czech fairy tales
Culture & Science Movies

Czech Movie Classics – Fairy-tales

Witty princesses, brave princes and a few unforgettable devils…These are the most famous and legendary Czech fairy-tales!

fairy tales classic

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Make sure you can watch the following movies in your country! Some of the Czech movies available on certain pages might not be available in your country. I recommend using the NordVPN and setting Czech Republic as your country to watch all your favorite Czech movies. NordVPN often has really nice sales and offers, so you can get this service for a really good price.

Czech Fairy-Tales

Three Wishes for Cinderella (Tři oříšky pro Popelku, 1973)

czech christmas fairy-tales

In German Drei Haselnüsse für Aschenbrödel and in English Three Wishes for Cinderella is the most emblematic Czech Christmas fairy-tale. The list of fairy-tales might change but this one will ALWAYS be on TV at Christmas time. This visually beautiful Czech-German movie tells the story of a young girl whose wit and skills ultimately get her into the palace. What makes this story better than other tales of Cinderella is the fact that this Popelka isn’t a fragile girl crying for help but a strong young lady who’s not afraid to face challenges. The leading role of Cinderella literally catapulted the career of Libuše Šafránková, who almost instantly became one of the most acclaimed Czech actresses and the undisputed nr. 1 among the Czech princesses to this day.

This fairy-tale has become popular all over Europe and the USA. Although the original movie was released in Czech, some of the characters (king, queen, stepmother) had to be dubbed as they were played by German actors.

Interesting trivia: Pavel Trávníček who starrs as the prince has had a strong South-Moravian accent, so the film-makers decided to dub his voice.

Where to watch it: here (English), here (German) and also here (Netflix)

Three Wishes for Cinderella (Tři oříšky pro Popelku, 1969)

czech fairy tales

Did you know that there was another Cinderella before the super famous one? This one is a black and white movie with songs and with a different Popelka. It’s a more traditional story where Cinderella is more passive but it is still a beautiful fairy-tale.

Where to watch it: YouTube

Give the Devil His Due (S čerty nejsou žerty, 1984)

czech christmas fairy-tales

When Petr’s father dies, his step-mother goes out of her way to get rid of the young man. He is sent to war but manages to escape and meets another young man, who is in fact a devil who was send to Earth to correct his mistake. Together the duo tries to set things right and Petr’s hearts is set on marrying the princess he fell in love with. The only problem is that she might not be the right princess…

This fairy-tale is funny, adventurous and with great acting which makes it many people’s favourite Christmas movie.

Interesting trivia: Several phrases from this movie became so popular that they became a part of the common language. Probably the most famous is Je to rebel! (He’s a rebel!). Also calling someone Dorota Máchalová (name of the step-mother) is an insult.

Where to watch it: here

The Prince and the Evening Star (Princ a Večernice, 1978)

šafránková tales

This is another fairy-tale with Libuše Šafránková as the lead character.

Prince Velen takes charge of the kingdom and his three sisters while his father’s away and he marries the girls off to the Master of the Wind, the Sun and the Moon. He then meets the beautiful Evening Star who gets imprisoned by the Master of the Storm. The prince sets off to rescue her and on the way he must overcome many obstacles and discover himself.

This was another princess role for Šafránková who’s notably more mature than in her Cinderella role and incredibly charming.

Where to watch it: here (Europe) or here (US)

Once Upon a Time, There Was a King… (Byl jednou jeden král, 1954)

czech christmas movie

This timeless classic, still hugely popular today, tells the story of a king who expels one of his daughter after she says she loves him like she loves the salt (the movie is based on a Czech fairy-tale called “Salt over gold”). To prove he’s right he decides to live without salt and soon discovers that he and his courtiers are willing to give up anything just to be able to salt their meals.

The actor who portrays the king is none other than the legendary Jan Werich a close friend and co-worker of Jiří Voskovec (in the US known as George Voskovec). Thanks to him and other famous comedians the movie is full of humorous moments.

Interesting trivia: Milena Dvorská who plays princess Maruška was a 15-year-old highschool student at the moment of the shooting. Although the movie launched her career, Maruška remained her most famous role.

The lyrics to the songs were written by Jaroslav Seifert who was awarded Nobel Prize for Literature.

Where to watch it: here

Salt Over Gold (Der Salzprinz, Sůl nad zlato, 1982)

In this fairy tale produced by West Germany and Czechoslovakia, Libuše Šafránková is princess Maruška who meets the mysterious prince Milivoj, son of the king of the Underworld. Maruška is forced into exile after telling her father she likes him like she likes salt and she’s told to return when salt is as precious as gold and gemstones. The king of the Underworld, who sees humans as heartless creatures, curses the human kingdom and turns all salt into gold. The human king soon discovers that all the gold in the world doesn’t compensate for not being able to salt his food but it’s up to Maruška to find a cure…

If it sounds familiar, yes, it is the same story like the previously mentioned fairy-tale Once Upon a Time There Was a King.

