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Give a bad boy enough rope and he'll soon make a jackass of himself!
―The Coachman[src]

The Coachman is the third antagonist of Disney's 1940 animated feature film, Pinocchio. He is a sinister figure who is notorious for luring "stupid little boys" to Pleasure Island, where they are transformed into donkeys and sold on the black market.



The Coachman is malevolent, sinister, and dangerous, with absolutely no redeeming qualities, and is rather infamous for his wicked actions, greed and his pleasure in destroying children's lives. However, he could also be considered to be somewhat moralistic in his own dark and twisted way, as he teaches the boys he takes from the towns he visits a pricey lesson for prolonged misbehavior. He does not appear to be a kidnapper nor force the boys to accompany him to Pleasure Island and instead prefers to entice them to go there on their own accord, thus sealing their own fate. He also allows rumors of the "wonders" of his island to be spread to the public and thus entice troublesome boys, like Lampwick, into the trap; exemplifying his devious cunning.

The Coachman seems to specifically target disobedient, selfish boys who wish to indulge in trouble for pure enjoyment, probably because, as evidenced by calling them "stupid", he views those types of boys as especially gullible and easily tempted. He obviously enjoys taking advantage of them for that, with no care whatsoever for the disproportionate amount of suffering he inflicts on them for their actions.

Compared to Stromboli, the Coachman appears to be slightly less greedy and actually compensates those who aid him in his wicked plans well, as he offered a substantial amount of gold to Honest John and Gideon for bringing him troublesome boys to take to the island, which far exceeds what Stromboli gave them for Pinocchio. However, this is not out of generosity, but more because he can afford to, as well as to convince them to work for him instead. He is also not above intimidating those whom he hires to do his bidding, as seen by him frightening both Honest John and Gideon with his demonic face and warning them not to double cross him.

Like most Disney Villains, the Coachman is incredibly sadistic, enjoying other people's pain and is also very cruel, whipping his goons and selling young boys that come to his island into slavery so that he can make money off of them and shows no concern for the cruel life (and eventual death) that awaits them in slavery. The Coachman completely ignores their pain and despair and justifies his actions by claiming their slavery is payment for their ill behavior displayed on Pleasure Island. However, it is clear that attaining wealth is his primary motive, as he transformed the boys into donkeys specifically to end up in hard labor at circuses, salt mines, or possibly other places that buy donkeys.



The Coachman is first seen sitting at a table in the bar of The Red Lobster Inn with Honest John and Gideon. He puffs quietly on his pipe, listening quietly and intently as John proudly recalls selling Pinocchio to Stromboli, a greedy puppeteer. The fox then produces a very small bag of gold coins - Stromboli's payment - as proof of his "success" and inquires about the Coachman's business. The Coachman gets the attention of the two when he places a huge bag of gold coins, promising them "some real money" if they help him. He tells the fox and cat that he is collecting "stupid little boys" to be taken to Pleasure Island. John is frightened at the mention of Pleasure Island, noting that it has issues with "the law,", but the Coachman reassure that they won't get caught since the boys "never come back...as...boys," and when he maniacally laughs about his wicked business, John and Gideon jump in fear. The Coachman tells the two swindlers to meet him with any "good prospects" they find at the crossroads of the village, where he will be waiting with his stagecoach, which is pulled by six donkeys; he promises to pay them well, but also warns them not to double-cross him. Pinocchio (who has just escaped Stromboli) is among the boys that John and Gideon take to the Coachman. Jiminy Cricket stows away aboard the coach, unnoticed either by the Coachman or his passengers. At the time, Jiminy is not fully aware of the dangers of Pleasure Island, though it appears he is concerned about Pinocchio's safety and fears that there is trouble ahead.

