Beauty and the Beast

 
(i)

 

The ultimate makeover story has strong, positive messages.
Academy AwardGolden Globe
  • Review Date: September 19, 2005
  • 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 and not for what they look like. Also, brain wins out over brawn.

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 is a positive role model who values intelligence, books, and individuality.

Violence & scariness

Beast has angry outbursts at first. 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.

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.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

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

A raucous scene in a bar with plenty of mugs sloshing around.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Beast's initial ferocity might scare younger viewers. And once kids have seen his gentle side, they may find scenes of him being hunted and stabbed by Gaston 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 intensifies the musical numbers like "Be Our Guest" and the waltz scene in "Beauty and the Beast," but it doesn't make Beast's roars or the mob scenes too much scarier than they are in 2D.

What's the story?

When a 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. When by 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, she later sees the beautiful person still inside him. But will her love save Beast from a village determined to kill him?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST may not be Disney's most famous movie, but it stands as the studio's crowning achievement, winning an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe for Best Picture. Stellar music, brisk storytelling, delightful animation, and above all compelling characters make it both a great animated feature for kids and a great movie for anyone. Although based on source material, this one escapes the fate of sounding merely recycled from previous Disney movies.
 

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. What did they discover about each other as their relationship grew?

  • As one of the popular Disney Princesses, how is Belle the same as Cinderella and the Little Mermaid? How is she different?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 22, 1991
DVD release date:October 4, 2011
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, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires, Music and sing-along
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:G
Awards:Academy Award, Golden Globe

This review of Beauty and the Beast was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 4 year old Written byKaraLeaP December 29, 2009
 

Terrible message to send to our girls

This movie sends a terrible message to our girls. All too often we see women isolated from loved ones by their abusers, thinking if they can just love him enough, he will change into a prince. This movie encourages those incorrect beliefs. The Beast isolates and abuses Belle, but when she learns to love him, he changes into a prince. Makes me sick to think my little girl could buy into this. I gave it two stars though, because the music is fantastic, and the movie is well done. Belle was a great role model up until she succumbed to Stockholm syndrom.
What other families should know
Too much violence
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

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