Where to watch it: here

The Princess with the Golden Star (Princezna se zlatou hvězdou, 1959)

czech fairy tales

Princess Lada wants to avoid getting married to the malicious king Kazisvět. She flees to the neighboring kingdom disguised as a servant, wearing a coat made from mice fur. She gets employed in the royal kitchen and falls in love with the young prince. Her true identity is revealed and her unwanted groom doesn’t let his bride get off easily.

One of the interesting facts about this fairy tale is that some of the characters sing and speak in verses.

Where to watch it: here

The Watermill Princess (Princezna ze mlejna, 1994)

The Watermill Princess was directed by Zdeněk Troška, a movie director known for his cheesy style and the Sun, Hay… trilogy. This fairy tale, however, is much more moderate and although it can hardly be called the best Czech fairy-tale, it has many fans and I have to admit, it’s funny!

Young villager Jindřich leaves home to explore the world. He stays at a watermill, helping the miller and planning his adventures. The miller, worried for the future of his daughter Eliška, establishes a deadline before which she has to choose a husband. There are three suitors – a water goblin, a devil and the local elderly prince. Not surprisingly, the girl doesn’t want any of them but what to do if the one she really wants doesn’t seem to be interested in her?

Where to watch The Watermill Princess 1: Youtube or buy it here

Where to watch The Watermill Princess 2: Netflix

Princess Goldilocks (Zlatovláska, 1973)

czech fairy tales

The musical fairy-tale Zlatovláska tells the tale of Jiřík, a servant who disobeys his king and in order to save his life he has to bring the king a young bride, princess Zlatovláska with beautiful golden hair. He has to carry out three difficult tasks which wouldn’t be possible without some strange friends Jiřík made on his way thanks to his good heart.

Where to watch it: Youtube or buy it here

Princess Jasnenka and the Flying Shoemaker (O princezně Jasněnce a létajícím ševci, 1987)

Jíra in a young shoemaker who wants to live an adventure. After he sews a pair of wings he leads a double life. During the day he is a shoemaker’s apprentice, at night he visits the princess. One day, the sun doesn’t rise and the king has to decide who’s in the wrong, whether the Queen of the Sun who let her magic rooster crow and disturb the witch or the witch who killed and ate the rooster and therefore, made the sun stay down.

The princess is taken hostage by the witch and Jíra sets off to rescue her. However, he loses memory on the way and forgets about his beloved princess forever. Or not?

Where to watch it: here

The Third Prince (Třetí princ, 1983)

šafránková tales

Prince Jaromír sets off to a faraway kingdom to meet the princess he fell in love with after seeing her picture. He leaves his twin brother and parents behind and decides to fulfill three impossible tasks to not only get his bride but also to rescue his older brother who went missing in the chase of the same princess several years earlier. Not long after, his twin brother Jaroslav has to set off to help…

This fairy tale is the second occasion on which Libuše Šafránková and Pavel Trávníček met on the set as prince and princess. This balladic, mysterious and somewhat dark tale is less famous than Cinderella’s story but a favorite of many nevertheless.

Where to watch it: here

The Immortal Aunt (Nesmrtelná teta, 1993)

šafránková tales

Reason and Luck discuss the sleeping simpleton Matěj and decide to change his fate. In this fairy-tale, Libuše Šafránková starrs in her supporting role of Luck who watches over a villager who finds his way into the castle and falls in love with a princess but must cross paths with the malicious witch Envy.

Where to watch it: here

The Emperor and the Golem (Císařův pekař – pekařův císař, 1951)

This 2-part historical fantasy has so much to offer, costumes designed by the legendary Jiří Trnka, a song written by Jan Werich who also stars in the two lead roles, other movie legends František Filipovský and Nataša Gollová, real historical figures like Tycho de Brahe and legend like the Golem…

The emperor Rudolf II is the patron of science and pseudoscience and there are many colorful characters on his court. The alchemists are trying to figure out the formula to convert things to gold. The goodhearted baker Matěj is thrown in jail but manages to escape and because he looks just like the emperor, he manages to swap places with him and he uses the Golem to bake bread for the poor.

The story is a movie adaptation of a theatre play written by Werich and Voskovec 20 years prior and with the songs by Jaroslav Ježek. Unfortunately, none of Ježek’s songs made it into the movie.

Another interesting fact is that although Czech movies of this period were mostly still black and white, the Emperor and the Golem was made in color because of its export potential. By the way, the Czech name of this movie translates as “Emperor’s Baker – Baker’s Emperor”.

