Beauty and the Beast Movie Poster Image

Beauty and the Beast

Disney fave has great music, strong messages, some scares.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1991
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Intended to entertain, not educate, but kids will take in some important lessons about appreciating others for who they are, not what they look like.

Positive messages

This timeless story has always revolved around the idea that it's important to see someone for who they are, not for what they look like. Also, brain wins out over brawn. Themes include compassion, curiosity, empathy, and self-control.

Positive role models

Characters change for the better -- Belle sees the beautiful person inside Beast, and he sheds his anger and sacrifices his own happiness for hers. Belle values intelligence, books, and individuality.

Violence & scariness

Beast has angry outbursts. Fierce wolves attack the main characters. Townspeople decide to kill Beast and storm the castle in a scary, intense mob sequence. In the climactic fight, a knife-wielding character falls to his death. Spooky woods, scary scenes when Belle and her father encounter the Beast. Belle and the Beast yell at each other.

Sexy stuff

Lumiere comically flirts with a maid, with fooling around implied. Budding romance between Beast and Belle, with some mild flirting and kissing. Bosomy barmaids swoon for Gaston during the song about him -- which also includes some innuendo and references to his physical appeal.

Not applicable

Belle is a Disney Princess whose brand reaches far and wide. Expect to see princess branding on consumer merchandise, food products, etc., as well as in books, websites, and other media.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Raucous scene in a bar with plenty of foamy mugs sloshing around.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Beauty and the Beast is one of Disney's most beloved "princess" stories -- and the first animated film to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Beast's initial ferocity might scare younger viewers, though once they've seen his gentle side, scenes of him being hunted and stabbed by Gaston are likely to be emotionally upsetting. The sequence in which a mob comes after Beast is also quite intense, and there's a fair bit of cleavage on display during the bar-set "Gaston" number. But kids mature enough for feature-length stories will find this one of the best Disney movies they could spend time with in terms of intelligence, quality, and originality -- not to mention having one of Disney's smartest, most independent heroines. Note: The movie's 2012 3D theatrical rerelease intensified the musical numbers like "Be Our Guest" and the waltz scene in "Beauty and the Beast," but it didn't make Beast's roars or the mob scenes too much scarier than they are in 2D.

What's the story?

In BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, when a snobby prince turns away an old woman selling apples because of her ugly appearance, she casts a spell that turns him into a beast and his staff into objects. Only finding someone to love him can undo the enchantment, but misfortune turns Beast (voiced by Robby Benson) bitter and mean. But when curious young Belle (Paige O'Hara) from the village comes to the castle looking for her missing father, the staff -- a motley collection of servants enchanted to look like household items -- hopes she'll break the spell, even as Beast holds her prisoner. At first repulsed by Beast, Belle later sees the beautiful person inside him. But will her love save him from a village determined to kill him?

Is it any good?


Stellar music, brisk storytelling, delightful animation, and compelling characters make this both a great animated feature for kids and a great movie for anyone. Beauty and the Beast may not be Disney's most iconic movie, but it stands as the studio's crowning achievement, earning a Best Picture Oscar nomination (the first animated film to achieve that honor) and a Golden Globe for Best Picture, In essence, all great stories are about transformation, and this one beats out even Cinderella as the ultimate makeover story, with Beast's inner transformation preceding his outer one. Some editions of the DVD include an additional scene and a new song, but the original movie stands on its own merit.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Belle and Beast's first impressions of each other in Beauty and the Beast. What did they discover about each other as their relationship grew and as the Beast learned self-control? What message does that send to viewers?

  • As one of the popular Disney princesses, how is Belle similar to Cinderella and the Little Mermaid? How is she different? Is she curious? Do you consider her a role model?

  • How do the characters demonstrate compassion and empathy? Why are those important character strengths?

  • Why do you think Gaston was so surprised that Belle didn't want to marry him? How does their relationship poke fun at fairy tale cliches?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 22, 1991
DVD/Streaming release date:September 6, 2016
Cast:Paige O'Hara, Richard White, Robby Benson
Directors:Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Princesses and fairies, Fairy tales, Great girl role models, Music and sing-along
Character strengths:Compassion, Curiosity, Empathy, Self-control
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:G
Awards/Honors:Academy Award, Golden Globe

This review of Beauty and the Beast was written by

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written bymusic4life92 October 13, 2010
Teen, 13 years old Written byNoseStuckInABook April 14, 2010

A Masterpiece

Beauty and the Beast is my all the time favorite Disney movie (which is saying something, as I love them all so much!) and I made an account here just to defend it. First of all, Belle doesn't start loving Beast (or Prince Adam, whichever you prefer) until he stops treating her badly. Unlike some of the other Royal Disney couples, I believe Belle and Beast truly love each other, rather than the lust at first sight couples such as Snow White and her Prince and Cinderella and Charming have. If she was going to fall for that, she would have gone for Gaston. Belle is a great role model. She stands out, doesn't care what others think (great to have a kid appericting that trait young for once they get to middle school or high school), and she's not shallow. The animation is great, the music is great, it's simply...a masterpiece
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byconcernedparent April 9, 2008

Be careful..

To most this looks like an innocent movie. It is not that simple. The message my little girl gets is that Belle can fix the angry beast. Well, I work with victims of sexual assault and domestic violence and for me.. that theme is a bit over the top. The movie does have good points, and yes not judging a book by its cover is one of them. Please, just watch it with your children. There are many scenes that Belle is abused verbally, but it is disguised as "oh, poor Beast". No. Also the candle "flirts" with the broomstick as she's saying "no", good message? I think not. I do like the movie, but I do hope that parents are watching it with children to explain further more than simply applauding Belle, tell them it also would have been fine for Belle to leave the beast when he was unkind. She did not have to stay and "fix" him. Just please, do not take this as me hating the movie or being over-sensitive, but I see women like Belle fixing their Beasts daily and it is almost horrifying to see a movie centered around a popular heroine for young girls doing the same thing. Thanks and again.. I like the movie and some of its many messages, but again I can't stress enough to watch this WITH your children.