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The BFG

The BFG (short for "Big Friendly Giant") is a 1982


children's book written by British novelist Roald Dahl
and illustrated by Quentin Blake. It is an expansion of a
short story from Dahl's 1975 book Danny, the
Champion of the World. The book is dedicated to Dahl's
late daughter, Olivia, who died of measles encephalitis
at the age of seven in 1962.[1] As of 2009, the novel has
sold 37 million copies in UK editions alone.[2]
An animated television adaptation was released in 1989
with David Jason providing the voice of the BFG and
Amanda Root as the voice of Sophie. It has also been
adapted as a theatre performance.[3] A theatrical liveaction adaptation directed by Steven Spielberg was
released in 2016.
Plot
The story is about a young orphaned girl named Sophie,
living in a girl's orphanage run by the cantankerous and
abusive Mrs. Clonkers. One night, Sophie sees a large,
cloaked person blowing something via a trumpet-like
object into a bedroom window down the street. She is
discovered by the mysterious person, who carries her to

his homeland of Giant Country.


There, he identifies himself as the Big Friendly Giant
('BFG'), who nightly blows bottled dreams into the
bedrooms of children, and explains the other type of
giants that eat humans, mostly children. Because the
BFG refuses to eat people or steal food from humans, he
subsists on a foul-tasting vegetable known as a
snozzcumber.It's like a cucumber with black strips.
Sophie and the BFG quickly become friends; but Sophie
is soon put in danger by the sudden arrival of the
Bloodbottler Giant, who suspects the BFG of harboring
Sophie. Sophie hides in the snozzcumber, unknown to
the BFG, and the BFG offers the snozzcumber to the
Bloodbottler, hoping that its foul taste will repel him
from the area; whereupon the Bloodbottler spits out the
snozzcumber and Sophie, and leaves in disgust. When
Sophie announces she is thirsty, the BFG treats her to a
fizzy drink called frobscottle, which causes noisy
flatulence because of the bubbles sinking downwards.
The BFG calls this "Whizpopping". The next morning,
the BFG takes Sophie to Dream Country to catch more
dreams, but is tormented by the other giants along the
way; notably by their leader, the Fleshlumpeater, the
largest and most fearsome.

In Dream Country, the BFG demonstrates his dreamcatching skills to Sophie; but the BFG mistakenly
captures a nightmare, and uses it to start a fight among
the other giants when Fleshlumpeater has a nightmare
about Jack. Sophie later persuades him to approach the
Queen of England toward imprisoning the other giants.
To this end, she uses her knowledge of London to
navigate the BFG to Buckingham Palace, and the BFG
creates a nightmare, introducing knowledge of the maneating giants to the Queen, and leaves Sophie in the
Queen's bedroom to confirm it. Because the dream
included the knowledge of Sophie's presence, the Queen
believes her and speaks with the BFG.
After considerable effort by the palace staff to create a
table, chair, and cutlery of appropriate size, the BFG is
given a delicious breakfast, and the Queen telephones
the King of Sweden and the Sultan of Baghdad to
confirm the BFG's story the giants having visited
those locations on the previous two nights then
summons the Head of the British Army and the Marshal
of the Royal Air Force. The said officers, though
initially belligerent and skeptical, eventually agree to
cooperate.

A fleet of helicopters then follows Sophie and the BFG


to the giants' homeland, where the giants are tied up as
they sleep, suspended under the helicopters, and carried
back to London, where they are imprisoned in a pit. The
only one not easily caught is the Fleshlumpeater, who
wakes up as the British attempt to tie him up, but Sophie
and the BFG trick him into allowing his own capture by
claiming that he has been poisoned by a venomous
snake so that he will put his hands and feet together to
be tied up. The man-eating giants are then imprisoned in
a deep pit where they are only fed snozzcumbers.
Afterwards, a huge castle is built as the BFG's new
house, with a little cottage next door for Sophie. While
they are living happily in England, with several gifts
coming in for many years from the governments of
every country ever targeted by the giants (notably
England, Sweden, Iraq, Arabia, India, Panama, Tibet,
the United States, Chile, Jersey and New Zealand), the
BFG writes a book of their adventures, which is then
identified as the novel itself.
Characters
Sophie: The imaginative and kind-hearted protagonist
of the story who becomes a brave international heroine.
Portrayed by Amanda Root in the 1989 film, and Ruby

Barnhill in the 2016 film.


