issued first as a cassette, then later as a CD.]
Adilman, Sid. “Anne’s pastures greener in Ontario.” Toronto Star, 22 June 1985, J1+.
—. “Green Gables movie delighted 4,908,000 viewers.” Toronto Star, 18 December 1985, B1.
—. “Green Gables 2-hour movie to play Japan.” Toronto Star, 19 November 1988, G1.
—. “Two producers vie for Anne Of Green Gables.” Toronto Star, 23 February 1984, F1.
Bawden, Jim. “Green Gables charms jaded American critics.” Toronto Star, 13 December 1986, D5.
Berg, Temma F. “Anne of Green Gables: A Girl’s Reading.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 13, no. 3 (Fall 1988): 124-28.
Boone, Mike. “Missed Anne of Green Gables on CBC? You have another chance on ad-free PBS.” TV Times, 16 February 1986, 3.
Conlogue, Ray. “Anne of the silver screen.” Globe and Mail, 27 July 1985, E1.
Dickinson, Peter. “Introduction: Reading Movies.” Essays on Canadian Writing 76 (Spring 2002): 1-45.
Drain, Susan. “‘Too Much Love-making’: Anne of Green Gables on Television.” The Lion and the Unicorn 11, no. 2 (October 1987): 63-72.
Enchin, Harvey. “Sullivan files suit against public TV.” Globe and Mail, 25 August 1994, B6.
Firth, Margaret. “Celebrating ‘Anne Of The Silver Screen’ at Westfield Heritage Centre.” In The Lucy Maud Montgomery Album, compiled by Kevin McCabe, edited by Alexandra Heilbron, 388-91. Toronto: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1999.
Fisher, Jennifer. “A messenger of optimism and sunshine.” TV Guide, 30 November 1985, 4-12.
Hall, Lucie. “The stubbornness of Kevin Sullivan.” Cinema Canada, October 1985, 8-11.
Heilbron, Alexandra. “Anne of Green Gables, The Sullivan Adaptations: An Industry Begins.” In The Lucy Maud Montgomery Album, compiled by Kevin McCabe, edited by Alexandra Heilbron, 346-49. Toronto: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1999.
Hersey, Eleanor. “‘It’s all mine’: The Modern Woman as Writer in Sullivan’s Anne of Green Gables Films.” In Making Avonlea: L.M. Montgomery and Popular Culture, edited by Irene Gammel, 131-44. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002.
—. “‘Tennyson Would Never Approve’: Reading and Performance in Kevin Sullivan’s Anne of Green Gables.” Canadian Children’s Literature / Littérature canadienne pour la jeunesse 105-106 (Spring-Summer 2002): 48-67.
Howey, Ann F. “‘She look’d down to Camelot’: Anne Shirley, Sullivan, and the Lady of Shalott.” In Making Avonlea: L.M. Montgomery and Popular Culture, edited by Irene Gammel, 160-73. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002.
Kohanik, Eric. “Anne Set Aside for a While.” Calgary Herald, 19 December 1993, C4.
Lefebvre, Benjamin. “‘A Small World After All’: L.M. Montgomery’s Imagined Avonlea as Virtual Landscape.” In The International Handbook of Virtual Learning Environments, edited by Joel Weiss, Jason Nolan, Jeremy Hunsinger, and Peter Trifonas, 1121-40. Dordrecht, Neth.: Springer, 2006.
—. “Stand by Your Man: Adapting L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.” Essays on Canadian Writing 76 (Spring 2002): 149-69.
Mackay, Gillian. “Bringing a classic to the screen.” Maclean’s, 2 December 1985, 78.
Nickel, Eleanor Hersey. “’The World Hasn’t Changed Very Much’: Romantic Love in Film and Television Versions of Anne of Green Gables.” In 100 Years of Anne with an “e”: The Centennial Study of “Anne of Green Gables,” edited by Holly Blackford, 105-21. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2009.
Poe, K.L. “Who’s Got the Power? Montgomery, Sullivan, and the Unsuspecting Viewer.” In Making Avonlea: L.M. Montgomery and Popular Culture, edited by Irene Gammel, 145-59. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002.
Saunders, Don, and Gayle Macdonald. “Anne’s scary stepparents.” Globe and Mail, 16 October 1999, C1+.
Wiggins, Genevieve. L.M. Montgomery. Twayne’s World Authors Series 834. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1992. [See 40-41.]
Wren, Christopher S. “Canada’s Beloved ‘Anne of Green Gables’ Crosses the Border.” New York Times, 16 February 1986, 2:31+.