SUBJECTS — Science-Technology; World/England;


MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Responsibility, Respect; Fairness.

AGE; 8 – 13; MPAA Rating — G; Comedy; 1956; 178 minutes; Color; Available from



TWM offers the following movie worksheets to keep students’ minds on the film and to focus their attention on the lessons to be learned from the movie.

Film Study Worksheet for ELA Classes; and

Teachers can modify the movie worksheets to fit the needs of each class. See also TWM’s Historical Fiction in Film Cross-Curricular Homework Project and Movies as Literature Homework Project.

Additional ideas for lesson plans for this movie can be found at TWM’s guide to Lesson Plans Using Film Adaptations of Novels, Short Stories or Plays.


The year is 1872. A well-to-do English gentleman, Phileas Fogg, bets members of his club that he can circumnavigate the world in 80 days. The bet is so large that unless


Selected Awards: 1956 Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Color Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score; 1957 Golden Globe Awards: Best Picture-Drama; Best Actor-Musical/Comedy (Cantinflas); 1956 National Board of Review Awards: 10 Best Films of the Year; 1956 New York Film Critics Awards: Best Film, Best Screenplay; 1956 Academy Award Nominations: Best Director (Anderson) Best Art Direction/Set Decoration (Color), Best Costume Design (Color).

Featured Actors: David Niven, Shirley MacLaine, Cantinflas, Robert Newton, Charles Boyer, Joe E. Brown, Martine Carol, John Carradine, Charles Coburn, Ronald Colman; Cameos: Melville Cooper, Noel Coward, Andy Devine, Reginald Denny, Fernandel, Marlene Dietrich, Hermione Gingold, Cedric Hardwicke, Trevor Howard, Glynis Johns, Buster Keaton, Evelyn Keyes, Peter Lorre, Mike Mazurki, Victor McLaglen, John Mills, Robert Morley, Jack Oakie, George Raft, Cesar Romero, Gilbert Roland, Red Skelton, Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner.

Director: Michael Anderson, Sr.


The plot turns on the International Date Line and the effects of the rotation of the Earth on time and travel. This is the best film that we have found to teach this subject.

Viewers are also shown several different cultures and their attitudes towards the same events are contrasted with ours and with each other.


MODERATE. The problems with this film would disqualify it if it were not a lighthearted comedy in which nothing is intended to be taken seriously. A good summary of the problems with this film is set out below:

The wealthy English establishment is very conservative and against progress and new ideas. There is considerable betting on Fogg’s journey. Fogg believes in progress, science, and intellectual deduction. Passepartout refers to him as “master.” An Arab sadistically insists Passepartout fight a bull even if he doesn’t know how. Fogg bribes people to make his journey faster. Passepartout breaks Brahman religious beliefs and is chased by a mob. One of the reasons they rescue Auda is that she was educated in England. They judge local religious customs by English standards. Fogg is arrested for desecrating a religious ritual; he immediately posts bail and skips town. Fogg speaks Pidgin English to a Chinese who, he finds out, speaks perfect English. Flix drugs Passepartout to delay Fogg. Quoted from: H. Arthur Taussig, Ph.D. in the article on “Around the World in 80 Days.” The site is no longer on the Internet. TWM has a PDF record of the web page.

In addition, alcohol consumption is shown, and Native Americans are shown as savages.


When you watch this film with children, have a globe handy. Stop the film at various times to trace Fogg’s route. Explain the rotation of the earth and how that affects daylight and time. Show the time zones and how they change, as well as the International Date Line. After the film is over, discuss why Fogg made his mistake. To help you explain this, see the Helpful Background Section. Otherwise, let your children enjoy the story, despite the fact that Mr. Fogg takes too many risks and makes serious mistakes.


The earth rotates on its axis from West to East, but relative to the earth, sunlight comes from only one direction. Therefore, both daylight and night move across the earth as it rotates. In order to compensate for the earth’s rotation and to avoid requiring half the world to go to work in the dark, the earth is divided into 24 time zones. Each zone is wide enough to approximate one hour of the march of daylight and night across the globe. Since the earth rotates from West to East, if a person is traveling in the same direction and is viewed from the standpoint of the sun, he is going faster than the earth rotates on its axis, faster than daylight and night. When he travels from West to East during the day he is catching up to the evening, and leaving daylight behind. In order to compensate for this effect, the traveler will have to set his clock ahead one hour as he enters each new time zone. For example, a person traveling from Los Angeles to New York will pass through three time zones. Thus, 9:00 a.m. on the West coast is 12:00 noon on the East Coast. The process is reversed when someone travels from East to West. That person is moving against the Earth’s rotation and will tend to remain in daylight or night. He will have to set his clock back one hour, as he moves from one time zone to another.

At some point, if a traveler goes all the way around the world, he will travel through all 24 time zones and have to adjust his calendar, as well as his watch. The International Date Line, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is the agreed upon line which separates one day from another.

Phileas Fogg traveled around the world beginning in England, going to Europe, the Middle East, India, Asia, across the Pacific to America, and then back to England by crossing the Atlantic. In other words, he traveled from West to East. Fogg was traveling around the Earth’s axis a little faster than the Earth itself, a little faster than dawn and sunset.

Traveling from west to east, Fogg had to set his clock ahead one hour on each occasion that he entered a more easterly time zone. But while the clock advanced one hour when he entered a new time zone, the actual amount of time that Fogg had spent on his journey did not increase. Since Fogg, on his journey around the world, went through each of the 24 time zones, his clock advanced 24 times showing 24 hours of artificial time.