The BFG: A friendly, benevolent, gentle, sweet 24foot-tall giant who has superhuman hearing abilities and
immense speed. His primary occupation is the collection
and distribution of good dreams to children. He also
appears in another novel, Danny, the Champion of the
World, in which he is introduced as a folkloric character.
His name is an initialism of 'Big Friendly Giant.'
**Portrayed by David Jason in the 1989 film and Mark
Rylance in the 2016 film.
The Queen of England: The English monarch. Firm,
bold, and ladylike she plays an important role in helping
Sophie and the BFG. Portrayed by Angela Thorne in the
1989 film and by Penelope Wilton in the 2016 film.
Mary: The Queen's maid. Portrayed by Mollie
Sugden in the 1989 film and by Rebecca Hall in the
2016 film.
Mr. Tibbs: The Queen's butler. Portrayed by Frank
Thornton in the 1989 film and by Rafe Spall in the 2016
film.
Mrs. Clonkers: The unseen director of the orphanage
in which Sophie lives at the start of the novel; described
as cruel to her charges. Portrayed by Myfanwy Talog in
the 1989 film and by Marilyn Norry in the 2016 film,.
The Heads of the Army and the Air-force: Two
bombastic officers answering to the Queen. Portrayed

by Michael Knowles & Ballard Berkeley in the 1989


film and by Chris Shields & Matt Frewer in the 2016
film.
Nine Man-Eating Giants: Each one is about 50-feettall and proportionately broad and powerful. According
to the BFG about the flavors of the humans that the
man-eating giants dine on, the Turkish tasting like
turkey, the Greeks are too greasy, people from Panama
taste like hats, the Welsh taste fishy, the people from
Jersey taste like cardigans, and the Danes taste like
dogs.
The Fleshlumpeater: The leader of the nine maneating giants and the most horrible of the bunch.
Portrayed by Don Henderson in the 1989 film and by
Jemaine Clement in the 2016 film.
The Bloodbottler: Second in command to the
Fleshlumpeater who has a fondness for the taste of
human blood. Portrayed by Don Henderson in the 1989
film and by Bill Hader in the 2016 film.
The Manhugger: One of the nine man-eating
giants. Portrayed by Adam Godley in the 2016 film.
The Meatdripper: One of the nine man-eating
giants. He pretends to be a tree in a park so that he can
pick off the humans that go under him. Portrayed by
Paul Moniz de Sa in the 2016 film.
The Childchewer: One of the nine man-eating

giants. Portrayed by Jonathan Holmes in the 2016 film.


The Butcher Boy: One of the nine man-eating
giants. Portrayed by Michael Adamthwaite in the 2016
film.
The Maidmasher: One of the nine man-eating
giants. Portrayed by lafur lafsson in the 2016 film.
The Bonecruncher: One of the nine man-eating
giants who is known for crunching up two humans for
dinner every night. He enjoys eating people from
Turkey making him the picky eater of the bunch.
Portrayed by Daniel Bacon in the 2016 film.
The Gizzardgulper: One of the nine man-eating
giants. He lies above the rooftops of the cities to grab
people walking down the streets. Portrayed by Chris
Gibbs in the 2016 film.
References in Other Roald Dahl Books
The ending is almost the same as James and the Giant
Peach, when he writes a story by himself, about himself.
The two books end exactly the same way. Also Mr.
Tibbs also relates to Mrs. Tibbs, the friend of Mr.
Greengrass, the U.S president in Charlie and the Great
Glass Elevator.
Awards and recognition

The BFG has won numerous awards including the 1985


Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis as the year's best
children's book, in its German translation Sophiechen
und der Riese[4] and the 1991 Read Alone and Read
Aloud BILBY Awards.[5]
In 2003 it was ranked number 56 in The Big Read, a
two-stage survey of the British public by the BBC to
determine the "Nation's Best-loved Novel".[6]
The U.S. National Education Association listed The
BFG among the "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children"
based on a 2007 online poll.[7]
In 2012 it was ranked number 88 among all-time
children's novels in a survey published by School
Library Journal, a monthly with primarily U.S.
audience. It was the fourth of four books by Dahl
among the Top 100, more than any other writer.[8]