Where to watch it: Amazon Prime Video

Stick, Stick, Start Beating! (Obušku, z pytle ven!, 1955)

Ladislav Pešek plays a poor musician who tries to support his family. He shares his last piece of bread with a man who, in return, gives him a magic napkin that serves any food desired. However, a greedy pub owner robs our hero. The mysterious man gives the musician a magic donkey that makes money fall from its fur but the naive musician gets tricked again. The man returns a third time and this time hands the musician a tool for punishing the pub owner.

Where to watch it: here

Dařbuján and Pandrhola (Dařbuján a Pandrhola, 1959)

czech fairy tales

Poor villager Dařbuján welcomes yet another child to his already numerous family and struggles to feed his children. He asks the wealthy brewmaster Pandrhola for help but only gets ridiculed. He seeks a godfather for his newborn child and refuses the God as well as the Devil because he considers them unjust towards the poor. He accepts the Death who makes him a miracle doctor who can cure almost anyone. When Pandrhola needs his help, Dařbuján makes him carry out some impossible tasks and then cures him by breaking the Death’s most important rule which, of course, has consequences…

Where to watch it: here

Arabela (1980)

Arabela is a 2-season fairy-tale series from the 1980s. An ordinary man finds a magic bell and one ring connects his world with the fairy-tale kingdom and launches a series of event that affects not only the life of his family but also the fate of many famous fairy-tales.

This very popular series with a very well elaborated plots stars famous actors like Vladimír Menšík, Stela Zázvorková, Jiří Sovák, Vladimír Dlouhý, Iva Janžurová and many more who are legends nowadays.

The Three Veterans (Tři veteráni, 1983)

This fairy-tale movie is based on a 1960 story by Jan Werich. Three was veterans receive gift from three magic dwarves. One of them falls in love with the malicious princess Bosana who robs the veterans of their gifts. Although they manage to get their things back and punish the princess but the dwarves appear again and want the magic objects back.

Princess Bosana is played by Vida Neuwirthová, a prominent figure of Czech Jewish community.

Where to watch it: here

Long Live Ghosts! (Ať žijí duchové!, 1977)

When a group of local children start repairing a castle ruin to make it their club house, they get unexpected help from the ghost of a knight and his daughter.

Where to watch it: here

The Incredibly Sad Princess (Šíleně smutná princezna, 1968)

czech fairy tales

The singer Václav Neckář plays a prince who refuses to get into an arranged marriage and during his venture, he meets the princess played by another singer, Helena Vondráčková. The prince ends up in jail and the princess, not knowing that the one she fell in love with is the prince she was promised to, pretends to be “incredibly sad” and says she’d marry the person who could make her laugh again. When the disguised prince makes her laugh, his true identity is revealed and the offended princes has him thrown back to jail and the kings of both kingdoms are preparing for war. However, the prince and the princess reconcile and the war is avoided. This is a musical movie.

Where to watch it: here

The Proud Princess (Pyšná princezna, 1952)

This is the second of the two black and white Czech fairy-tales. The proud princess Krasomila refuses to marry king Miroslav. He decides to travel to her kingdom dressed as a gardener. She falls in love with him and looses all her pride. However, the king’s evil advisors aren’t happy about this change in the princess and the couple has to flee…

Where to watch it: here

The Girl on the Broomstick (Dívka na koštěti, 1971)

czech fairy tales

When young witch Saxana get a 300-year-detention, she flees to the human world. The school principal sends an old vampire to recover her but Saxana is in no hurry to get back. In fact, she doesn’t want to get back at all and tries to find a special herbal tea that would help her become a human. On this quest, she falls in love with a human and lives many adventures.

Where to watch it: here

Lotrando and Zubejda (Lotrando a Zubejda, 1997)

In this original fairy-tale full of music by Jaroslav Uhlíř, we follow Lotrando, the son of the chief of thieves who attends school and didn’t inherit his father’s talent for robbing people. After his father makes him swear Lotrando wouldn’t ever work, the recently orphaned youngster tries to continue his family tradition with very little success. He and his new friend the lumberjack are recruited by advisors from a faraway country to cure their princess Zubejda. And so Lotrando must find a way to make the depressed princess happy again to save his life.

Where to watch it: here

How to Wake a Princess (Jak se budí princezny, 1977)

This is your traditional Sleeping Beauty story with just a little twist. The beautiful princess is cursed, moreover, she is promised to a prince she doesn’t want and loves his younger brother instead. The rest is history.

Where to watch it: here

The Little Mermaid (Malá mořská víla, 1976)

šafránková tales

It’s the tale you know, the youngest daughter of the king of seas falls in love with a prince and she gives up her voice in order to be with him. However, this fairy tale is special for two reasons. First, it’s very true to Hans Christian Andersen’s original and second, Libuše Šafránková plays a supporting princess role while it’s her younger sister Miroslava who was cast as lead character.

Where to watch it: here


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