Little Mermaid





Production year



12 November 1976


84 min






featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Malá mořská víla

Czech title

Malá mořská víla

English title

Little Mermaid


Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid (1836) has served as the inspiration for numerous films. However, the philosophy of contemporary narrative for children frequently clashes with the dark, tragic essence of the tale of the relationship between the daughter of a sea king and an earthbound prince, which does not have a happy ending. In that regard, screenwriter Ota Hofman and co-writer and director Karel Kachyňa decided to respect Andersen’s version. Nevertheless, the ending of their 1976 Malá mořská víla (The Little Mermaid) is slightly different to the original (in the film the unhappy mermaid turns into sea foam after being betrayed by her beloved prince, while in the Andersen she joins her sisters of the air and retains the hope of obtaining an immortal soul). The protagonist in the picture, which co-production with the Soviet Mosfilm lent a more cosmopolitan tone, is a mermaid who with the help of a witch decides to approach her beloved prince of the Southern Kingdom and become human, albeit mute. However, the prince falls victim to random confusion and chooses instead a princess from a neighbouring kingdom, who bears a resemblance to the heroine. The Little Mermaid has to accept her fate: she can only return home as sea foam… Kachyňa’s film is exceptional for its period not only due a gloomy tone at odds with the period optimism of movies for children and young people; it also has merit as a poetic, considerately stylised film that works inventively with the visual form of the underwater kingdom. Alongside the outstanding cinematographer Jaroslav Kučera legendary costume designer Ester Krumbachová made a huge contribution to the picture’s visual art qualities. Regarding casting, Miroslava Šafránková makes an impact as the sweet but resolute mermaid. Her rival from the neighbouring kingdom, who strongly resembles the heroine, was played by the actress’s sister Libuše. Radovan Lukavský impresses as the main character’s father the sea king.


Two daughters of the Sea King are playing in the depths of the sea – the little mermaid and her elder sister. The Sea King has just sunk a ship as a birthday gift to his elder daughter. The curious little mermaid is envious of her elder sister, who is now allowed to rise to the surface and see human beings and the outside world. The little mermaid must wait another year before she is allowed to do the same. One year later, the little mermaid is preparing for her birthday, singing a tune she has heard from a sorceress. The earth prince of the Southern Kingdom hears the melancholy tune while aboard his ship, which also has been picked out for sinking to serve as a present for the Sea King's youngest daughter. But the little mermaid falls in love with the prince and rescues him. She carries his unconscious body to the shore and gives him a goodbye kiss. She is then forced to hide when an alien princess comes by who then leans over the prince just as he opens his eyes, so that the prince mistakenly believes her to be his rescuer. The little mermaid cannot forget the prince. Her father warns her, saying that the prince has thoughts only for the other princess, but the little mermaid decides to change into a human being, even at the cost of losing her voice. She also agrees to endure pain at every step she makes. The earthly prince must marry into a fortune, because his country has been suffering one catastrophe after another. One day he finds the little mermaid, now a young girl, by the ocean shore. He takes her to his castle and they spend many pleasant hours together, even though the girl is dumb. His advisors, however, implore the prince to marry and he is compelled to go off to court a princess from another kingdom. To his surprise, the prince finds that the foreign princess is the girl he believes once came to his rescue. The prince marries her and the couple are happy together. Only the little mermaid's heart is breaking. What is more, she can now only return to the bottom of the ocean as the foam of the sea. Her single hope is to kill the prince, but the mermaid cannot bring herself to do that. She kisses the prince one last time and vanishes in the water. Her song is heard in the distance. The prince's search for the mysterious singer is to no avail. The ship, which is about to collide with a rock, is suddenly enveloped in a bed of flowers that bring the boat to a standstill just before it can hit the rock.

