Beloved ‘Charlotte’s Web’ on the big screen

The Orpheum invites you to enjoy one of the most beloved children’s novels brought to the big screen: “Charlotte’s Web.”

Adapted from E.B. White’s novel, “Charlotte’s Web” tells the story of Wilbur, the runt of the litter who is saved by a young farm girl, Fern. Fern adores her pig and vows to raise him and love him, and she begins by giving him a name: Wilbur. Soon Wilbur becomes too big to stay with Fern, and he is sent to the Zuckerman farm to live.

As Wilbur grows throughout the spring and summer, he tries to befriend many of the barn animals, but they all know the fate of a pig on a farm and do not return the friendship. All but one animal turns their back on Wilbur: Charlotte the spider. Charlotte genuinely loves the simple, idealistic pig and does the only thing she can to save his life. Charlotte spins her web, using words to save Wilbur. The Zuckermans believe that it is Wilbur who is responsible for the intricate webs and take him to the county fair where he wins the blue ribbon. Charlotte, on the other hand, also must face the fate of a spider’s path in life and not even Wilbur can save her.

Filmed before CGI and digital animation, this 1973 film harkens back to a more simplistic time of movie making. The focus is the story and the song; the friendship of Wilbur and Charlotte. The morals of self-sacrifice, friendship and family created not by blood, but by love. Charlotte’s Web is a classic film for all ages.

Show times are 7 p.m. on Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Visit the theater for tours and check out the gallery and exhibit hall that features Iowa stage and film memorabilia and information. Call the Orpheum Theater Center movie hotline at 641-844-5907 or visit

Laura Armstrong is an associate professor of English at Iowa Valley Grinnell.