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Into the Woods – In Cinema January 9 – Top 5 Disney Movies Based on Fairy Tales

22 December 2014

Rolling into the holiday season, many families will continue what has become a tradition by dusting off their old Disney movies for family movie night.

Into the Woods A witch conspires to teach important lessons to various characters of popular children's stories including Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel.

In anticipation of the coming release of Disney’s Into the Woods, The Fan Carpet’s Jared Hill runs down the top 5 animated Disney films based on fairy tales...

5: Cinderella

Cinderella has been around since the 1600s in one form or another. The tale transformed as it went from country to country, with the Brothers Grimm putting a decisive spin on the tale in the 19th century. The story’s plot revolves around a young girl whose father has married into a less-than-desirable home, with a stepmother and two stepsisters who basically treat her like a slave. In the Disney adaptation, our protagonist finds solace in the companionship of her animal friends and her love of song. The movie was a hit and reportedly saved the Disney company from financial ruin.

4: Frozen

One of the more recent entries in the Disney canon, Frozen has already captured the hearts of little girls around the world, as well as those of millions of others. Loosely based on a Hans Christian Andersen story, the plot introduces us to two sisters, Elsa and Anna. Elsa possesses a strange power over ice. She manages it poorly, to say the least, leaving her parents’ kingdom literally frozen, as the title suggests. Anna heads out on a quest with a mountain man, a reindeer and a talking snowman to figure out how to return her home to its normal climate. Cultural critics praised the movie for its depiction of a strong female character.

3: The Little Mermaid

Another Hans Christian Andersen story brought to life through the Disney filter, The Little Mermaid tells the story of a mermaid, Ariel, who wants to experience how people live on land. A handsome prince propels her into action, although we already know she has always been a dreamer. Our naïve heroine makes an almost Faustian bargain with the witch-like Ursula for a pair of legs in return for her voice if she doesn’t achieve her goal of kissing the prince. A host of singing sea creatures helps Ariel on her way. When the film came out in 1989, Disney hadn’t reworked any fairy tales into movies since Sleeping Beauty.

2: Sleeping Beauty

The Brothers Grimm pulled this tale from different variants that had made their way throughout Europe since the 14th century. In the story, a scorned witch named Maleficent curses Aurora to die at the age of 16 by way of a finger prick from a spinning wheel. Her only escape from this fate would be a kiss from her true love. Disney took the concept and added some quirky characters like the loony fairies tasked with keeping Princess Aurora safe from the curse. The movie was met with limited critical or public acclaim until years later. Disney recently reworked the fairy tale again, this time from the point of view of Maleficent, who may be less evil than we all thought (the film just became available on demand with current tv offers).

1: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs really turned Disney into the name we know today. In fact, it was the first feature-length animated film Disney ever produced. The plot of Snow White laid the groundwork for Sleeping Beauty, as it also features a princess driven into exile by an evil witch. This time, though, our princess has seven dwarves, each with his own idiosyncrasy. They amuse and help her while simultaneously annoying each other on the way. The first in a long line of Grimm Brothers' fairy tales set to music and animation, Snow White paved the way for much of the Disney franchise.

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