Film online


Miroslava Šafránková

malá mořská víla

Radovan Lukavský

král všech moří, otec šesti princezen

Petr Svojtka

princ Jižní říše

Milena Dvorská


Libuše Šafránková

princezna ze sousední říše

Jiří Ornest

princův pobočník

Dagmar Patrasová

první sestra malé víly

Jiřina Krejčíková

královna Modrého moře, čtvrtá sestra

Alexej Okuněv

král Ledového moře

Jaroslava Schallerová

královna Ledového moře, třetí sestra

Milan Hein

Dubbing Petr Skarke
král Žlutého moře

Jana Švandová

královna Žlutého moře, pátá sestra

Jan Vágner

princ Moře zapadajícího slunce, ženich malé mořské víly

Jiří Světlík

král Černého moře

Andrea Čunderlíková

královna Černého moře, druhá sestra

Petr Skarke

král Modrého moře

Petr Svoboda

princ Sargasového moře, ženich první sestry

Šizuka Išikava

orientální princezna

Dana Kubálková

evropská princezna

Venuše Samešová

černá princezna

Milena Steinmasslová

hispánská princezna

Jaroslav Heyduk

ceremoniář sousední říše

Vladimír Pospíšil

lodní kapitán

Hana Talpová

královna, princova matka

Josef Vondráček

starý rybář

Karel Anderle


Pavel Vlasák


Jiří Flíček

host na zlaté lodi

Miroslav Krejča

host na zlaté lodi

Pavel Robin

host na zlaté lodi

Milan Pěkný

host na zlaté lodi

Miloš Švarc

host na zlaté lodi

Jan Pohan

král sousední říše

Inka Čekanová

královna sousední říše

Jan Gottlieb

rybářův syn

Pavel Šmok


Bert Schneider

podmořský ceremoniář

Karel Engel

zkušený námořník

Zdeněk Srstka


Miroslav Jíra


Jaroslav Klenot


Jiří Klenot


Marta Richterová

dvorní dáma princovy matky

Vladimír Fürst


Klára Frydrychová

dítě krále Modrého moře

Peter Bamidele Jzirein

družina černé princezny

Joseph Ig Nigeria Eboreime

družina černé princezny

Pavel Rímský

družina krále Ledového moře

Jaroslav Sus

dubl za Petra Svojtku – potápění

Dana Staňková

dubl za Miroslavu Šafránkovou – potápění

Eva Chaloupková

dubl za Miroslavu Šafránkovou

Lucie Hněvkovská

dubl za Miroslavu Šafránkovou

Zdeněk Boubelík


Eva Boubelíková


Petr Novák (3)


Karel Schumpeter


členové tanečního kroužku Vysokoškolského uměleckého souboru

členové tanečního kroužku JKP Jičín


Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Milada Mikešová

Assistant Director

Jiří Světlík

Based on

Hans Christian Andersen (Malá mořská víla – pohádka)

Director of Photography

Jaroslav Kučera

Second Unit Photography

Pavel Nečesal

Camera Operator

Luděk Kopal

Production Designer

Oldřich Okáč

Assistent Production Designer

Václav Hlávka

Art Director

Ester Krumbachová

Set Designer

Vladimír Foukal, Zdeněk Jeřábek, Pavel Šťastný

Costume Designer

Šárka Hejnová

Film Editor

Miroslav Hájek

Assistant Film Editor

Magda Hájková

Sound Designer

Jiří Lenoch

Special Effects

Jaroslav Kučera, Vladimír Dvořák, Milan Nejedlý, Ludvík Malý

Special Effects

Jiří Berger (pyrotechnik), Roman Tudžaroff (pyrotechnik)

Production Manager

Karel Vejřík

Unit Production Manager

Milana Melcerová, Přemysl Pražský

Unit Production Manager

Viktor Schwarcz


Dana Průchová (klapka), Jaroslav Trousil (fotograf), František Michálek


Music Composed by

Zdeněk Liška

Music Performed by

FISYO (Music Conducted by František Belfín)


Pavel Šmok


Půlnoc tmavá

Songwriter Zdeněk Liška
Writer of Lyrics Josef Hanzlík
Singer Miroslava Šafránková [dab]Lenka Kořínková

První kámen bílý

Songwriter Zdeněk Liška
Writer of Lyrics Josef Hanzlík
Singer Miroslava Šafránková [dab]Lenka Kořínková

Production info

Original Title

Malá mořská víla

Czech Title

Malá mořská víla

English Title

Little Mermaid




featuretheatrical distribution



Origin country




Production Year



premiere 12 November 1976 /suitable for youths/



Creative Group

Dramaturgická skupina Oty Hofmana, Ota Hofman (vedoucí dramaturgické skupiny)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

84 min

Original length in metres

2 372 meters

Distribution carrier

16mm, 35mm

Aspect ratio






Sound system/format




Dialogue languages


Subtitles languages

without subtitles

Opening/End credits languages




Festival: 11. mezinárodní filmový festival Miami

Miami / United States of America


Festival: 2. mezinárodní filmový festival Káhira

Káhira / Egypt
Zdeněk Liška


Festival: 17. festival filmů pro děti Gottwaldov

Zlín / Czechoslovakia


Exhibition: 6. mezinárodní týden filmů o moři Cartagena

Cartagena / Spain
Čestný diplom


Festival: 15. mezinárodní festival filmů pro děti a mládež Gijón

Gijón / Spain


Festival: 15. festival českých a slovenských filmů Bratislava

Bratislava / Czechoslovakia
Jaroslav Kučera