The BFG (2016 film)


The BFG is a 2016 American/British fantasy adventure
film directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg,
written by Melissa Mathison and based on the 1982
novel of the same name by Roald Dahl. The film stars
Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton,
Jemaine Clement, Rebecca Hall, Rafe Spall and Bill
Hader. In the film, an orphan human girl befriends a
benevolent giant, dubbed the "Big Friendly Giant", who
takes her to Giant Country, where they attempt to stop
the man-eating giants that are invading the human
world.
Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall began
development on a live-action adaptation of The BFG
back in the 1990s, and various screenwriters were hired
to work on the screenplay in the subsequent years.
DreamWorks acquired the screen rights to Dahl's book
in September 2011, and Marshall and Sam Mercer
joined as producers, Mathison as screenwriter, and
Kennedy as executive producer. Spielberg was
announced as director in April 2014, alongside his
production company Amblin Entertainment as coproducer. Principal photography commenced in March
2015, marking Spielberg's first directorial film for Walt

Disney Pictures.[4]
The BFG premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May
14, 2016, and held its North American debut at the El
Capitan Theater on June 21, 2016.[5] The film was
released in the United States in Disney Digital 3-D,
RealD 3D, IMAX 3D,[6] and conventional theatrical
formats on July 1, 2016, the same year of Dahl's
centennial. The film is dedicated to the memory of
Mathison, who died nearly eight months before its
release. The film received generally positive reviews
from critics, though the film was a box office
disappointment according to analysts, with a worldwide
gross of $178 million on a $140 million budget.[7][8][9]
[10]
Plot
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Sophie, a ten year old orphaned girl who lives in a
London orphanage stays awake reading through the

nights due to her insomnia. At 3:00 AM, or what she


calls the "witching hour", she sees an elderly giant
outside her window. The giant captures her and takes
her into Giant Country. There, he explains that he
named himself the "Big Friendly Giant" or the "BFG"
for short and that Sophie must stay with him for the rest
of her life because she saw him and must not be allowed
to reveal the existence of giants. After learning that she
has insomnia and that she doesn't believe he can control
dreams, he manages to read her to sleep and gives her a
nightmare about failing to escape and being eaten by
another giant.
When Sophie awakes, the Fleshlumpeater, the infantile
leader of the man-eating giants, enters the BFG's home
and smells Sophie. The Fleshlumpeater nearly devours
Sophie before exiting the BFG's home. The BFG gives
Sophie some replacement clothes, as hers are ruined,
and Sophie convinces the BFG to take her to Dream
Country to catch dreams together. As they leave, they
accidentally wake up the Bloodbottler, who alerts the
other man-eating giants of the BFG's presence. They
torment and bully the BFG. As the pair escape during a
thunderstorm which drives the man-eating giants into
the cave, Sophie tells the BFG that he shouldn't allow
the other giants to bully him. Meanwhile, the

Fleshlumpeater and the Bloodbottler find Sophie's


blanket (which she had dropped before) and set out to
look for her.
The pair arrives in Dream Country and catch a dream
each. The two then head to London to spread good
dreams to sleeping children. As they do so, Sophie
realizes that she has lost her blanket. The BFG realizes
that the other man-eating giants know about her, and she
wakes up outside the orphanage. He explains that the
last human child he took and raised was discovered and
eaten by the other giants. She throws herself out of her
window in the hope he will appear again to catch her,
and he does. When they return to the BFG's home, the
other giants barge in and upend the place looking for
Sophie, destroying much of the BFG's hard work.
Sophie evades detection and the enraged BFG finally
stands up to them and drives them off with a hot fire
iron while using water on Fleshlumpeater.
While hidden, Sophie finds the home of the last human
to live with the BFG before becoming a victim of
Fleshlumpeater's group. She leaves his jacket on his bed
and finds a portrait of Queen Victoria amongst his
belongings. From this she devises a plan to forge a
nightmare and give it to Elizabeth II, the Queen of the

