Once upon a time, there lived a Dollmaker. He had created many, many dolls. But one day, all of the Dollmaker's dolls were stolen. Inside the Dollmaker's house there was a hearth. It wasn't real, though; it was just a drawing. There was a door hidden behind the drawing. Where did it lead? That was a big secret. The door could be opened only with a golden key. But the key had been lost.
One stormy night, a branch broke off a big pine tree. Gilda convinced the Dollmaker to make a doll from the wood of the branch. Both of them got to work, and soon the doll was ready. It was Pinocchio!
Pinocchio got hungry, but there was nothing to eat in the house. The Dollmaker decided to sell his fabulously beautiful coat, so that Pinocchio could eat, have clothes to wear, and go to school. While the Dollmaker was away, Pinocchio was attacked by an evil Rat. But after a difficult struggle, Gilda and Pinocchio won the fight.
It came time for Pinocchio to start school. The road to the school led through the market square. At the market, the boy met Lucia, who gave him a golden pear. He decided to give the pear to the Dollmaker, his father. Lucia longed for a child like Pinocchio.
A puppet theater arrived in the market square. Pinocchio was ready to give up everything to see the show. But what he saw was dreadful! The puppets were unhappy! The puppet master, Karabas-Barabas, hit them and tormented them. Now Karabas-Barabas was especially mad, because the most beautiful puppet, Malvina, had escaped. Pinocchio tried to defend the puppets.
Karabas-Barabas understood that, by fooling Pinocchio, he could find out where the Dollmaker lived, and learn the location of the secret door. Karabas-Barabas told the boy that he owed the Dollmaker money, and asked Pinocchio to bring it to him. Pinocchio, not sensing any danger, headed home.
Evening came. Pinocchio still wasn't home. The Dollmaker and Gilda went to look for him. They met Lucia, who told them that she had seen the boy at the market. As the Dollmaker and Lucia looked into each other's eyes, a great love was born in their hearts.
Pinocchio sat down, exhausted, beneath an infinitely starry sky. He realized that he no longer knew where his home was. The sky reminded him of something dear and familiar. Yes! It was his father's fabulously beautiful coat!
Early the next morning, Pinocchio was attacked by the Cat and the Fox. Pinocchio fought valiantly, but the Fox and the Cat tied him up and hung him upside down.
Meanwhile, Malvina lay asleep in her puppet bed, dreaming...
Pinocchio managed to reach the closed shutters of a house. It was Malvina's house! Malvina decided to undertake the task of raising Pinocchio. But Pinocchio didn't like this very much, and so he ran away.
The Fox and the Cat convinced Pinocchio to plant the money in the ground, so that it would grow during the night. Then Pierrot showed up. He was looking for Malvina, who was Pierrot's favorite puppet.
Pinocchio accompanied Pierrot to Malvina's house and immediately rushed back. The money was gone. Pinocchio understood that he had been fooled.
Suddenly he heard shouts for help. Duremar had caught some baby turtles in a net, and was getting ready to cook them in a soup. Pinocchio freed the turtles and let them back in the pond. Duremar wanted to drown Pinocchio.
The boy sank into the water. He thought that the end was near. Then Tortilla, the old turtle, showed up. She thanked Pinocchio for saving the baby turtles and gave him a golden key.
Duremar boasted that he had drowned Pinocchio. But Karabas-Barabas was angry. Now who would lead him to the secret door?
A deep voice began to pester Karabas-Barabas, until he revealed what the golden key locked and freed all the dolls! The same ones that had been stolen from the Dollmaker!
In the meantime, the Dollmaker and Lucia waited for Pinocchio at home. Lucia managed to turn the drawing of a hearth into a real one. Love works miracles! The dolls returned. But the pursuers were close behind! Then Pinocchio arrived. He had the golden key! The Dollmaker unlocked the door and the friends rushed inside. The door slammed shut right in front of the noses of the Fox, the Cat, Duremar, the Rat, and Karabas-Barabas.
The Dollmaker, Lucia, Pinocchio, and all the dolls entered an extraordinary puppet theater. The Dollmaker once again had his fabulously beautiful coat. They were all together at last!