Beauty and the Beast (1991 movie)

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Beauty and the Beast is the thirtieth animated feature in the Disney animated features canon. It was produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and was originally released to theaters on November 22, 1991 by Buena Vista Pictures. It is an adaptation of the well-known fairy tale story of a beautiful woman kept in a castle by a horrific monster. It was the first, and to this date, only animated picture to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. It stars the voices of Robby Benson (Beast), Paige O'Hara (Belle), Richard White (Gaston), Jerry Orbach (Lumiere), David Ogden Stiers (Cogsworth), and Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Potts).



The movie was adapted by Linda Woolverton from the story by Roger Allers and Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont (uncredited). It was directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise. The music was by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman.

It won Academy Awards for Best Music, Original Score and Best Music, Song (for Alan Menken and Howard Ashman's "Beauty and the Beast", sung at the end of the film by Cline Dion and Peabo Bryson). Two other Menken and Ashman songs from the movie were also nominated for Best Music, Song ("Be Our Guest" and "Belle"). Beauty and the Beast was also nominated for Best Sound, and Best Picture. It is the only animated movie ever to be nominated for Best Picture, and is likely to remain so with the introduction of the award for Best Animated Feature.

In 2002 the United States Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.

This film inspired a Broadway stage musical which earned tremendous commercial success and multiple Tony Awards, and proved to be the first of a whole line of Disney stage productions. There are also Disney versions of the story published and sold as storybooks.

In 1997, a midquel called Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas was released directly to video.

Plot summary

One cold winter's night, an ugly old woman stumbles up to a prince's castle. She begs the prince for shelter from the cold, though she has only a single rose to give him as payment. The prince refuses her, simply because she is ugly. The woman reveals herself to be a powerful enchantress and, as punishment to the cruel and selfish prince, she transforms him into a beast. The servants in the castle are also transformed; they become tea cups, candles, items of furniture, and other household items. This spell can only be broken if the beast learns to love another and receives her love in return. But there is a catch! This must happen before his 21st birthday, or he will be doomed to remain a beast forever.

The "beauty" of the title, a girl called Belle, lives with her father Maurice in a small French village. Maurice is known for his Rube Goldberg-type inventions; the townspeople note Belle's beauty, but consider her odd because of her passion for books. Her beauty has attracted the attentions of local hunter and bodybuilder Gaston, but Belle considers him 'rude and conceited', and ignores him.

One day, Maurice decides to take his latest invention to a fair outside the village. On the way, he gets lost in the woods. Wolves chase him, and his horse Phillipe bucks him off in fright and fear. Maurice runs blindly through the woods and eventually comes to the beast's castle. The servants of the castle, still in the form of various household objects, look after him. That is, until the beast arrives. The beast has Maurice locked up as a prisoner.

Belle, back in the village, politely but firmly resists Gaston's offer of marriage. Gaston explains to Belle that she is going to be his "little wife", have 6 or 7 handsome males ("strapping boys" , to quote the character) like himself, and makes a number of other chauvinistic comments. She is astonished later to find her father's horse without its master. She traces her way to the castle with her father's horse. Once there, she offers to take the place of her father as the Beast's prisoner; and the Beast agrees and sends Maurice back. Maurice tries to tell people back in the town what has happened to Belle, but the villagers, including Gaston, think him insane and rebuff him, so he decides to set off to get her back on his own.

Back at the castle, the various dishes and accessories, including Lumiere the candlestick and Cogsworth the mini-clock, entertain their guest with a fancy French dinner and all the comforts a team of servants can provide (after the Beast orders them not to when he tried forcing Belle to come down to dinner with him). They are, of course, eager for Belle and the Beast to fall in love, so they can be turned human again. Unfortunately for them, Belle and the Beast don't get along very well (due to the chauvinism he is expliciting on her) and are constantly at each other's throats.

However, Belle and the Beast eventually fall in love and over the following days the Beast becomes more human. When he gives her a magic mirror that will show her anything she wishes to see, she requests to see her father and sees him sick and dying. The Beast releases her to go rescue him, and she takes him back to their house in the village. However, Gaston arrives with a lynch mob to take Maurice to the asylum unless Belle agrees to marry him. Eager to prove her father sane, she ends up showing them an image of the Beast with the magic mirror.

