FFlashback: Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Be our guest and join us as we look back at Disney’s original (dare we say, unbeatable) Beauty and the Beast…


The One Where: Inspired by the classic French fairy tale, the film tells the heart-warming story of a young woman who is held prisoner by a beast but eventually falls in love with him. No, I don’t want to hear your Stockholm Syndrome or bestiality jokes – this is a glorious film, OK?

Best Songs: Thankfully, Disney brought back the songs – after The Rescuers Down Under‘s strange lack of them – in a big way here, with one the Renaissance’s best scores. ‘Belle’, ‘Gaston’ and obviously ‘Beauty and the Beast’ are all great but the best one has to be ‘Be Our Guest.’

Star Turns: She might not be one of the action-orientated Disney heroines but Belle’s bookishness and kindness make her one of the most likeable. Likewise, Lumiere and Cogworth’s bickering never gets old. The Beast is also a brilliantly grouchy creation – though when he turns into a model from the cover of a romantic novel he unfortunately loses the appeal.

Verdict: Every aspect of Disney’s formula is at its apex here, with the songs, animation, voice work and Disneyfication of the story all perfect. Unlike a lot of their romances, there is a believability and sincerity to this one which makes all the difference. Plus, the enchanted castle and all its inhabitants is a terrific setting. In short, Beauty and the Beast is simply Disney magic bottled. The upcoming live-action reboot really has a tough job replicating that success.

Did You Know: The film had so little time and money left by the end of production that the final scene is lifted from 1959’s Sleeping Beauty. It can clearly be seen that the guests are wearing medieval clothing, which is completely wrong for Beauty and the Beast‘s time period.


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