Although Mark Twain never lived to see any of his works produced as a movie, many have been. The most popular Mark Twain films are The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. There are conflicting dates regarding the release of some of the Mark Twain films, because some were made by small production companies whose releases were never made public.
Research indicates that the first Mark Twain film of Tom Sawyer, was released around 1920. It was a silent film produced by Oliver Morosco Photoplay Company and distributed by Paramount Pictures Corporation and Famous Players Lasky Corporation. The film was directed by William D. Taylor and starred Jack Pickford as Tom Sawyer, with Robert Gordon as Huck Finn, Antrim Short as Joe Harper, and Clara Horton as Becky Thatcher. The first "talkie" version of Tom Sawyer was released in 1930.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn also appeared as a silent film in 1920, produced and distributed by Famous Players-Lasky Corporation with permission of the Mark Twain Company. This movie was also directed by William D. Taylor and starred Lewis Sargent as Huck Finn, Gordon Griffith as Tom Sawyer, George Reed as Jim and Thelma Salter as Becky Thatcher. In 1931, Paramount released a talking version of this Mark Twain movie.
Another popular Mark Twain novel appeared repeatedly in film form. In 1909, a silent version of The Prince and the Pauper was made by the Edison Manufacturing Company, which was owned by Thomas Edison, but little information exists regarding this film. In 1915, the Famous Players Film Company released another silent version which was distributed by Paramount Pictures. In 1937, Warner Brothers released the first talking version in which Errol Flynn starred as Miles Hendon.
Many interesting Mark Twain films have surfaced over the years since his death, some of which are unconventional releases. For instance, in 1998, Sony Pictures Classics in conjunction with Odgen Entertainment released Mark Twain's America in 3-D, which craftily starred Mark Twain as himself. The feat was accomplished by using 19th Century photography with modern-day scenes.
Because Mark Twain movies and films are re-released in varying forms and formats, it is difficult to determine exactly how many productions of his works exist, but some estimates are as high as one-hundred fifty releases. Too, some movies are written based on a work by Mark Twain, but do not include the name of that work in the title, making it difficult to determine a connection except in similarities of plot. A partial list of them includes:
- The Adventures of Huck Finn (1993 film)
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1939 film)
- The Adventures of Mark Twain (1985 film)
- Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper
- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1921 film)
- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1949 film)
- A Connecticut Yankee (film)
- Crossed Swords (film)
- A Curious Dream
- Hopelessly Lost
- Huck and Tom
- Huckleberry Finn (1974 film)
- A Kid in King Arthur's Court
- A Knight in Camelot
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (film)
- A Modern Twain Story: The Prince and the Pauper
- New Adventures of a Yankee in King Arthur's Court
- The One Million Pound Note
- The Prince and the Pauper (1920 film)
- The Prince and the Pauper (1990 film)
- Raja Aur Runk (Indian Adaptation of The Prince and the Pauper)
- Tom and Huck
- Tom Sawyer (possibly a 1907 film - unverified)
- Tom Sawyer (1973 film)
- Tom Sawyer (2000 film)
- Unidentified Flying Oddball
Today, Mark Twain movies and films are available for purchase through many outlets, both online and in retail stores. They are also available is all the standard formats, such as videotape, DVD and film. A great source for older versions of Mark Twain films is Turner Classic Studios.