Fogg was not the first person to go around the world. In order to correct for the lost day that occurs on the 24th change of time zone, an artificial line called the International Date Line, was drawn on maps and globes from North to South across the Pacific Ocean. If you are standing (or sailing) west of the International Date Line, a person to the East of the Date Line, according to the calendar, is existing in yesterday in relation to you. You, being west of the Date Line, are existing in tomorrow as to him or her, even if you are only a few feet or a few miles away.

When Fogg was counting his 80 days, he forgot this effect. Since he had traveled from West to East, he was artificially gaining an hour of time with each time zone. When he crossed the International Date Line, he should have put his calendar back one day, giving him an additional calendar day to complete his wager.

The lives of many well-to-do Englishmen in the Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries centered around their clubs. They could eat at their club, sleep at their club and relax at their club. The clubs were very resistant to change. They had strict rules barring the admission of women and people of color to the club premises and they rigidly restricted membership to white males.

Flamenco dancing comes from the folk music of Andalusia, a region in Southern Spain. It combines Moorish and Gypsy influences and requires great skill and training. See the Learning Guide to Strictly Ballroom for more on Flamenco.

Bullfighting is a traditional entertainment in Spain. It is also popular in modified forms in Latin America. See Learning Guide to “Carmen”

Hindus, the dominant religious group in India, believe that cows are sacred animals which cannot be killed and should be given special privileges. When Passepartout tries his skills as a bullfighter, skills that were popular in Spain, with a bull eating from a flower stall in Bombay, the Indians don’t like it and chase him through the streets.

Some Indian cultures have a tradition in which a widow must immolate herself on her husband’s funeral pyre. This tradition is seldom practiced in modern India.

Trace Phileas Fogg’s travels on a globe with your child. He went from London to Paris to Spain to Suez to Bombay to Yokohama to Hong Kong to San Francisco to New York and then back to London.

Before electricity came into common use, houses were lit by gas. At the beginning of the movie, Passepartout is shown lighting a gas flame in Fogg’s house. He was not experienced with gas and left a light burning when they left on the trip. Fogg threatened to make him pay the gas bill.


1.  See Discussion Questions for Use With any Film that is a Work of Fiction.

2.  Did Phileas Fogg travel for 80 days or 81 days? How did you come to that conclusion?

3.  If you are traveling in a westerly direction, are you going faster or slower than the rotation of the earth?

4.  If you are traveling in a westerly direction, do you set the clock forward when you change time zones or do you set it one hour back? Explain why.

5.  If you are traveling in an easterly direction, do you set the clock forward when you change time zones or do you set it one hour back? Explain why.

6.  If you are traveling in a westerly direction, from Hawaii to Singapore, what happens when you cross the International Date Line? Explain why.

7.  If you are traveling in an easterly direction, from Singapore to Hawaii, what happens when you cross the International Date Line? Explain why.

8.  How was light provided to Fogg’s house?

9.  With respect to the bulls, was Passepartout doing anything different in India than he did in Spain? Why did the Spaniards love him and the Indians try to kill him?

10.  Which of the modes of travel that were used by Phileas Fogg had been invented in the 19th century?

11.  There were many things in this film that you and I would not do or that were wrong. Let’s have a contest to see who can list the most.



1. Why is betting, like all other forms of gambling, a dangerous thing to do? How can the risk be kept within bounds? Was Fogg’s wager a wise thing for him to do?

Suggested Response:

Gambling is dangerous because people may not be able to afford their losses. When the money is something that the person can afford to lose and when it is treated as a recreational expense, such as taking a trip or seeing a show, gambling is like any other form of entertainment. Fogg’s wager was not wise because he could not afford to lose. 2. Was Fogg suffering from gambling addiction?



(Treat others with respect; follow the Golden Rule; Be tolerant of differences; Use good manners, not bad language; Be considerate of the feelings of others; Don’t threaten, hit or hurt anyone; Deal peacefully with anger, insults, and disagreements)

1. Generally, one should respect the customs of others. But there are exceptions, and burning the wife on the funeral pyre of the husband is one of them. Can you name some other customs in the world which cannot be tolerated even if they are permitted by local custom? How do you decide which customs are permissible and which are not?

Suggested Response:

Some examples might be: slavery, infanticide of female babies, female circumcision, and child labor. Usually one should not intervene. You are liable to get killed or put in jail. In a situation like this you must take very careful account of the culture and the interests of the other people involved. Only when the stakes are very high and it is clearly necessary to advance a very important and true ethical principle should a person intervene in another culture. See Making Ethical Decisions.


(Do what you are supposed to do; Persevere: keep on trying!; Always do your best; Use self-control; Be self-disciplined; Think before you act — consider the consequences; Be accountable for your choices)

2. When Phileas Fogg thought he had lost the bet, was he willing to be accountable for it and pay the bet even if it cost him his entire fortune? How does this relate to the concept of Responsibility?


(Play by the rules; Take turns and share; Be open-minded; listen to others; Don’t take advantage of others; Don’t blame others carelessly)

3. Which ethical principle was violated by the character who was willing to loan the boat to take Fogg to Marseille if Passepartout would fight a bull?



trump, Yorkshire pudding, suet, pudding, treacle.


Assignments, Projects, and Activities for Use With any Film that is a Work of Fiction


Books recommended for readers ten years and older include: The Jules Verne novel Around the World in 80 Days and Keeping Time: From the Beginning and into the 21st century by Franklin M. Branley, Hood-Mithilin, 1993.


Last updated August 3, 2010.