Alice Through the Looking Lens: 8 On-Screen Wonderland Adaptations We Love

    Join us as we venture down that legendary rabbit hole, again and again.

    We all fell in love with Alice in Wonderland for its whimsy, its surreal charm, and—let’s be honest—its anthropomorphic critters (chortling Cheshire cat, anyone?). While those feelings don’t go away once you become a—dare we say—well-functioning adult, we now love Lewis Carroll’s timeless classic for a very different reason: It’s the perfect mix of nostalgia and fever dream—a chance to slip away from reality, if only for a far too brief moment.

    This nostalgia might be why so many creators can’t get enough of Carroll’s metafiction. Even more than 150 years after the original publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the mythos of the madness continues to find its way into shows, movies, plays, and beyond. With Alice Through the Looking Glass—Tim Burton’s sequel to his 2010 adaptation—releasing soon, there’s no better time to take our own look back through the glass. These are our favorite on-screen riffs on the classic.

    alice in wonderland adaptations

    Harry Harris's Alice in Wonderland (1985)

    This miniseries takes us back to a time when two-part television events were actual events. You know, family affairs in front of the tube. And, hey, a sing-along starring Carol Channing, Shelley Winters, and Scott Baio? That's an affair to remember.

    Buy it on Amazon.

    Photo: Courtesy of CBS
    alice in wonderland adaptations

    Disney's Alice in Wonderland (1951)

    Though upon release it was widely considered an Americanized bastardization of Carroll's very Victorian narrative, today it's heralded as one of the best films to come out of Walt's vault. Alice with her blonde hair and blue dress is probably the most widely recognized version of the tale.

    Stream it on Amazon, Google Play, and iTunes.

    Photo: Courtesy of Walt Disney Productions
    alice in wonderland adaptations

    Jonathan Miller's Alice in Wonderland (1966)

    The one can be filed under the NSFW-or kids-tab. Miller's TV take is more interested in social satire and men in drag than solving the mad hatter's impossible riddle of why a raven is like a writing desk.

    Buy it on Amazon.

    Photo: Courtesy of BBC
    alice in wonderland adaptations

    Jan Svankmajer's Alice (1988)

    It's Czech title is Neco z Alenky, which according to the everyman's encyclopedia means "Something from Alice." Well, that "something" is a creepy stop-motion animation/live-action mash-up of the amoral obsessions of a Czech animator and the innocent oddities of a Victorian author. It's both weird and awesome.

    Buy it on Amazon.

    Photo: Courtesy of First Run Features
    alice in wonderland adaptations

    Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010)

    Burton's no slouch when it comes to dreaming up alternate realities and visually stunning the pants off moviegoers. Carroll's emporium of wonders is the perfect cauldron from which Burton can draw inspo. This version features a star-studded cast, and well ... those costumes.

    Stream it on Amazon, Google Play, and iTunes.

    Photo: Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures
    alice in wonderland adaptations

    John Henderson's Alice Through the Looking Glass (1988)

    This one stars a pre-Underworld Kate Beckinsale as Alice and a gooey mirror as her portal to the enchanting world known as Chessland. Many consider Henderson's fantasy to be the best adaptation of Carroll's written sequel. Leave it to the British to get it right.

    Stream it on Amazon.

    Photo: Courtesy of IAC Film
    alice in wonderland adaptations

    Raymond Jafelice's The Care Bears Adventure in Wonderland (1987)

    We know, we know. But remember that whole bit about nostalgia? Nothing gives you all the feels like a bunch of cuddle bears whose weapon of choice is a big fat hug. Plus, the mad hatter's lyrical ode to headwear is one for the books.

    Buy it on Amazon.

    Photo: Courtesy of Cineplex-Odeon Films
    alice in wonderland adaptations

    William Sterling's Alice's Adventure in Wonderland (1972)

    Who needs CGI when you have Peter Sellers and Dudley Moore in full-on furry costumes? The only one on this list to keep Carroll's original title, this British romp doesn't apologize for its dated production. And we love it all the more because of that.

    Stream it on Amazon, Google Play, and iTunes.

    Photo: Courtesy of American National Enterprises

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