United Kingdom. The nightmare consists of giants


eating the children of England, the British Army
fighting the giants, and Sophie appearing on her
windowsill. They head to Buckingham Palace where
upon waking from her nightmare, the Queen finds
Sophie on the windowsill, as in the nightmare and the
BFG outside in the palace grounds. Prior to the Queen
spotting Sophie, her servant Mary, on hearing about the
nightmare the Queen has just had, shows her a
newspaper detailing a story about unexplained
disappearances of a number of children. Sophie and the
BFG inform the Queen and her servants Mary and Mr.
Tibbs that the child-eating beasts in her dream are
indeed real and must be stopped at all costs before they
cause any more harm to her subjects. After a large
breakfast they all enjoy, The Queen soon dispatches
soldiers to Giant Country.
The BFG plans to give the man-eating giants the
nightmare Sophie caught the night before, so they will
be more compliant once caught. They are almost all
immediately consumed by guilt, but the Fleshlumpeater
awakens and intercepts the dream before it can affect
him. Despite this, the army's helicopters effortlessly
ensnare and capture him and the other giants. They are
lifted away onto an isolated uncharted island where

numerous crates of snozzcumber seeds are left with


them, much to their fury.
In the aftermath, Sophie begins living in the Queen's
palace upon Mary adopting her while the BFG returns
to Giant Country, where he begins growing a wide
variety of vegetables inspired by his time in England.
He still delivers dreams. The film ends with Sophie
narrating that whenever she feels lonely, which is less
often than before, she talks to him; he can still hear her.
Leaning out of her window, she whispers "Good
Morning, BFG". At his writing desk, the BFG hears her
words and smiles.
Cast
Mark Rylance as the BFG, a 24 ft. (7.3 m) elderly
benevolent giant whose name is short for the "Big
Friendly Giant". He is called "Runt" by the other giants.
[11]
Ruby Barnhill as Sophie, an orphan who befriends
the BFG.[12]
Penelope Wilton as Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen of
the United Kingdom.[13]
Jemaine Clement as the Fleshlumpeater, a 54 ft. (16.4
m) giant who is the de facto leader of the man-eating
giants.[13]

Rebecca Hall as Mary, the Queen's maid.[13]


Rafe Spall as Mr. Tibbs, the Queen's butler.[14]
Bill Hader as the Bloodbottler, a 43 ft. man-eating
giant who is the Fleshlumpeater's advisor.[15]
Michael Adamthwaite as the Butcher Boy, a chubby
and immature man-eating giant who wears clothes made
from circus tents and is known for collecting cars.[13]
Daniel Bacon as the Bonecruncher, a dark-skinned,
bald-headed man-eating giant.[13]
Chris Gibbs as the Gizzardgulper, a burly, bearded,
39 ft. (11.8 m) man-eating giant who wears a helmet.
[13]
Adam Godley as the Manhugger, a very tall and slim
man-eating giant that wears a vest and shorts.[13]
Paul Moniz de Sa as the Meatdripper, a man-eating
giant.[13]
Jonathan Holmes as the Childchewer, a man-eating
giant who is Meatdripper's best friend.[13]
lafur Darri lafsson as the Maidmasher, a smallheaded man-eating giant.[13]
Marilyn Norry as Mrs. Clonkers, the head of the
orphanage where Sophie was living.
Chris Shields, Matt Frewer, and Geoffrey Wade as the
Queen's Generals
Adamthwaite, Bacon, Gibbs, Godley, Holmes, Moniz de

Sa, and lafsson also make cameos as minor London


characters. Williams Samples and Ruby Barnhill's father
Paul Barnhill make cameos as palace staff members.
Production
Development
Producers Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy began
development on a live-action adaptation of The BFG in
1991, and set the project up at Paramount Pictures.[16]
Husband and wife screenwriters Robin Swicord and
Nicholas Kazan wrote a screenplay adaptation in 1998,
with Robin Williams in negotiations for the title role.
[17][18][19] Williams attended a read-through, which
according to Michael Siegel was "surprisingly
disappointing".[20] Williams' trademark improvisational
style clashed with the BFG's unique language.[20]
Siegel elaborates, "He was sort of improvising on the
jumbled language. And it was clunky. It was strangely
not working. It was harder than it looks even for Robin.
It didn't quite deliver."[20] By 2001, the script had been
rewritten by Gwyn Lurie, and was greeted with positive
feedback from the Dahl estate.[21] Terry Jones and Ed
Solomon also attempted screenplay drafts.[20] While
the screenplay lingered in development hell, Paramount
subsequently lost the film rights and they reverted to the
Dahl estate.[20]