Enraged and feeling betrayed, Gaston convinces the mob that the Beast is a threat and menace to the community and leads the mob to the castle to pillage it, rallying with the cry, "kill the Beast." Most of the mob is fought and driven off by the enchanted artifacts of the castle, but Gaston reaches the Beast and begans to fight with him, though the Beast, disheartened, dosen't fight back until Belle shows up. However as the Beast is about to finish off Gaston, he realises he can no longer find it in himself to kill anyone. As the Beast and Belle are reunited, Gaston stabs the Beast in the back with a dagger, however Gaston loses his footing on the roof and tumbles to his death. After Gaston is killed, Belle tells the Beast she loves him, and the spell is broken. The Beast turns into a handsome prince again and the enchanted artifacts of the castle are turned back into people.


  • The mob's cries of "Kill the Beast" is, probably unintentionally, reminiscent of William Golding's Lord of the Flies. In both cases the people believe the "Beast" is evil, when it is they themselves who are really evil.
  • The film was restored and remastered almost beyond its original brilliance for the 2002 DVD release. It was shown at some IMAX theaters, too, prior to the release of the DVD version.
  • "Belle" is French for 'beautiful', and the name of the film is, after all, Beauty and the Beast.
  • Gaston is the first-ever animated character in a Disney film (besides Jafar) to make a chauvinistic comment about a woman (Gaston calls Belle his "little wife", Jafar says that silence is "a fine quality in a wife" when speaking to Princess Jasmine.
  • When Gaston places his feet on Belle's table, the mud coming off the boots strongly resembles Mickey Mouse's head, following the long standing Disney tradition of having "Hidden Mickeys" in their movies. This special tradition continues today, up to The Lion King 1 1/2.
  • At the very beginning of the movie, as soon as the picture comes on the screen, it shows the castle before it is cursed. There is a deer in the foreground drinking out of the stream. If you watch the deer, it suddenly picks its head up to look around. This is the same deer as Bambi's mother, in the scene right before the hunter kills her.


  • Belle (voice by Paige O'Hara) is a girl in either her late teens or early twenties. She has brown hair, brown eyes and a passion for reading. Very intelligent and self-assured, she desperately wants to escape the condition of the life in the poor village where she lives. Her father, Maurice, appears to be the only living member of her family.
  • The Beast (voice by Robby Benson) was transformed into a Beast by an enchantress for his lack of compassion (and, to some viewers and fans, elicit sexism against women). Since falling in love with someone is the only way to break the spell, he has desperately wished for a girl to fall in love with, though only (initially) so he can be turned back into his human form. When he finally gets one such person, his lack of patience and excess firmness prove to be obstacles to his goal.
  • Gaston (voice by Richard White) is the film's villain. He is large, strong, handsome, and macho, and sees himself as highly desirable (a self-image supported by the opinions of many young women in the village, including the three blonde Bimbettes). Though he is scheming, amoral and cocky (not to mention sexist and chauvinist), he is not a typical Disney villain. He is far more attractive than most Disney villains are and, unlike most villains in Disney fantasies, lacks supernatural powers. In the words of Roger Ebert, Gaston "degenerates during the course of the film from a chauvinist pig to a sadistic monster."
  • Cogsworth (voice by David Ogden Stiers) is the butler of the castle )always wanting to keep things orderly and ordained, and is very eager to please his master, the Beast), who was turned into a mantle clock when the spell was cast.
  • Lumiere (voice by Jerry Orbach) is the maitre d' of the castle, who is now a candelabra.
  • Mrs. Potts (voice by Angela Lansbury) is the maid of the castle, who was transformed into a teapot, and her children (including Chip) into teacups.


  • "Belle":Template:Audio The opening song of the movie, Belle makes her way to the local bookshop and the whole village erupts into song, describing the oddness of Belle.
    • "Belle Reprise":Template:Audio Sung by Belle after Gaston proposes to her, Belle repeats her plea of "wanting much more than this provincial life".
  • "Be Our Guest":Template:Audio A luncheon cabaret of the castle's servants as crockery, flatware etc. entertaining Belle.
  • "Gaston":Template:Audio LeFou (Gaston's sidekick) and the local drunkards sing Gaston's praises in a village tavern.
    • "Gaston Reprise":Template:Audio After Maurice flees the Beast's castle, he enters the tavern pleading for help, only to be mocked by the townsfolk. It is here that Gaston thinks of the idea to blackmail Belle by sending her father to an asylum if she doesn't marry him.
  • "Something There":Template:Audio Sung by Belle and the Beast when they realise they have feelings for each other.
  • "Beauty And The Beast (Tale As Old As Time)":Template:Audio Sung by Mrs. Potts whilst Belle and the Beast dance in the castle ballroom.
  • "The Mob Song":Template:Audio Sung by the villagers on their way to the castle to kill the beast.

External links

de:Die Schne und das Biest fr:La Belle et la Bte (dessin anim, 1991) sv:Sknheten_och_odjuret_(1991) zh:美女与野兽


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