The Coachman takes the coachload of boys, including Pinocchio and Lampwick, to a ferry bound for Pleasure Island, a naughty boys' paradise, where the boys are free to run riot without fear of reprimand from parents, teachers, pastors, or other adults of authority, until they turn into donkeys for the Coachman to sell into slavery. When the boys aren't paying attention, the Coachman whips his goons, ordering them to shut the gates and prepare the crates before laughing and saying, "Give a bad boy enough rope and he'll soon make a jackass of himself." Later that night, Jiminy finds the Coachman's minions loading crates of donkeys onto boats. The Coachman examines every donkey, first checking that it can no longer talk by asking its name, then, if the response is a bray, ripping off the creature's remaining clothes before throwing the animals into crates for his minions to put on the ship. One donkey, Alexander, can still talk, and cries to be allowed to go home. The Coachman throws Alexander into a pen of donkeys that likewise can still talk; these donkeys are presumably kept by the Coachman to pull his stagecoach and/or keep them from exposing his crimes. Alexander and the other talking boys continue to beg for their freedom and become human again, but the Coachman instantly silences them with a loud crack of his whip, loudly barking at them to be quiet before reminding them that they were already allowed to have all the fun they desired on the island and must now pay the price for it and their behavior.

At this point, Jiminy realizes the fate of Pleasure Island's visitors and rushes to warn Pinocchio. Though Lampwick is completely transformed into a donkey and rapidly lost his humanity, Pinocchio, despite growing donkey ears and a tail, manages to escape the island down a small rocky path with Jiminy's help before the Coachman and his minions could spot him escaping. After that, the Coachman is not seen again throughout the rest of the film, though it can be assumed he captured the transformed Lampwick at some point later and profiteered greatly from the haul of boys-turned-donkeys to be sold into slavery.

Other appearances

The Coachman appears in the episode "Mickey vs. Shelby" of the series House of Mouse, sitting with Honest John and Gideon.

Live-action appearances


The Ringmaster in Geppetto.

The Coachman appears in this live action spin-off. In this iteration, however he is called The Ringleader and is much younger, agile and slightly less menacing, yet nonetheless dangerous, being portrayed by Usher. He and his henchmen charm and encourage the boys into acting like "Jackasses", using his songs and showmanship to mesmerize and coax them onto the rollercoaster, which is stated as the factor that turns boys into donkeys.

Pinocchio (2022 film)

The Coachman in the live-action remake.

The Coachman will appear in the live-action remake of the original film. Here, he will be portrayed by Luke Evans, who previously portrayed Gaston in the live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.

Printed media

Descendants: Isle of the Lost Rush

20 years ago, his days of turning boys into donkeys were over. He was imprisoned in the Isle of Lost, where was put to work as an actual coachman. He drives a coach pulled by actual donkeys. One part of his punishment was that he was made to track down all the children he transformed into donkeys.

Disney Parks

Disneyland Resort

The Coachman appears in Pinocchio's Daring Journey and its Pleasure Island scenes. At one point, he tries to trap the riders in a giant crate to keep them from escaping.

He was also once a walk-around character, but has since been retired. He appeared in the 1971 rendition of Fantasy On Parade, heading the coach that carried “stupid little boys” bent for Pleasure Island. The float was part of the parade’s Pinocchio unit. Later versions of the parade would replace the Coachman with Stromboli.


The Disney Wiki has a collection of images and media related to The Coachman.


