Return to Green Gables: From Fiction to Film

As Anne Shirley has said, "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." While every October holds its own special charm, this one is all the more precious because it holds something I've been looking forward to for ages: Return to Green GablesAlexa from Alexa Loves BooksRachel  from Hello, Chelly and I wanted to celebrate this kindred spirit, so we've got some fun things in store for you! Be sure to visit all of our blogs during the next week as we pay tribute to the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery.

For today's post, I'm talking about the delightful movie adaptations of these beloved books using the format of my Tune in Tonight feature. I had so much fun putting it together, and I hope you enjoy!

The Stats

Length: 199 minutes | 230 minutes | 185 minutes
Genre: Drama | Family | Romance
Director: Kevin Sullivan
Buy on Amazon

The Story

At the turn of the century on Prince Edward Island, Matthew Cuthbert and his sister Marilla decide to take on an orphan boy as help for their farm. But they get an unexpected jolt when they're mistakenly sent a girl instead: Anne Shirley. Anne's a dreamer with an unusual point of view, far removed from Marilla's pragmatic ways, and it's only on trial that Marilla agrees to keep Anne...if Anne can keep out of trouble, only Anne has a positive genius for it. As Anne falls into a series of scrapes (and off a roof), makes a bosom friend, searches (and finds) several kindred spirits, Matthew and Marilla discover that their lives have become a great deal richer, now that Anne is at Green Gables. +

The Stars

Megan Follows as Anne Shirley
Jonathan Crombie as Gilbert Blythe
Schuyler Grant as Diana Barry
Colleen Dewhurst as Marilla Cuthbert
Richard Farnsworth as Matthew Cuthbert

The Sneak Peek

The Sell

They don't compare to the books, but I'm a HUGE fan of these movies. The first, Anne of Green Gables, generally follows the first book in the series. The second, Anne of Avonlea, combines some material from Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island and Anne of Windy Poplars - as well as introducing entirely new characters and storylines. And the third, Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story, basically came out of nowhere. I'm going to share five reasons I love the movies in general, but the first two are definitely my favorites. I enjoy certain scenes in The Continuing Story, but it drives me crazy that the story deviated from the books so much.

1. It's fun to see these beloved characters on screen!
These movies are perfectly cast! Megan Follows embodies Anne Shirley so completely that I always picture her in my head now when I read the book... and sometimes I hear her voice. Jonathan Crombie is another favorite because he really brought to life Gilbert's charm and intelligence. I absolutely love the moments he's in a scene, and sometimes he'll catch my eye even when he's in the background. I just can't help it! And Richard Farnsworth and Colleen Dewhurst made me love Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert even more than I already did. It's fun to see many of the secondary characters, too! I particularly love Rachel Lynde and Katherine Brooke. 

2. Although they don't completely follow the books, they still capture their spirit.
As a fan of the books, I'm not a fan of all the changes they made in the first two movies. In Anne of Green Gables, they're relatively minor since the plot is basically the same. Anne of Avonlea, on the other hand, is pretty different from the books. And, as I noted, The Continuing Story really bears no relation to the books. But where the movies truly succeed, in my opinion, is in capturing the spirit and emotion of the books. I love watching the movies just as much as I love reading the books, and that's the most important thing. They bring me so much joy that I end up forgetting all about nitpicking the differences. 

3. Anne's (mis)adventures are absolutely hilarious.
Anne Shirley has a knack for getting into trouble. Although, as she tells Marilla, it's never the same thing twice. At least she learns from her mistakes! It's really fun to read about her scrapes, but it's even more enjoyable to see them come to life on screen. With the raspberry cordial incident, for example, it's pretty funny to see Anne get Diana (accidentally) drunk. There are so many other moments - like Anne cracking her slate over Gilbert's head or being rescued in the lake after her boat sinks or losing her temper with Mrs. Lynde... One of the reasons I loved these movies when I was younger was because I couldn't wait to see what Anne would do next.

4. They'll make your heart happy.
Honestly, these movies just make you feel good. Whether I'm laughing at Anne's dramatics or crying over a beloved character's death, it's so satisfying to watch these movies. If I'm feeling sick or sad, this is what I turn to for comfort. I can never get tired of seeing Anne find a family -- and fall in love. You could watch these movies with your whole family (even though I could never get my brothers on board), and I adore their wholesomeness. There's a charm to this world, and I can't get enough! I bonded with two of my best friends in high school over our love for these movies, so they win points for bringing people together, too.

5. The romance will make you swoon, even though it's better in the books.
Of course, I had to end with the romance. If you read my post the other day, you should have seen that coming. I'm so obsessed with this couple! I think there are elements of the love story that are stronger in the books, but I can't deny that these movies absolutely make me swoon. There are some scenes in these that aren't in the books (including little things like the moment above), but you'll hear no complaints from me about them. I'll take all the lovey-dovey stuff I can get. I'm so thankful the casting for these two was so absolutely perfect! And while I'm not crazy about The Continuing Story, I do love some of the romantic moments in it. 

The Snippets

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Anne Shirley: "Plum puffs won't minister to a mind diseased in a world that's crumbled into pieces."
Marilla Cuthbert: "Well I'm glad to see that your dented spirits haven't injured your tongue."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  

Anne Shirley: "Our friendship, it won't ever be the same now. Why can't he just be sensible instead of acting like a sentimental schoolboy?"
Marilla Cuthbert: "Because he loves you."
Anne Shirley: "He loves me? I can't know why."
Marilla Cuthbert: "Because you made Josie Pye and Ruby Gillis and all of those wishy-washy young ladies who waltzed by him look like spineless nothings."
Anne Shirley: "Marilla, he's hardly my idea of a romantic suitor."
Marilla Cuthbert: "Anne, you have tricked something out of that imagination of yours that you call romance. Have you forgotten how he gave up the Avonlea school for you so that you could stay here with me? He picked you up everyday in his carriage so that you could study your courses together. Don't toss it away for some ridiculous ideal that doesn't exist."

The Soundtrack

I didn't realize there was a score available for these movies, and I was delighted when I discovered them while preparing this post. I found this playlist on Spotify with all of them combined, and I can't wait to listen!

Rachel is looking at Anne covers, and Alexa is traveling to Prince Edward Island.
Be sure to come back tomorrow for the final day of our celebration!


  1. I just need to watch the movie again after reading this post! Seriously, it's been ages since I've actually last seen it, so I can't even remember all the differences between film and book. (Also, I could stare at the Gilbert GIF all day...)

  2. omg this post just makes me want to re-watch the movies ASAP. I love them so much, and I'm kinda nervous seeing how that fares when I finally read the books. Even though I HAVEN'T read them, I can still see what you mean with your points above on why people should watch the movies. The romance did make me swoon; I thought Megan and Jonathon both were fantastic as Anne and Gilbert. And they really did just make my heart happy (even though the movie with the war was a toughie, but I still loved it). I loved all of these posts, Hannah! :)

  3. I had no idea there was a continuing story! Although knowing it's completely different from the books makes me a little skeptical about checking it out.


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