Stream a new generation of feel-good Czech fairy tales this Christmas

The classics are well known, but contemporary tales on Netflix can create new traditions and memories. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 20.12.2022 13:00:00 (updated on 20.12.2022) Reading time: 4 minutes

The holiday season in Czechia is celebrated with fairy tales on TV and fried carp and potato salad on the table. While the classic films from the 1960s through the 1980s are currently hard to find with English subtitles on streaming services, several from 2000 onward can be found on Netflix and iTunes.

For older films, only a few are currently available on Netflix with English subtitles. Many of the most popular are currently missing in action. Three that are available – "The Feather Fairy," "King Thrushbeard," and "Salt Over Gold" – are actually Slovak productions.

The 1973 classic "Three Wishes for Cinderella" (Tři oříšky pro Popelku) is no longer on Netflix, but it can be found with English subtitles on iTunes. This film is not only a central part of Czech Christmas but is also popular in Germany and Norway. it was even remade in Norway last year.

Many classic Czechoslovak fairy tales can be found on other streaming services like Czech-based Voyo and DAFilms, but almost always these are without English subtitles so read the description carefully before renting them.

21st-century tales

Princess Cursed in Time (Princezna zakletá v čase) 2020. A princess wakes up on her 20th birthday and has to face up to the witch who cursed her or the realm will be destroyed by a dark storm. Along the way, the princess and her friends have to solve puzzles so they can obtain a scroll. The castle grounds in Sobotín, Točník, and Bouzov can be seen. A sequel was released in 2022. Currently on Netflix.

Enchanted Feather (Zakleté pírko) 2020. The most recent fairy tale from prolific fairy tale director Zdeněk Troška is inspired by Cinderella. A woman conjures a prince from a bird feather. The youngest of three sisters, Aninka has to put up with her bullying siblings. When she falls in love with the prince, they must work together to break a curse. Currently available on iTunes.

The Watchmaker's Apprentice (Hodinářův učeň) 2019. Before a watchmaker will let his apprentice marry his daughter, the apprentice must go on a long obstacle-filled search to find a special watch. But the watch might not even exist. Currently on Netflix.

The Magic Quill (Čertí brko) 2018. A quill is used to keep track of people’s sins in a series of ledgers. When a careless imp is tricked out of a new quill, all manner of complications ensue. A tailor who stole the quill uses it to his own advantage, while devils down below grow lazy since they can’t record new sins in the ledgers. Currently on Netflix.

Pure Deviltry (Čertoviny), 2017. Director Zdeněk Troška presents this original tale of two inept devils who get sent up to earth to capture souls, but once there they lose track of their mission and start to do good. Locations include the castle park in Dobříš and the fortress at Drslavice. Currently on Netflix.

Crazy Kingdom (Řachanda) 2016. A spoiled princess and two friends accidentally find themselves in a wilderness filled with creatures and ruled by the Lady of the Forest, where they learn that what you give comes back to you. Partly filmed at Dětenice chateau. Currently on Netflix.

The Loveliest Riddle. Photo: Netflix.
The Loveliest Riddle. Photo: Netflix.

The Loveliest Riddle (Nejkrásnější hádanka) 2008. A farmer's helper is in love with the boss's daughter. But the boss is not impressed and runs him off. The helper then solves some riddles to win the hand of a local princess, but someone else is in love with the princess too. Will it all get straightened out in time? Find out in this fairy tale from Zdeněk Troška. Currently on Netflix.

Watermill Princess 2 (Princezna ze mlejna 2) 2000. This sequel finds an imp and a water goblin protecting the beautiful and now-married princess from the designs of the evil Jindřich. Currently on Netflix. Zdeněk Troška directed both this and the 1994 original, which can be found on Youtube.

Classics from the golden age of fairy tales

The Feather Fairy (Perinbaba) 1985. Slovak director Juraj Jakubisko made this adaptation of the Brothers Grimm tale "Mother Hulda." An immortal woman who is the spirit of winter cares for a boy who isn't afraid of death. Italian actress Giulietta Masina is one of the movie’s stars. Currently on Netflix.

King Thrushbeard. Photo: Netflix.
King Thrushbeard. Photo: Netflix.

King Thrushbeard (Král Drozdí brada) 1984. The adaptation of the Brothers Grimm fairy-tale "Red Beard" has music by Jiří Stivín. A vain princess rejects all of her suitors until the king forces her to marry a beggar. Currently on Netflix.

Salt Over Gold (Sol nad zlato) 1983. This Slovak tale, based on a novel by Pavol Dobšinský, teaches people that salt is necessary for life, and thus is more precious than gold and emeralds. Libuše Šafránková of "Three Wishes for Cinderella" stars in this film as well. The king wants to pass his kingdom to one of his daughters and is offended when one of the daughters says she loves the king more than salt. Currently on Netflix.

Three Wishes for Cinderella (Tři oříšky pro Popelku) 1973. Adapted from a Božena Němcová story and directed by Václav Vorlíček, this is a classic version of the Cinderella tale. Set in a wintry forest, it has a memorable score by Karel Svoboda and the late Karel Gott’s stirring rendition of “Kdepak ty ptáčku hnízdo máš.” Currently available on iTunes.

Tři oříšky pro Popelku / Three Nuts for Cinderella is a beloved Czech Christmas fairy tale.
Three Nuts for Cinderella (Tři oříšky pro Popelku). Photo: NFA.

Princess Goldilocks (Zlatovláska) 1973. A king sends a disobedient servant to find a bride for his king, and the bride is the beautiful Princess Goldilocks. The film, based on a story by Karel Jaromír Erben, has scenes set in the Červená Lhota and Sychrov castles. It can be found on YouTube with English subtitles.

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