  • Charles Judels, the voice of the Coachman, also did the voice of Stromboli.
  • The Coachman did get his comeuppance in the Genesis and SNES Pinocchio video game, where Pinocchio kicks him down a cliff.
  • In an Italian crossover comic story, first published in Topolino "libretto" #1883, Mickey Mouse was washed on the shores of Pleasure Island after a storm. The amusement park had fallen into disrepair, and Mickey noted that it seemed to have been abandoned for a long time. This might hint that the Coachman did, indeed, meet his demise at some point, which is further supported by his not appearing amongst the many Disney villains who meet up earlier in the story.
  • The Coachman is one of the darkest Disney villains and might not be even human. Some possible hints at this being the demonic face he makes when revealing his plan, his shadowy minions who may not be human either and the fact that he has four fingers on each hand while every other human characters in the film has five. The Coachman could very well be a demon in disguise or at least has access to magic since he is clearly responsible for the transformation of all the boys who went to Pleasure Island.
    • In an annotated English edition of the original novel, the Coachman has been compared to Mephistopheles, the demon prince in the classic tale of Dr. Faustus. His boy victims, like Faustus, in effect sell their souls to the Coachman for a life of unlicensed pleasure and, like the devil, the Coachman is there at the end to foreclose the deal.
    • Also the sadistic image of the Coachman makes a nod to the monstrous ogre called The Green Fisherman from the book The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi.
    • In the original story, the donkey transformation is actually caused by a disease that affects people who never study (in Italian culture, the donkey is symbolic of ignorance, stupidity and goofiness) and take roughly five months. The Coachman has become a millionaire by selling children for the donkey trade.
  • The Coachman may be the only English character in Pinocchio, speaking in a Cockney accent.
  • In the original Italian story of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, the Coachman was usually referred to as "The Little Buttery Man" ("L'Omino di Burro"), and he actually drove a large wagon instead of a coach. He was also described as a fat little man who resembled a walking butterball (hence his name), with a small round face like an orange, a red cherry-like nose, and a mouth that was always smiling sweetly. He spoke in a soft, purring voice "like a cat trying to ingratiate itself into its' owner's good graces." He also was rather effeminate in manner, clucking like a mother hen and addressing his prospective young passengers as "my dears" and "my darlings". Yet for all that he was even more devious and sadistic than his Disney counterpart, as displayed when he bites one of his boy-turned-donkeys' ears off while pretending to kiss him.
  • In the final movie, the Coachman never notices Pinocchio's escape, but in some adaptations and scrapped ideas, he sends his minion to chase them. This idea was later used in the Pinocchio video game.
    • Also, there was a deleted scene where the Coachman hires Honest John and Gideon one last time to bring Pinocchio back to him so that "the law doesn't learn of their business". This later led to Honest John and Gideon's arrest when they tried to swindle Pinocchio a third time, also cut from the film.
      • It should be noted that Pinocchio and Jiminy still remember the location of Pleasure Island and the fate of the boys who go there. So, it is mostly certain that both of them will tell Geppetto everything (as in the 1953 Golden Book adaptation it was said he that he was heading to Pleasure Island to look for Pinocchio thus knowing about it before). Together, they will alert the authorities so that the children will be rescued on time and the Coachman either will be punished by the law or disappear interrupting his business with a very sizable profit like in the original novel. Furthermore, the mass disappearance of the children in the villages he visited wouldn't go unnoticed for a very long time and it will cause a widespread panic, prompting the authorities to conduct a series of investigations. This is further supported by Honest John as he heard about Pleasure Island before meeting the Coachman fearing the law would find out.
  • According to one of the books of Pinocchio, the Coachman's name is "Barker", though it is not sure if it's his real name or just an alias.
    • In another book adaptation of the film, the Coachman hires Foulfellow and Gideon to bring him just one more child in exchange of gold instead of more children (and this doesn't make sense) like in the film and the other book and comic adaptations, and doesn't frighten or threaten the two crooks to convince them this time.
    • In a comic book adaptation of Pinocchio, the Coachman makes his offer to Honest John and Gideon after eavesdropping on a conversation they were having about their sale of Pinocchio to Stromboli, rather than listening to John tell the Coachman himself.
  • The Coachman was created as a contrast to the Blue Fairy. Rather than teaching children how to behave like the Blue Fairy did, the Coachman simply punishes them for their misdeeds. It is possible that he may not be a human being just like the Blue Fairy.
  • It is possible that Foulfellow and Gideon, for fear either for possible extreme legal consequences and the Coachman, decided to take just Pinocchio to the Coachman because of him not being a "real boy".
    • For this reason, although it's not seen on-screen, it is quite unlikely that the Coachman paid them so much, with the same amount of money he showed them at The Red Lobster Inn in order to persuade them, also because he is aware of their stupidity and cowardice. Something that would be confirmed in the book adaptation Pinocchio (Sound Story Book), where he's seen giving Foulfellow just a small sack of money.
  • Of all the antagonists in Pinocchio, the Coachman is so far the only one who never interacts with Pinocchio formally or personally as for him he is just one more boy among all the other boys he collected (not counting their interactions in deleted concepts or in the video game).
  • Luke Evans who portrays the character in live action, previously portrayed the villain Gaston in the live action version of Beauty and the Beast.

External links

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